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New Edition Coming!
The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill
The third, fully revised and expanded edition  will be available mid-2024. 
This compelling account chronicles the tales, the triumphs, and the tragedies of railway operations in Kicking Horse Pass from 1885 to the present day. Incorporating more than one hundred black and white photographs, maps, and diagrams, this volume describes the survey and construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Canadian Rockies, and the subsequent operation of the Big Hill grade. This treacherous section of track, the second steepest, standard-gauge mainline ever operated in North America, posed a constant risk to workers, passengers, and equipment for 25 years until completion of the tunnels. Regarded as masterpieces of engineering, the two Spiral Tunnels reduced the overall grade on the hill by half. Despite this improvement, Canadian Pacific has continued to battle gravity and the elements for a century in its crossing of the Rockies.

Revised 2016, 128 pages, ISBN 978-0-969724-919, $16.95 CDN

New edition available mid-2024, 144 pages, ISBN: 978-0-994916-143               $22.95 CDN

Finalist, Banff Mountain Book Festival

“The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill tells the story of the CPR’s crossing of Kicking Horse Pass in fascinating detail, and is a wonderful

guide to the history of this enduring railway

and its trials and triumphs.” 


Robert D. Turner

Curator Emeritus, Royal BC Museum

Sample pages second edition

Sample pages third edition


Review: Rocky Mountain Outlook

Featured on

Podcast: Banff Park Radio (26 minutes)

Purchase fixed layout eBook on Google Play

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