Excerpts from Canadian Pacific Railway Annual Report, 1897, dealing with the Crow's Nest Pass Railway and related topics
5. Notwithstanding the unfavourable results of the first three months of the year the Directors are able to report a substantial increase in the earnings and profits of the Company.
6. The improvement in the traffic of the Company is due in large measure to the mining development in British Columbia; the mining development in the Lake-of-the-Woods district also contributed in no small degree.
7. The discovery of extraordinary deposits of gold in the Canadian Yukon territory has contributed appreciably to the general improvement, and is likely to contribute vastly more in the immediate future, for the movement in that direction can hardly be said to have commenced until within the past few weeks.
8. Under the authority given by the Shareholders at the last meeting, the Directors entered into an arrangement with the Dominion Government providing for the immediate construction of a railway from Lethbridge, Alberta, through the Crow's Nest Pass to a connection with our line at Nelson, British Columbia, a distance of 340 miles. This line has been completed to within 12 miles of the Crow's Nest Pass, at the summit of the Rocky Mountains, and the work beyond is well advanced. It is expected that the line will be completed to Kootenay Lake before the end of August. On reaching Kootenay Lake a temporary connection will be made with Nelson by means of a train ferry whereby a through train service may be established, pending the completion of the railway along the shore of the lake to that point sixty miles distant.
9. The Dominion Government has entered into an agreement with the Company to assist the undertaking to the extent of $11,000 per mile, and the balance required will form part of your Capital expenditure. This agreement will be submitted for your confirmation.
10. It is worthy of remark that the maximum gradients on the Crow's Nest line through the Rocky and Selkirk ranges of mountains are only 1 foot in 100 (with compensation for curvature), or barely half the maximum of any other railway crossing either of these ranges.
11. This much needed Canadian outlet for the Kootenay mining district, afforded by the Crow's Nest Railway, will give a decided impetus to mining and smelting, and is certain to add largely to the earnings of the Company; but that the fullest advantage may be derived from it, and that the interests of your Company may be protected in Southern British Columbia, it is necessary to move on westward from the Columbia River at Robson, the western end of your line, so as to reach the Boundary Creek District--about 100 miles--during the present year, and your authority in this regard will be asked. The opening of mines in the Boundary Creek district has been retarded by the lack of transportation facilities, but the mineral deposits have been proven to an extent sufficient to justify the belief that this is the richest distinct yet discovered in the Province.
12. As a preliminary step towards the construction of the Crow's Nest line, the Shareholders at their meeting on the 10th May, 1893, authorized the purchase of the section of the Alberta Railway, between Dunmore, on your main line, and Lethbridge--109 miles--for $976,590. This purchase was consummated in January of the present year.
13. The section of the Crow's Nest line west of the summit of the Rocky Mountains is being constructed under the charter of the British Columbia Southern Railway Company, the acquisition of which, for an almost nominal consideration, you will be asked to approve. The work is being carried out by the officers of your Company and on its completion the railway will become the property of your Company at the actual cost of construction.
14. Through the British Columbia Southern Railway your Company acquires about 3,350,000 acres [ ha] of land granted to that Company by the Province of British Columbia, and also acquires six square miles of valuable coal lands near the Crow's Nest Pass--an amount of coal lands quite sufficient for the protection of the public as well as the Company, if need be, against unduly high prices. The lands first mentioned are all adjacent to the railway as it is lad out between the Crow's Nest Pass and Kootenay Lake. They have not as yet been examined in detail, but will no doubt prove a valuable asset. The lands are not taxable until leased or alienated.
15. The coal deposits made accessible by the Crow's Nest Railway are of great extent and extraordinary character. The aggregate thickness of the beds in the immediate vicinity of the railway exceeds 125 feet, and the coals are of excellent quality and make superior coke, the latter being of especial consequence as affecting the smelting of ores; and in this connection it is worthy of remark that the mining districts of southern British Columbia are exceptionally fortunate in possessing an abundance of coal, a boundless supply of timber, numerous water-powers, a healthy climate, and, close at hand, agricultural districts affording cheap and plentiful food.
16. Arrangements have been completed, subject to the approval of the Dominion Parliament, whereby your Company may acquire the Columbia & Western Railway extending from Robson to Rossland (33 miles) for the sum of $800,000. With this property will be acquired the smelting works at Trail Creek, and about 270,000 acres of land in the vicinity, these being included in the purchase price named.
17. Rossland having become the principal mining centre in British Columbia, it was necessary either to build an independent line to that place or acquire the Columbia and Western Railway, and the latter was clearly the wiser course.
18. Your authority for the acquisition of this property will be asked, and you will be asked to approve the construction of a line 32 miles in length, connecting the Columbia and Kootenay Railway with Slocan Lake, which was demanded by the Slocan mining district and which your Directors felt obliged to carry out last year, anticipating your authority.
21. The results of the purchase of the Columbia and Kootenay steamers, as authorized by the Shareholders a year ago, have been most gratifying. Additions have already been made to this fleet and more boats are required.