Building the Railroad

Saturday, November 29, 1913 was a historic day for residents of Shaunavon and area as the steel and track layer for the C.P.R. railroad arrived at the community. The December 4 edition of The Shaunavon Standard recounts the scene as follows: "Greeted by a large number of citizens and local residents, the track layer passed through Shaunavon Saturday. It was marked by a feeling of rejoicing by both the farmers and business men. For months and years many of the local people had looked and waited for the time when the iron horse would bring them in touch with civilization." The above photograph shows the large group of people assembled to witness this important event - notice the band with instruments positioned in front of the group.

Weekly updates in The Shaunavon Standard newspaper chronicled the progress of track construction.

Shaunavon Standard, October 30, 1913

STEEL NOW ONLY THIRTY MILES OUT
Everything Favorable for Reaching Shaunavon by December First. It is Positively Guaranteed to Reach Here This Fall.

It is an assured fact that the steel will reach Shaunavon on or before December 1st. The grade is completed to this point, and by tonight the steel will have reached the big 615 foot bridge which is thirty miles out. In case nothing out of the ordinary occurs the work on this bridge will be completed by tomorrow night, leaving only eleven small bridges with 240 bents in all. A second pile driver has arrived and the firm of Bell Bros. who have the bridge contract, state that hey can easily keep ahead of the steel and will complete their contract to this point by the required time.

The steel gang was for a time short handed, but there is at present a full crew of men and they have laid as high as two miles and 156 yards in a day during the past week, and the C.P. Railway have positively guaranteed to reach Shaunavon with the steel this fall.

Although 97 per cent of the grade is already completed to the Alberta line the road will terminate here for this year, and supply yards will be located here. The bridge building will continue all winter. It is the intention of the C.P.R. to use every means in their power to ship both ways on the line at their earliest opportunity. Grain has been moving at Kincaid for the past few days, and it will be shipped out of Cadillac the latter part of this week.

Shaunavon Standard, November 6, 1913

STEEL ONLY TWENTY-FOUR MILES DISTANT
Conditions Favorable for Rapid Completion of Work to this Point by Nov. 26th
The steel is now laid across the two large bridges which was delaying the work, and there is now practically nothing to interfere with it reaching town on or about the 26th of the month. Orders have been received from Winnipeg to reach this point under any circumstances and four pile drivers are now in operation keeping ahead of the steel.
 
The two elevators being constructed here have the foundations practically completed and it will only take a couple of weeks to put up the structures.

It is also stated that the C.P.R. are considering a passenger service from this point daily. As it is such a long distance from any other centre it is thought this movement would be advisable. The officials were looking over the line last week with the passenger service in view and spoke favorably of it.

Shaunavon Standard, November 13, 1913

STEEL ONLY SIXTEEN MILES OUT
Pile Driver Working Twelve Miles Out of Town. Only Two Bridges Remaining.

With a force of 115 teams hauling bridge material from Neville, and a bridge crew of over a hundred men, the work on the line east of here is being pushed to a finish. The four pile drivers are running night and day and all bridges will be completed to this point by a week from today.

The steel is now only sixteen miles out and it is stated that it will reach here by the 28th of November. Freight will be coming in by the fifth of December and it is estimated that at least 100 cars of freight are already sidetracked east on here billed for Shaunavon. A construction agent will be on the ground here as soon as the steel reaches this point, and grain will be received in carload lots at once.

Shaunavon Standard, November 20, 1913

The Railroad Situation

The bridge work is almost completed and the bridge crews are moving west of town. The track laying outfit has already reached a point two miles this side of Notukue and it is safe to say that this point will be reached by a week from Saturday night.

Shaunavon Standard, November 27, 1913

RAILROAD TO REACH HERE ON SATURDAY
Steel Only Three Miles Out Of Shaunavon On Thursday Night

As we go to press the steel is only three miles out and the chances are good that it will be here by Saturday noon. It is stated that the steel will be laid on beyond Shaunavon, the weather permitting as long as the material holds out, which will possibly mean thirty miles more, but it is not planned to handle freight beyond this point.

There are now over a hundred cars of freight laying along the sidings east of here and it will all probably reach this point by the first of next week.

Shaunavon Standard, December 4, 1913

STEEL REACHED SHAUNAVON SATURDAY
Track Laying Outfit Reached Town Early on Saturday Morning.

Greeted by a large number of citizens and local residents the track layer passed through Shaunavon Saturday. It was marked by a feeling of rejoicing by both the farmers and business men. For months and years many of the local people had looked and waited for the time when the iron horse would bring them in touch with civilization. The sidings are being laid this week and the sound of the work trains is welcomed by all.

It is stated that it is not the intention of the company to lay much track beyond this point his fall. Arrangements are being made for the transfer of freight and express at Assiniboia and it will undoubtedly be completed shortly. Local freight will be held until a car load is in when it will all be loaded in a car and forwarded here.

Several of the towns east of here are making an effort to secure a passenger service from Assiniboia, but it is not definitely known as yet whether or not it will be possible to secure anything of this nature.

Work will begin on a twelve stall round house the first thing next spring. This is just twice the size of the ordinary round house usually constructed at a new divisional point. Parties were here recently making arrangements for gravel and other material to be used in constructing the building and state that it would be constructed with a twelve stall capacity, but the structure was planned with the idea of readily increasing the number of stalls at any time.
C.P.R. Roundhouse in Shaunavon
C.P.R. Roundhouse in Shaunavon
This black and white photograph shows a steam engine pushing flat cars with a man on it, behind the engine is the coal car and another car with Canadian Pacific Railway, Water Car, Construction Department and 10227 visible on it. Written on the back in pencil is “Ray Madden / First train to come to Shaunavon”
This black and white photograph shows a steam engine pushing flat cars with a man on it, behind the engine is the coal car and another car with Canadian Pacific Railway, Water Car, Construction Department and 10227 visible on it. Written on the back in pencil is “Ray Madden / First train to come to Shaunavon”

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