A Chicago Train Connecting Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Canadian National Railways


Click on an open link below or go to the RAILROAD INDEX to locate another Railroad
Rail
Home
Alaska
Canada
Chicago Chicago
Connect,
Eastern Midwest
Southeast Southern Southwest Western


CN Maple Leaf


CN Logo
The Canadian National Railway (CN)is a Canadian Class I railway operated by the Canadian National Railway Company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. CN is the largest railway in Canada, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network and is currently Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia. It also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The railway was referred to as the Canadian National Railways (CNR) between 1918 and 1960 and as Canadian National/Canadien National (CN) from 1960 to present. The Canadian National Railways (CNR) was created between 1918 and 1923, comprising several railways that had become bankrupt and fallen into federal government hands, along with some railways already owned by the government.(wik) The CN connection to Chicago is through its U.S. affiliate the Grand Trunk Western. Three trains a day ran east out of Chicago on the GTW/CN in 1940. The Maple Leaf had a section Cnadian National
Canadian National
April 24, 1949
<1!-- --> to New York via the Lehigh Valley and sections to Montreal and Halifax. The International Limited ran to Montreal and Halifax and the Intercity Limited to Montreal.(rp) In 1995, the federal government privatized the CN. Over the next decade, the company expanded significantly in the United States, purchasing Illinois Central Railroad and Wisconsin Central Railway, among others. Now primarily a freight railway, CN also operated passenger services until 1978, when they were assumed by VIA Rail. The only passenger services run by CN after 1978 were several mixed trains (freight and passenger) in Newfoundland, and a couple of commuter trains on CN's electrified routes in the Montreal area. The Newfoundland mixed trains lasted until 1988, while the Montreal commuter trains ran until 1995.(wik)
Short History of the Canadian National Railways

The Intercolonial Railway
cir 1835 - Albion Railway, a coal mining railway open is Nova Scotia. This is first Canadian railroad.
post 1835 - Nova Scotia Railway (NSR) built in stages between Halifax and other northeast cities.
post 1835 - European and North American Railway hopes to build from the maritime provinces to New England.
1857 - E&NA opens St. John to Shediac.
cir 1857 - Other railroads connect to Maine.
1859's - Grand Trunk Western is Canada's dominant railway and chooses Portland, Maine, rather than Maritime Provinces for Atlantic port.
1862 - A call for an Intercolonial Railway connecting the Maritime Provinces is encouraged in Quebec.
1864 - Charlottetown conferences re Maritime Provinces.
1867 - New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec join as Province of Canada.
1867 - British North America Act calls for construction of Intercolonial Railway connecting Halifax with the St. Lawrence River.
1867 - Government assumes control of NSR and E&NA.
1867-1879 - ICR begins slowly with many choices of routes to agree upon and construction difficulties are encountered.
1879 - ICR buys portion of GTW to reach a point opposite Quebec City.
1884-1904 - ICR expands in Maritime Provinces, and industrialization and mineral resources provide much traffic to west cities such as Toronto.
1914-1918 - ICR becomes vital link for Canadian participation in WWI, since its competitor, Canadian Pacific, traveled through U.S. state of Maine, and would violate U.S. neutrality.
1915 the ICR, together with the federally-owned National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) and the Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR), as well as several bankrupt or defunct short lines in New Brunswick, were grouped under the collective banner of the Canadian Government Railways (CGR), although each company continued to operate independently.
1918 - Government created Canadian National Railways (CNR) from CGR plus the bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR).
National Transcontinental Railway
1870's - Canadian Government encourages Grand Trunk Railway to build transcontinental line. GTR balks. Gov't forms CPR to do the job.
1895 - (CPR), Canadian Pacific Railway, competitor of the CN completed across Canada on southerly routing.
1899 - Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) is regional system, in Manitoba, formed by many smaller lines.
cir 1900's - Wheat belt works northward so GTR now willing to build transcon if government assistance is given.
1903-12 CNoR starts a transcon and builds from Winnipeg west to Vancouver, and east to Toronto and Montreal, with branch lines in Nova Scotia.
1903 - Government wants transcon from Prince Rupert on Pacific to Quebec City on east using a northern route through Winnipeg.
1903 - GTR wants to assume the system west of Winnipeg to Prince Rupert, thus the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP) is formed. The Government is to form National Transcontinental Railway (NTR) to run from Winnipeg east to Moncton, and to be operated by GTR when completed.
1905-1913 - GTPR/NTR system surveyed, and system finished, except for Quebec Bridge.
1915 - GTR reneged on it's deal to operate east end of System so Government folds IRC, NTR, PEIR (Prince Edward Island Railway), Hudson Bay Railway and smaller lines into the Canadian Government Railway. Railways maintain identity however.
1918 - CNoR becomes insolvent and is nationalized.
1918 - CNoR and CGR become Canadian National Railways.
1920 - GTR placed under government control, GTPR nationalized.
1923 - GTR merged into the CNR.
Canadian Northern Railway
1880-90's - Many independent branch lines built in Manitoba as provincial subsidies to compete with federally subsidized CPR, and the Northern Pacific from the south.
1896 - Bankrupt Lake Manitoba Railway and Canal Co. taken over by entrepreneurs and expanded through construction and acquisition west of Winnipeg, south to US at Pembina, ND and east to Ontario.
1899 - Lines consolidated to become Canadian Northern Railway.
1901 - CNoR consolidates two smaller lines and reaches Port Arthur.
1901-14 - CNoR expands into prairie lands to feed Port Arthur port, and into Quebec, Nova Scotia and Ontario.
1903 - CNoR spurns effort of Government to assist GTR to build transcontinental railway.
1905 - CNoR reaches Edmonton, Alberta.
1908 - CNoR reaches across Ontario to Ottawa and Montreal.
1910 - Toronto-Montreal line built.
1910 - Line west from Edmonton through Yellowtail Pass to Vancouver started.
1911 - Federal funds help support Montreal-Port Arthur construction.
1913 - Construction difficulties on lines west to Vancouver due to unfavorable west side of river routing, and heavy costs for tunnel at Montreal.
1915 - Line completed Montreal to Vancouver.
1915-18 - Wartime traffic is low due to CPR competition.
1918 - Due to financial troubles CNoR is nationalized.
1918-23 - CNoR and GTR form Canadian National Railway.
Grand Trunk Railway
The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) was a railway system which operated in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as the American states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The railway was operated from headquarters in Montreal, Quebec; however, corporate headquarters were in London, England. The Grand Trunk and its subsidiaries, along with the Canadian Government Railways, was a primary precursor of today's Canadian National Railways
1852 - The Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada (GTR) incorporated to build a railway line between Montreal and Toronto.
1853 - Charter extended to Portland, ME and Sarnia.
1853 - GTR purchases St. Lawrence & Atlantic, and the Atlantic and St. Lawrence to complete a line from Quebec to Portland, ME.
1853 - Great Western Railway begins operation, with lines eventually extending from Toronto to Niagara Falls, London, Windsor and communities in Bruce Peninsula.
1855 - GTR builds from Montreal to Levis (near Quebec).
1855 - GTR buys Toronto & Guelph Railroad and changes route to Sarnia.
1856 - Line from Toronto to Sarnia opened, and line from Toronto to Montreal opened.
1859 - Ferry service across St. Clair River to Port Huron, MI opened.
1850's - GTR expands eastward from Levis to Riviere-du-Loup toward Maritime Provinces.
1860 - First St. Lawrence bridge crossing at Montreal.
1867 - BNA act provides for ICR connection to GTR at Riviere-du-Loup.
1873 - Change from broad guage to standard guage finished.
1879 - GTR sells Levis to Riviere-du-Loup line to ICR.
1880 - GTR stretches to Chicago through Grand Trunk Western.
1882 - GTR buys Great Western Railway connecting Niagara Falls with Toronto, Windsor and other communities.
1884 - GWR fully merged into GTR.
1890 - Tunnel under St. Clair River between Sarnia and Port Huron completed.
post 1903 - Western Continental expansion. See National Transcontinental Railway above.
1923 - GTR placed under control of CNR At the time of merger the Grand Trunk System was comprised of 125 smaller companies.
1995-2008 - See Canadian National history below.
The Canadian National Railway System
1918 - Government created Canadian National Railways (CNR) from CGR plus the bankrupt Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR).
1919 - The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR), and Grand Trunk (GTR) nationalized.
1920 - GTPR becomes part of CNR System.
1923 - GTR becomes part of CNR System.
1923-1995 - GTW remains as U.S. subsidiary of CNR, now CN.
1925-1929 - Canadian Locomotive/GE/Westinghouse builds a 2 unit diesel-electric locomotive and car set with Beardmore engines (1330hp). This locomotive powers the International Limited across Canada, and is probably the first large diesel-electric passenger locomotive in North America.
1955 - "Super Continental" is a lightweight car train..
1960 - CN and GTW are all diesel-electric.
post 1960 - Much of the northern route is abandoned or leased or sold to other smaller railways. The old CNoR main to Vancouver forms the CN main line on the west. Prince Rupert is now on a branch which may gain use as west coast ports become overloaded.
1970's-1980's - CN abandons many branch lines and divests itself of other subsidiaries, such as, air, steamship and telecommunications.
1977 - CN passenger service separated out as VIA-CN.
1978 - CN and CP Passenger service becomes a separate crown corporation VIA Rail.
1980's - CN now includes US railroads, Central Vermont, Detroit Toledo and Ironton and Duluth Winnipeg and Pacific.
1993-94 - CP merger fails.
1990's - Many more CN lines sold to short lines.
1995 - CNR is privatized.
post 1995 - Much of old ICR lines sold to short lines, under CNR
1995 - GT transformed into Grand Trunk Holding company for CN U.S. assets, namely, the Grand Trunk Western, and holdings in the Illinois Central, Wisconsin Central, and Great Lakes Transportation.
1998 - IC merged into CN.
1999 - BN-CN merger fails.
2001 - CN merges Wisconsin Central.
2003 - CN merges Bessemer and Lake Erie and Duluth Missabe and Iron Range. This completes CN connections to the gulf from both sides of Great Lakes.
2008 - Much of GTR still remains, especially the Chicago-Quebec corridor, a portion of which is the Great Western trackage in Ontario.

Canadian National Genealogy


CN west map
Canadian National-West - 1940

CN east map
Canadian National-East - 1940


Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- April 1940
Diesel Victory-Kalmbach Publishing Co.
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks

PLEASE SEND US YOUR COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS.


Your source for 1930's - 1940's Passenger Railroad Information


Railroad Index Back to Top Contact Us

Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 24, 2009, revised April 22, 2011