Twisted Tracks: The Change in Route of the CPR Mainline
Glowa, Trevor Alexander
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This work focuses on the decision to build the Canadian Pacific Railway's mainline across the southern prairies, instead of following the government surveyed route across the northern prairies. Many interpretations and theories have tried to address this issue. In the historiography on the Canadian Pacific Railway this question has been explored in various ways. I have examined the relevant secondary sources and conducted primary research at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School, the Minnesota Historical Society and the James Jerome Hill Reference Library, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa .. The resources and holdings of the University of Saskatchewan Libraries, and specifically the Shortt Collection, were consulted for material on the topic. The major contribution of this work is that it brings together, in one work, all of the available material on this subject. The thesis also explores and presents information that has been ignored in previous works, specifically the ironic role of James J. Hill in the decision, and its later consequences. The conclusion of the thesis is that the southern route was followed because it placed the CPR mainline in a strategic position where it could better defend its territory and traffic from rival American railroads.