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ralyway expansion and chineses workers
Transcript of ralyway expansion and chineses workers
Railway Construction in British North America
1818- The first rail tracks were laid for a tram in Pictou, Nova Scotia. The tram cars, pulled by horses, are used to coal from a mine.
1835- Construction of the first steam-powered railway begins. The Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad connects Lake Champlain in New York state with Montreal.
1839- There are 16 km of horse-drawn railways around Niagara Falls.
1850- There are 106 km of railway track in Canada.
1853- The Grand Truck Railway begins to construct a railway between Montreal and Toronto.
1854- The Great Western Railway (registered in 1834) completed a line from Niagara Falls, through Hamilton and London to Windsor.
1858- The Intercolonial Railway begins in Nova Scotia, with a line from Halifax to Truro.
1859- The Victoria Bridge over the St. Lawrence in Montreal opens carrying trains across the river. The Mohawk nation helped build the bridge.
1860- A section of the Intercolonial is built in New Brunswick from Saint John to Shediac. It is not extended farter because of a lack of money. There are 3200 km of railway track in the Canadas.
Problems with the Existing Transportation System
The transportation system consisted mainly of canals, lakes, rivers and railways. There were few roads but they were covered with snow in the winter and mud in the spring. The canals and railways were designed to get goods to ports where they could be shipped to Britain and the United States. They were not made to support internal trade among the colonies.
Difficulty in Completing the Intercolonil Railway
Large gaps in the railway system prevented East-West trade from growing. Some political leaders in the Canadas had ties to railway companies. George-Etienne Cartier and Alexander Galt were disappointed to see the Grand Trunk Railway, was not doing well financially. However, if the Intercolonial Railway were extended, they thought, traffic on the Grand Trunk would rise.
Completing the Intercolonial Railway
To complete the Intercolonial Railway, investors would have to borrow large sums of money in London. The British banks were unwilling to lend the money unless they were sure the loans would be paid. But one of the largest British banks thought that uniting the colonies would make them stronger. Barings stated that it would not lend any money for the Intercolonial as long as the colonies remained separate. Many peoples prosperity seemed to depend on completing the Intercolonial Railway, and joining the colonies seemed to be a requirement for completing the Intercolonial Railway.
Between 1880 and 1885, about 15,000 Chinese labourers were brought to Canada from China and California to work on the Intercolonial Railway. Many of these immigrants were hoping this job would help them escape from crushing levels of poverty in China.
The Chinese often had the most dangerous jobs on the railway carrying heavy rocks or planting unstable explosives. They were also paid about 30-50 per cent less than other workers. They lived in unsafe canvas tents that offered poor protection from the elements. Many of these workers died from diseases like smallpox and cholera, or were killed by work related accidents.
In 1885, work on the railway was nearing completion. Chinese men generally didn’t make enough on the railway to pay for a return fare back, so many wanted to stay in Canada.
Some pictures of the Railway
The Chinese Workers
The Railway being built