Canadian Pacific Railway

A Canadian Class I railway incorporated in 1881.


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The Canadian Pacific Railway, also known simply as CPR or Canadian Pacific and formerly as CP Rail (1968–1996), is a Canadian Class I railway incorporated in 1881. The railway is owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited, which began operations as a legal owner in a corporate restructuring in 2001.

Headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, the railway owns approximately 20,100 kilometres (12,500 mi) of track in seven provinces of Canada and into the United States, stretching from Montreal to Vancouver, and as far north as Edmonton. Its rail network also serves Minneapolis–St. Paul, Milwaukee, Detroit, Chicago, and Albany, New York, in the United States.

The railway was first built between eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885 (connecting with Ottawa Valley and Georgian Bay area lines built earlier), fulfilling a commitment extended to British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871, the CPR was Canada's first transcontinental railway. Primarily a freight railway, the CPR was for decades the only practical means of long-distance passenger transport in most regions of Canada and was instrumental in the settlement and development of Western Canada. The CPR became one of the largest and most powerful companies in Canada, a position it held as late as 1975.


1881: Wishing only for a truly Canadian route the original CP scheme died; after nearly a decade hope was renewed when strong leadership through George Stephen, president of the Bank of Montreal, led to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company's incorporation on February 16, 1881. On 15 February 1881, legislation confirming the contract received royal assent, and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company was formally incorporated the next day. He discovered the pass in April 1881 and, true to its word, the CPR named it "Rogers Pass" and gave him the cheque. He arrived in Winnipeg on 31 December 1881. Canadian Pacific Railway was founded in 1881 and is headquartered in Calgary, Canada.“

1882: CP gained control only months after its own formation and the route opened in August of 1882. Floods delayed the start of the 1882 construction season, but at season’s end, 673 km (418 miles) of mainline and 177 km (110 miles) of branch line track-laying made the vision of a transcontinental link much more of a reality. The company also erected telegraph lines right alongside the main transcontinental line, transmitting its first commercial telegram in 1882. Van Horne stated that he would have 800 km (500 mi) of main line built in 1882.

1883: By the end of 1883, the railway had reached the Rocky Mountains, just eight kilometres (five miles) east of Kicking Horse Pass. By 1883, railway construction was progressing rapidly, but the CPR was in danger of running out of funds.

1884: In response, on 31 January 1884, the government passed the Railway Relief Bill, providing a further $22.5 million in loans to the CPR. The bill received royal assent on 6 March 1884. The CPR obtained a 999-year lease on the O&Q on 4 January 1884.

1885: On 7 November 1885, the last spike was driven at Craigellachie, British Columbia, making good on the original promise. The townsite of Banff, established in 1885, is the hub of Banff National Park. The railway played an important part in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, as it allowed soldiers to get from Ontario and Quebec to the Prairies in only 10 days. Arguably no other railroad grew faster than CP between 1885 and the century's end. 1885: The company completes construction of Canada's first transcontinental railway.

1886: The first transcontinental passenger train departed from Montreal's Dalhousie Station, located at Berri Street and Notre Dame Street at 8 pm on 28 June 1886, and arrived at Port Moody at noon on 4 July 1886. The company was also involved in the hotel and tourist trade as early as 1886, after Van Horne suggested setting up a national park system in the Canadian Rockies. This route was not easy to build. It was found when construction crews were digging a well to obtain water for the steam locomotives in Alderson, Alberta in 1886.

1887: The first official train destined for Vancouver arrived on 23 May 1887, although the line had already been in use for three months.

1888: Built in 1888, the Banff Springs hotel was one of the grand railway hotels that really put the Canadian Rockies on the map as a tourist destination. He would succeed Stephen as second president of CPR in 1888. In 1888, a branch line was opened between Sudbury and Sault Ste.

1889: After a few years of construction the first train departed for Saint John on June 3, 1889. By 1889, the railway extended from coast to coast and the enterprise had expanded to include a wide range of related and unrelated businesses.

1890: That line opened on 12 June 1890. In 1890 Canadian Pacific gained control of both systems when it agreed to take on their funded debt.

1894: One of the steamers, The Colville carried goods and passengers to communities on Lake Winnipeg for more than 20 years until fire destroyed it in 1894 at Grand Rapids, Manitoba.

1895: In 1895, it acquired a minority interest in the Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, giving it a link to New York and the Northeast United States.

1896: By 1896, competition with the Great Northern Railway for traffic in southern British Columbia forced the CPR to construct a second line across the province, south of the original line.

1898: The Crowsnest Pass line opened on 18 June 1898, and followed a complicated route through the maze of valleys and passes in southern British Columbia, rejoining the original mainline at Hope after crossing the Cascade Mountains via Coquihalla Pass.

1903: In 1903, CP Ships began serving the trans-Atlantic market.

1905: In 1905, CPR purchased the Esquimalt and Namaimo Railway and 1.5 million acres of timber on Vancouver Island.

1908: In 1908, the CPR opened a line connecting Toronto with Sudbury.

1909: On 3 November 1909, the Lethbridge Viaduct over the Oldman River valley at Lethbridge, Alberta, was opened. Marie; Wisconsin Central (acquired by the Soo in 1909); and Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic under one flag. In 1909 the CPR completed two significant engineering accomplishments.

1910: On 21 January 1910, a passenger train derailed on the CPR line at the Spanish River bridge at Nairn, Ontario (near Sudbury), killing at least 43.

1912: On 3 January 1912, the CPR acquired the Dominion Atlantic Railway, a railway that ran in western Nova Scotia.

1915: Van Horne died on 11 September 1915 in Montreal.

1916: The former included 5-mile Connaught Tunnel which passed through Mount Macdonald, thus lowering the summit by 540 feet (it also eliminated more than 2,300 degrees of curvature), and opened during December of 1916. In 1916, demolition crews began to dissolve it – some of its stone found a new home in the construction of Happy Thought School in East Selkirk.

1920: As early as 1920 CPR began using all-steel railroad cars.

1922: The elegant Jasper Park Lodge opened in 1922, as a challenger to the Banff Springs Hotel. In 1922 CP Ships entered the cruise market.

1923: In 1923, Henry Worth Thornton replaced David Blyth Hanna becoming the second president of the CNR, and his competition spurred Edward Wentworth Beatty, the first Canadian-born president of the CPR, to action.

1930: In 1930, CP got into the airline business by purchasing Canadian Airways Limited.

1932: The CPR scaled back on some of its passenger and freight services, and stopped issuing dividends to its shareholders after 1932.

1936: At its peak, CP maintained a system of 17,241 miles within Canada (achieved in 1936).

1942: It eventually formed its own such enterprise in 1942, Canadian Pacific Air Lines, which blossomed into a worldwide venture. In 1942, CPR even took to the skies, amalgamating 10 northern bush plane companies into Canadian Pacific Airlines.

1952: To remain profitable amid shifting traffic patterns CP entered the intermodal business with trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) service launched in 1952.

1954: By 1954, however, CPR completed the conversion of its locomotives to diesel power.

1955: Stinson, who had been with the company for 30 years, starting as a management trainee in 1955, was the youngest chairman in the company's history. In 1955, it introduced The Canadian, a new luxury transcontinental train.

1956: In 1956, it set out to develop these assets, establishing subsidiaries in oil and gas, minerals, fertilizers, food products, forest products, real estate, hotels, finance, trucking, telecommunications, shipping lines, and airlines. Throughout its first 75 years in business, CPR's explosive growth resulted in poor record-keeping, and only in 1956 did the company institute a comprehensive inventory of its assets.

1958: Canadian Pacific Oil and Gas Limited is formed as a subsidiary.

1960: But the two do share some historical similarities; both were late to fully dieselize (CP completed the task in 1960) and both operated a wide range of first-generation models from American Locomotive, Electro-Motive, Fairbanks Morse, and Baldwin.

1961: The "Soo Line Railroad" was officially formed on January 1, 1961 by merging the Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste.

1962: CPR formed Canadian Pacific Investments Limited in 1962 to administer the development of CPR's natural resources and real estate holdings and to operate as an investment holding company.

1964: In 1964, CP Oil and Gas purchased a stake in Central Del Rio Oils, based in Alberta.

1967: In November 1967, the company offered to the public $100 million in convertible preferred shares of CPR stock.

1969: In 1969, CP Oil and Gas became a wholly owned subsidiary of Central Del Rio, giving CPR a stake in the publicly traded Central Del Rio.

1971: It was essentially Canada's version of America's Amtrak created in 1971. In 1971 a new holding company was formed called Canadian Pacific Limited, with Canadian Pacific Railway and the other businesses becoming subsidiaries of the new parent. The name of the railway was changed to CP Rail, and the parent company changed its name to Canadian Pacific Limited in 1971.

1976: In 1976, the Canadian government formed Via Rail Canada Inc. as a nationwide passenger rail service.

1977: In 1977, VIA Rail was established as a CN subsidiary to handle country-wide passenger services, including those of Canadian Pacific.

1980: In 1980 Canadian Pacific Investments Limited changed its name to Canadian Pacific Enterprises Limited (CP Enterprises). CP Air had not shown any profits since 1980; the sale also eliminated nearly $600 million in long-term debt.

1981: Potyondi, Barry Selkirk, The First Hundred Years (Winnipeg, 1981) By selling off what had been a money-loser since 1981, Stinson raised $472 million and removed an expensive liability.

1982: The first revenue train passed through the tunnel in 1988. It acquired the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway in 1982.

1983: Although temporarily suspended during the First World War, it was not until 1983 that the "Crow Rate" was permanently replaced by the Western Grain Transportation Act which allowed for the gradual increase of grain shipping prices.

1984: In 1984, CP Rail commenced construction of the Mount Macdonald Tunnel to augment the Connaught Tunnel under the Selkirk Mountains.

1985: On December 6, 1985, with the consent of both companies' stockholders, CPL and CP Enterprises merged into one company. For many years the Soo remained a separate corporate entity and even grew in 1985 by purchasing the Milwaukee Road's remnants. The Soo Line had already absorbed the Milwaukee Road in 1985. William Stinson replaced Burbidge as CPL's chairman in 1985.

1986: By 1986, Canadian Pacific, as it became known, was Canada’s second-largest company with $15 billion in revenue. PanCanadian Petroleum helped compensate for the rail operations' poor performance for a time, but with the collapse of oil prices in 1986, the company was faced with profound difficulties.

1987: On the heels of the Cominco sell-off, the company divested itself of CP Air in a $300 million deal with Pacific Western Airlines in 1987.

1988: The Macdonald Tunnel, located in British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains and more than nine miles in length, was completed in 1988. The first revenue train passed through the tunnel in 1988.

1989: The company's forest products division reported a net operating loss of more than $190 million in 1989 because of the depressed market for paper products. Rogers Communications Inc. had acquired a 40 percent stake in CNCP in 1989.

1990: In an interesting move, CP attempted to sell its Soo subsidiary soon afterwards but then abruptly changed course and acquired full control in 1990. 1990: CPL takes full control of Soo Line Corporation.

1991: Early in 1991 CPL bought another rail company, the Delaware and Hudson Railway, operating in the northeastern United States. 1991: Delaware and Hudson Railway Company, Inc. is acquired.

1993: Mercredi Ovide & Turpel, Mary, In the Rapids: Navigating the Future of First Nations (Toronto: Viking, 1993) The company also sold its troubled forest products division, consisting of a 60.7 percent stake in Canadian Pacific Forest Products Limited, to a group of underwriters for C$697.8 million in 1993.

1994: By 1994, though, restructuring initiatives were beginning to bear fruit. Finally, in 1994, CPL returned to profitability with a net income of nearly $400 million.

1995: In 1995 it was purchased by Union Pacific. David O'Brien became president of CPL in 1995 and then chairman and CEO, succeeding Stinson, the following year. As president of CPL, O'Brien began shaking things up by moving the company's headquarters from Montreal to Calgary in 1995. An impetus behind the increased investment in the railroad was the 1995 privatization of Canadian National Railway, which meant that CPR would no longer have to compete with a government-owned company that did not have shareholders clamoring for profits. Robert J. Ritchie was president and CEO of the company, a position he had held since 1995. The line had had a series of different owners since being spun off of the Canadian Pacific in 1995.

1996: In 1996, CP Rail moved its head office from Windsor Station in Montreal to Gulf Canada Square in Calgary and changed its name back to Canadian Pacific Railway.

1997: The purpose was to better reflect the company's wider scope and saw the rail division referred to as "CP Rail." For purposes of marketing and clarity this changed two decades later when it returned to its original name as "Canadian Pacific Railway" in 1997. In 1997 CP Hotels spun off 11 of its hotels, mainly those located in large cities, into a real estate investment trust called Legacy Hotels.

1998: In early 1998 CP Hotels bought Delta Hotels Limited, a Canadian chain, for about C$94 million.

1999: CP Hotels acquires Fairmont Hotels, leading to the creation of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts Inc.

2000: Hodge, Deborah, (Illustrator John Mantha) The Kids Book of Canada’s RAILWAY and How the CPR was Built, (Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2000) Already the second largest energy producer in Canada, PanCanadian Petroleum completed the largest acquisition in its history in 2000, the oil and gas division of Montana Power Company. By late 2000, strong performances by all five of the CPL subsidiaries led O'Brien to conclude that the time had come to act.

2001: On 1 January 2001 the StL&H was formally amalgamated with the CP Rail system. The demerger was completed on October 3, 2001, with holders of CPL stock receiving various amounts of stock in the five companies, which, with the exception of the already public PanCanadian, each gained listings on both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

2002: Bonfield was inducted into Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2002 as the CPR first spike location. In 2002 the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic took over operations after CDAC declared bankruptcy.

2003: Hossell, Karen Price Morse Code (Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2003)

2004: Knowles, Valerie, From Telegrapher to Titan: The Life of William C. Van Horne. (Toronto: The Dundrun Group, 2004)

2006: In 2006, the Canadian government issued a formal apology to the Chinese population in Canada for their treatment both during and following the construction of the CPR.

2007: On 4 October 2007, CPR announced that it had completed financial transactions required for the acquisition, placing the DM&E and IC&E in a voting trust with Richard Hamlin appointed as trustee. Canadian Pacific Railway formally (but, not legally) shortened its name to Canadian Pacific in early 2007, dropping the word "railway" in order to reflect more operational flexibility.

2008: The merger was completed as of 31 October 2008.

2010: Shortly after the name revision, Canadian Pacific announced that it had committed to becoming a major sponsor and logistics provider to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

2011: On 28 October 2011, in a Schedule 13D filing, the United States hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management (PSCM) indicated it owned 12.2 percent of Canadian Pacific. PSCM began acquiring Canadian Pacific shares in 2011.

2012: Just hours before the railway's annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, 17 May 2012, Green and five other board members, including chairman John Cleghorn, resigned. The reconstituted board, having named Stephen Tobias (former vice president and chief operating officer of Norfolk Southern Railroad) as interim CEO, initiated a search for a new CEO, eventually settling on E. Hunter Harrison, former president of Canadian National Railway, on 29 June 2012.

2013: On 6 July 2013, a unit train of crude oil which CP had subcontracted to short-line operator Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway derailed in Lac-Mégantic, killing 47.

2014: As a matter of fact, in law, CP is not responsible for this cleanup." In February 2014, Harrison called for immediate action to phase-out DOT-111 tank cars, known to be more dangerous in cases of derailment. On 12 October 2014 it was reported that Canadian Pacific had tried to enter into a merger with American railway CSX, but was unsuccessful. The Central, Maine and Quebec Railway started operations in 2014 after the MMA declared bankruptcy due to the Lac-Mégantic derailment.

2016: CP ultimately terminated its efforts to merge on 11 April 2016.

2017: On 18 January 2017 it was announced that Hunter Harrison was retiring from CP and that Keith Creel would become president and chief executive officer of the company effective 31 January 2017.

2019: On 4 February 2019, a loaded grain train ran away from the siding at Partridge just above the Upper Spiral Tunnel in Kicking Horse Pass. On 20 November 2019, it was announced that Canadian Pacific would purchase the Central Maine and Quebec Railway from Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors.

2020: On June 4, 2020; Canadian Pacific bought the Central Maine and Quebec.

2021: In March 2021, the CP offered US$29 billion to purchase the Kansas City Southern Railway, which would allow the CP to own rail lines across the entire North American continent. On 8 December 2021, Canadian Pacific shareholders voted to approve the railway’s proposed merger with Kansas City Southern. On 14 December 2021, Kansas City Southern’s sale to Canadian Pacific was officially complete, allowing the KCS shares to be placed into a voting trust while the deal is reviewed by federal regulators.

2022: CP to report second-quarter 2022 earnings results on July 28, 2022


According to Canadian Pacific Railway, the company vision is to: "deliver transportation solutions that connect North America and the world. By doing this safely and efficiently, Canadian Pacific Railway creates long-term sustainable value for shareholders and the broader economy".

By focusing on safety and fluidity, CP aims to be a leader in the rail industry and to provide the highest level of service to its customers. By connecting communities, CP also seeks to play a vital role in supporting economic growth and development.

The mission statement of CP is closely tied to the company's values and its commitment to being a responsible corporate citizen. By prioritising safety, reliability, and customer service, CP strives to provide value to its stakeholders and to make a positive impact on the communities it serves.


As believed by Canadian Pacific Railway, the company vision is: “environmental stewards who believe in re-investing in business for long-term, sustainable and low-cost growth".

CP is dedicated to being a responsible and reliable partner in North America, and to contributing to a sustainable future through its operations and business practices.

Key Team

Edward R. Hamberger (Board Member)

Gordon T. Trafton (Board Member)

Isabelle Courville (Board Member)

Jane L. Peverett (Board Member)

John Russell Baird (Board Member)

Matthew H. Paull (Board Member)

Andrew Reardon (Board Member)

Chris de Bruyn (Board Member)

Coby Wade Bullard (Vice President Sales and Marketing - Merchandise, Intermodal, and Automotive)

Recognition and Awards
2020 Alliance for Rail Competition Award for Outstanding Performance in Intermodal Service 2020 Railway Association of Canada Sustainable Rail Award 2020 J.D. Power North America Rail Satisfaction Study Award for Customer Satisfaction 2019 National Safety Council (NSC) Green Cross for Safety Medal 2019 Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Award for Corporate Responsibility 2018 Railway Age Magazine Railroader of the Year Award 2018 Ethisphere Institute World's Most Ethical Companies.

Products and Services

Freight transportation: CP provides rail transportation services for a variety of goods, including intermodal containers, automotive, grain, and coal.

Logistics solutions: CP offers customized logistics solutions, including supply chain management, intermodal transportation, and transportation management services.

Rail Yard Management: CP provides rail yard management services, including handling, storage, and transportation of freight.

Intermodal: CP provides intermodal transportation services, which combine multiple modes of transportation, such as rail and truck, to move goods from origin to destination.

Automotive: CP provides transportation services for the automotive industry, including transportation of new and used vehicles and auto parts.

Grain: CP provides transportation services for the grain industry, including transportation of grain, oilseeds, and pulses.

Coal: CP provides transportation services for the coal industry, including transportation of thermal and metallurgical coal.

Inland Port Services: CP operates inland ports that provide customers with access to rail transportation and intermodal services.

Canadian Pacific Railway
Leadership team

John Brooks (Vice President, Sales and Marketing - Grain and Intermodal)

Andrea Robertson (Board Member)


Industrial Manufacturing

Products/ Services
Freight transportation, Logistics solutions, Rail Yard Management, Intermodal, Inland Port Services, automotive services
Number of Employees
1,000 - 20,000
7550 Ogden Dale Road SE, Calgary, Alberta, CanadaCalgary, Alberta, Canada
Company Type
Public Limited Company
Company Registration
SEC CIK number: 0000016875
Net Income
1B - 20B
Above - 1B
Traded as
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