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tion between Field and Hector, the most difficult section on the whole 3,000-mile system, is to be reduced from a hardpulling grade of 4.5 per cent to one of 2.2 per cent by the construction of two tunnels under that portion of the mountain which now stands in the way.
More like pioneer farming than engineering is another railway enterprise that is being
A Bit oF ROAD IN THE MOUNTAINS. undertaken by the Canadian Pacific on Vancouver Island, but its tion works in southern Alberta having proportions entitle it to a place with the been begun some years ago. rest. It is the largest land-clearing con- By purchasing and unifying numerous tract in western America. A tract of short lines already built, and by filling 150,000 acres of railway land, which now in the gaps with new road of their own, is forests and stumps and dreary empti- the Hill, or Great Northern, interests are ness, is to be cleared and made into farms building up a through route from Winat the rate of 10,000 acres a year and at a nipeg to the Coast, connecting along the total cost of $15,000,000. A stump-jerk- way with the eleven branch lines with ing campaign of much the same order which this far-reaching system already as those by which parts of Washington taps the Canadian wheat fields from the State have been cleared will be under way south. The apparent purpose of such a for the next fifteen years, and the result road is to carry a portion of the Canawill be a new industrial territory on the dian harvest by an American route, Mr. very edge of the continent. This recla- Hill claiming that the development of the mation enterprise is the second under- northern country will give to all prostaken by the Canadian Pacific, its irriga- pective lines as much business as they
can handle and that the diversion of a the chances are that construction part of it to the American route will be straight into the heart of the North-land a relief. To carry out this plan 1,000 will not be long delayed. miles of road are being built.
. Yet farther North, in the upper leftThe prairie of the last frontier is being hand corner of the continent, is the line gridironed west and north and north- of a railway that runs from Skagway, west by railroad lines that, as soon as an Alaskan seaport, to Whitehorse, in the last spike is driven, will bring in peo- Canada's Yukon country. The distance ple and take out wheat. It is the taking is 110 miles, over which trains have been out of the wheat, the problem of the running regularly since July, 1900, and transportation of future harvests, that for two-thirds of that distance the road has given rise to numerous propositions was the most costly to build in America. of railway undertakings in another direc- The first fifteen miles rise to a height of tion—toward Hudson Bay. A seaboard nearly 3,000 feet, and the construction on the great inland water that has hither- of a winding, twisting road-bed through to been unused and useless is an attract- the Skagway Valley, and along the side ive possibility, and the fact that it is of sheer walls of mountain rock, reprealtogether feasible explains why Sir sents engineering that cost millions. Wilfrid Laurier, Premier of Canada, There were other problems to overcome. said in Parliament recently that the Up in the high places was a good-sized matter of a government-aided railroad lake that must be crossed, but the railto the Bay was under consideration, and way-builder of the North is ingenious, intimated that some definite action soon and instead of bridging the lake, well was not unlikely. A company was incor- nigh an impossibility, he cut a new outlet porated at the last session of Parliament for it, drained it dry, and built his road with power to build from Edmonton to over the clay bed. Fort Churchill, on Hudson Bay, a dis This is the White Pass and Yukon tance of a thousand miles. The Cana- Railway. It is a narrow-gauge, and is dian Northern is known to have similar operated under the disadvantage of terambitions and, in fact, has a section of rific storms in the winter months; but it road already under construction that paid the whole cost of construction in looks like the beginning of a Hudson Bay its first year, and three years ago earned branch. The Manitoba government, it $991,000, of which $440,000 was profit. has been reported, is entertaining plans Twelve thousand passengers a year are to finance a road to the Bay from Winni- carried, and they pay twenty cents a mile, peg. Surveys have been made for a line while freight rates are proportionately from James Bay, the southern inlet of high. Its traffic is almost entirely that of Hudson Bay, to Chicago, chiefly as a miners going and coming between the fish-carrying road. Out of these numer- camps and the outside. ous projects, or out of others that will The northernmost railway on the follow, there is pretty sure to materialize, American continent is that running south and that soon, a railroad from some part from Dawson, in the Yukon. It holds of the settled West to some new port on another record, too, as probably the most the northern sea. It is in the talk-stage crooked road in America, winding in and at present, but great railway systems out of the mountain gulches after the begin in talk.
style of a rail fence, with a curvature But the path of the steel is reaching approximating in places to twenty-eight farther still. Into the region until just degrees and a grade of three and fivenow given quite over to the fur trapper tenths per cent. The Klondike Mines and the Indians is going the transit- Railway has been in operation for only man, and his going means something a year or two, but it has proved so acceptdoing a few years hence. The Atha- able a substitute for dog-trains and packbasca Railway Company is a new name horses, reducing the freight rates from that will in time be seen on north-bound forty to one and one-half cents a pound, freight cars, A charter has been given that an extension of its thirty-one miles for 500 miles of road from Edmonton is planned for the present season. Ultito Fort Smith, on the Slave River, and mately it will be extended into and
through the new mining country to the they are American and associated with south, to connect either with the White the Northern Pacific. Pass road at Whitehorse, giving a direct Another road to the Yukon has filed route to the Coast, or with the Grand its plans with the Canadian railway comTrunk Pacific branch going north froni mission, involving a straight-north Edmonton, linking the Yukon directly route along the coast from Vancouver with the western railway centres. One to Dawson. The surveys through British or the other of these plans will, it is Columbia territory show immense cutalmost certain,' be carried into effect tings and tunnels, with heavy bridging. within the next few years.
It is altogether likely that when this road Both the Klondike Mines and the is built it will be by or for the Grand White Pass railways are miners' roads, Trunk Pacific, in whose interest is existing because of and for the sake of thought to be a bill introduced this year the numerous gold-mining camps of the at Washington authorizing the construcYukon country, but tourist travel is tion of a road from Skagway, in Alaska,
being encouraged, and in the summer to a point at or near to Prince Rupert, months an increasing number of sight- the Grand Trunk Pacific terminus, seers are doing the Far-North via the For a year past survey work has been rail.
under way on two roads from the southDiagonally across the North-West, western coast of Alaska to the copper cutting the great new land on the bias, district of the interior. One was being will go a line now under project, whose financed by London capitalists, repreambitious purpose is to connect Dawson senting the same interests as those beand Winnipeg. Survey parties have been hind the White Pass and Yukon Railquietly at work, and a goodly portion way, and the other by the Guggenheims of the total 1,700 miles is said to be and J. P. Morgan. The two routes were already routed. Such a line, traversing such as would closely parallel each other the northern prairies, the Peace River and while entailing immense double exdistrict, and the Yukon mining country, pense would open up practically the would hold an unique place among the same country. The promoters have railroads of the continent, and would in- therefore consolidated, under Guggenvolve, at its northern end, some tremen- heim control, and one road is now to be dous engineering problems. The inter- built, instead of two. It will probably ests behind this project have been kept run from Catella, a seaport with good somewhat secret, but it is believed that terminal facilities, into the heart of the
White River copper country.and, possi- lowed is along the White River and down bly, into the Canadian Yukon. About 400 the Tanana Valley, picking up the incimiles of the road will be built this year, dental traffic of the existing mining and the same man who built the White camps and heading toward Bering Strait. Pass and Yukon road is engineering it. The plan of the men behind this project
One more railway enterprise comes is to establish a route from Alaska to from the top corner of the continent, Siberia, across the Strait, and to build and it exceeds them all in spectacular an extension connecting with the great bigness and daring. It goes by the name Russian system. If the project ever gets of the Trans-Alaska-Siberia Railway, a so far, the American, Canadian, and phrasing that at once explains its route Russian governments will be called upon and indicates the immensity of its under- to lend a hand. It is a bold scheme, but taking. In the first week of the present whether the Siberian end of it is ever year a survey party, with dog-teams carried out or not it is practically certain drawing their supplies, left Dawson for that some portion of the Alaskan section White River, and a fortnight later began will be built shortly, opening up a mining the initial work of mapping out a rail region of unknown riches and another way route. The general route to be fol- great section to settler and trader.