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to Portage la Prairie took five hours and forty minutes, with a stop at Poplar Heights, now called Poplar Point, for refreshments. The, speed with which the C.P. travels today makes a little over ten miles an hour seem very slow. But the pioneers compared this ten miles an hour with a trip of several days up the river, or an even slower journey across the land with oxen, and the train trip seemed to them
a marvellously quick way of reaching their destination.
The line was not in operation to Portage la Prairie until August, 1881, and it was about this time that work farther west was started.
In spite of rocky barriers, it is an interesting fact that on Nov. 7, 1885, more than five years before the time designated by the contract for the completion of the work, the bond between ocean and ocean was united. The last spike, celebrating what was then a tremendous achievement, was driven by Donald A. Smith (later Lord Mount Stephen) at Last Spike office, "Craigelachie" via Eagle, British Columbia.
Sir Wm. C. Van Horne had charge of the actual construction of the railroad as president, and he, along with the great engineer, Sanford Fleming, was later knighted.
Transportation facilities via railroad rapidly progressed and the Winnipeg Free Press paper of June 11 th, 1904, in an article written about Portage la Prairie, had this to say, (Quote) - "Splendid connection is supplied the town by both the C.P.R. and the C.N.R. lines of railway. The C.P.R. main line touches at this point and the company has large yards and buildings for the accommodation of their local traffic. They have also some repair shops for smaller work. The Northwestern branch of the C.P.R. running from Portage la Prairie to Yorkton has its terminal here.
The Canadian Northern main line passes through Portage and from this point the C.N.R. also has several branch lines. The Delta line runs to Lake Manitoba on the north, and the Rosendale extension traverses from the town in a south-westerly direction, and is being extended on up through the Carberry country.
Every effort is being made to get the Grand Trunk connection when that road is put through as it undoubtedly will be, while other C.N.R. lines are being agitated for to open up new districts which will . increase the importance of this point as an agricultural centre."
Portagers got their wish, and the first passenger train to reach Portage la Prairie from the east, over the transcontinental line of the Grand Trunk Pacific, is shown here as it arrived at the Union Station July 30, 1908.