OTTAWA - Railroaders, their machines and their communities that helped link Canada's freight and passenger railways into a vibrant continental network are being honoured in a virtual Railway Hall of Fame.
"Today's announcement of the initial inductees range from Pierre Berton, author of The National Dream and the Last Spike books on building the Canadian Pacific Railway, to the current presidents of Canadian National and the CPR. Paul M. Tellier turned CN into the North American railway industry leader. Robert Ritchie re-structured his railway into a successful stand-alone enterprise based on strong community and international business links," said Bill Rowat, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Railway Association of Canada.
The inductions are part of a series of events and activities this Fall to showcase the role freight and passenger rail plays, and can play, in Canada's economy.
Others who received the first annual industry achievement awards are Peter Armstrong of Vancouver, President and CEO of Rocky Mountaineer Railtours, who created a successful specialty train service featuring the breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies, and Tom Payne of Edmonton, creator of the first modern short line railway in Canada.
Also inducted were:
· Kevin Lihau and Donald Blain, VIA Rail Canada engine service employees killed in the line of duty at Thamesville, On. in 1999;
· Roger Cyr and Ben Levesque of Montreal, founders of the Operation Lifesaver public safety program in Canada that reduced highway/railway crossing collisions and trespasser incidents by 60 per cent over 20 years;
· Sir Sandford Fleming, railway surveyor, engineer and developer of standard time;
· Harry R.J. Home of Jasper, Alta., who exemplifies the locomotive engineer's enthusiasm for railroading, and for his passion in preserving CN 6060, an icon of the steam era which still travels between communities in the West as a teaching tool about the role the "iron horse" played in advancing transportation during the last century.
· David Blyth Hanna, railway executive of Canadian Northern Railway and CNR;
· Charles Melville Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Railway who perished on the Titanic in 1914;
· James J. Hill, early Great Northern U.S. and Canadian railroad "empire builder" and executive instrumental in building the CPR;
· Sir William Mackenzie, president of the Canadian Northern Railway;
· Sir Donald Mann , 1st vice-president of the Canadian Northern Railway;
· Baron Mount Stephen, president of the CPR;
· Sir Henry Thornton , president of Canadian National Railways, and;
· Sir Wm. C. Van Horne, General Manager and President, CPR.
· London, ON, home of General Motors Electro-Motive Division which assembles environmentally-friendly, high horsepower locomotives for continental and world markets
· Montreal, QC, North American headquarters location of CN, head office of national passenger railway VIA Rail Canada, and headquarters of entrepreneurial short line operators, Quebec Railway Corporation and Genessee Rail One, and historic home of CPR's Angus Shops and CN's Pointe Ste. Charles Shops;
· Banff, Alta., internationally recognized railway tourism destination and birthplace of Canada's national parks system;
· Bonfield, ON where the first spike was driven in building the CPR transcontinental railway.
· Rotary snow plow, a Canadian innovation used throughout North America
; · Automatic air brake that revolutionized railway operations and safety;
· Centralized Traffic Control, a system of train operation that provided major economies and paid a safety dividend;
· Prairie wood-cribbed grain elevator, a prairie icon and a symbol of the long-standing partnership between the railways and agricultural communities throughout western Canada.
"Four specific categories - Leaders, Heroes, Communities, and Technology - were developed for honourees and the public had an opportunity to nominate candidates through the Hall of Fame's Internet website," said Les Kozma of Edmonton, a respected Canadian railway author and historian who is current Chairman of the Hall of Fame.
The project originated with the Canadian Northern Society in Big Valley, Alta, a registered charity. It is being implemented with the support of the RAC, communities, museums, corporate sponsors and the public.
"We see this as an excellent opportunity to inform Canadians, particularly young Canadians, about what this industry has done, and is capable of doing in the future to reduce highway congestion, pollution and fuel consumption," said Mr. Kozma.
The RAC represents 57 railways, virtually all the freight and passenger operations in Canada today. They carry six million carloads and containers of freight annually, and 51 million rail commuters and passengers. Additional information is available on the RAC's website at www.railcan.ca.
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame
Railway Association of Canada
Innovative Transportation Solutions Link Canada's Communities