Series GR-0817 - Railway Department correspondence files

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Railway Department correspondence files

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  • textual record

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  • 1912-1953 (Creation)
    British Columbia. Railway Dept.

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Originals, 4.4 m

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Biographical history

The Railway Dept. was established in 1911 with the enactment of the Railway Department Act (SBC 1911, c. 45). The mandate of the Railway Dept. was to regulate all railways falling under the jurisdiction of British Columbia Railway Act (SBC 1911, c. 44). This included the regulation and inspection of industrial railways (logging and mining) and electric street-car and interurban systems, as well as improvements to terminals and to combined railway and highway bridges. In 1959, the Railway Department Act was repealed and the functions of the Railway Dept. were transferred to the newly created Dept. of Commercial Transport (SBC 1959, c.12).

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Scope and content

Incoming and outgoing general correspondence files, 1912-1953, concerning railways operating in British Columbia. Includes extensive correspondence files on the Westminster Bridge (the Fraser River railway bridge at New Westminster); the British Columbia Electric Railway; correspondence relating to common carriers and industrial railroads; legislation affecting the Railway Department, etc. Railway Dept. correspondence files The Railway Department, established in 1911 by the Railway Department Act (1911, c.45), assumed responsibility for the regulation and control of all railways operating under the Railway Act of B.C. Railways which operated under federal charter came under federal regulation. In 1959, the Railway Department was incorporated into the newly created Department of Commercial Transport by the Department of Commercial Transport Act (1959, c.12). A further reorganization in 1973 expanded the department's responsibilities and resulted in it being renamed the Department of Transport and Communications. Legislation effecting this change appeared in the Department of Transport and Communications Act (1973, c. 112). In 1976, the Department of Transport and Communications became the Ministry of Energy, Transport and Communications (Order in Council 3199, 1976; BCS 1977, c.75). Further changes in 1979 resulted in all transportation responsibilities being brought together under a single jurisdiction named the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. This body of records is composed of incoming and outgoing general correspondence files, 1912-1953, concerning railroads operating in British Columbia. The unit includes extensive correspondence files on the Westminster Bridge (the Fraser River railway bridge at New Westminster); the British Columbia Electric Railway; correspondence relating to common carriers and industrial railroads; and legislation affecting the Railway Department. Box 14, Files 1 to 28 are Minister of Railways: general [correspondence] and Box 14, Files 29 to 38 are miscellany. The bulk of this accession was transferred from the Victoria offices of the Ministry of Transportation and Highways in June 1980; two files were transferred in July 1981. Abbreviations used in this finding aid: Railway Companies BCER British Columbia Electric Railway CNR Canadian National Railway CNOR Canadian Northern Railway CNER Canadian North Eastern Railway CNPR Canadian Northern Pacific Railway CNS Canadian Northern System CNSR Crow's Nest Southern Railway CPR Canadian Pacific Railway E and N Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway GTP Grand Trunk Pacific Railway GNR Great Northern Railway NWSR New Westminster Southern Railway PGER Pacific Great Eastern Railway VV and E Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway Navigation Company Other DomBrCo Dominion Bridge Company Railway Department Ministers: Name Dates Thomas Taylor 10 Mar 1911 - 1915 C.E. Tisdall 15 Dec 1915 - 1916 Thomas Taylor 01 Mar 1916 - 1916 John Oliver 29 Nov 1916 - 1922 J. D. MacLean 17 Sep 1922 - 1924 W. H. Sutherland 28 Aug 1924 - 1928 S. F. Tolmie 21 Aug 1928 - 1933 T. D. Pattullo 15 Nov 1933 - 1937 G. S. Pearson 23 Dec 1937 - 1941 Thomas King 15 Nov 1941 - 1941 R.W. Bruhn 10 Dec 1941 - 1942 John Hart 04 Sep 1942 - 1942 Herbert Anscomb 15 Sep 1942 - 1946 L.H. Eyres 12 Apr 1946 - 1952 H.R. Bowman 19 Jan 1952 - 1952 W.R. Chetwynd 01 Aug 1952 - 1956 Lyle Wicks 27 Sep 1956 - 1959

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Physical condition

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Transferred from the Ministry of Transportation and Highways, 1980 and 1981.


Ten photographs removed from file 13.3 and accessioned as 198107-078.
One photograph removed from file 17.8 and accessioned as 198302-037.

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Accession number(s): G81-087, 198302-037, 198107-078.

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