The Spiral Tunnels and the Big Hill
This compelling account chronicles the tales, the triumphs, and the tragedies of railway operations in Kicking Horse Pass from 1885 to the present day. Published for the 2009 centennial of the completion of the Spiral Tunnels, and incorporating more than one hundred black and white photographs, 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
Review: Rocky Mountain Outlook
Podcast: Banff Park Radio (26 minutes)