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British Columbia Railways Profiles

The following sections offer background information on each of the railways featured in this site. Constituent railways are not included. If you're interested learning more, we encourage you to search for additional resources and publications.

British Columbia Electric Railway (BCER)
BCER was an interurban electric shortline that operated in the southern mainland from 1897-61 when it was taken over by BC Hydro. It was fully dieselized by 1970 and is now operated by the Southern Railway of British Columbia. learn more

BC Rail (PGE, BCOL, BCIT) BC Rail was owned and operated by the provincial government from 1918 to 2003 when it was sold to CN under a cloud of controversy. learn more

Canadian National Railway (CN)
CN was formed by the Canadian government in 1923 following the bankruptcy of the CNoR and GTR. CN is Canada's largest railway and maintains operations in both both Canada and the US. learn more

Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR)
The CNoR was formed in Manitoba in 1899 and rapidly grew to become a major player. Following bankruptcy in 1917, it was nationalized and became part of CN in 1923. learn more

Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)
The CPR began operations as a transcontinental railway in 1885. It is currently Canada's second largest railway and operates in both Canada and the US. learn more

Equimalt and Nanaimo Railway (EN)
The EN was established on Vancouver Island in 1886. It was owned and operated by the CPR from 1905 to 1997. It is currently owned by the Island Corridor Foundation and operated by the Southern Railway of British Columbia under the name Southern Railway of Vancouver Island. learn more

Great Northern Railway (GN)
The GN was an American railway that operated a number of regional lines from 1903 until 1970 when it became part of the Burlington Northern Railroad. The Burlington Northern Railroad is now owned by BNSF. learn more

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTP)
The GTP was a short-lived subsidiary of the GTR that operated in western Canada from 1914-19. Following bankruptcy, it was placed in receivership and nationalized in 1919. In 1923 it became part of CN. learn more

Kettle Valley Railway (KV)
The KV was a CPR subsidiary that operated from 1916 to 90. A small portion of it remains in use as a heritage steam railway operated by the Kettle Valley Railway Society. learn more

Northern Alberta Railway (NAR)
The NAR was established by the Alberta government in 1929. It was then sold in equal parts to CN and the CPR to be jointly operated as a subsidiary. It was extended into eastern BC in 1930s. The CPR's portion was bought out by CN in 1981. learn more

VIA Rail (VIA))
VIA rail was formed by the federal government in 1978 as a rail passenger carrier. It currently provides service to most major cities across Canada. learn more