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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Huff and Puff and Puff !

Some of my earlier blog postings discussed the various issues that the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) had to face as it was building the Transcontinental Railroad. The area near Field, British Columbia was particularly nasty! This post card helps to illustrate just how bad it was.
There are three steam engines pushing what looks like six passenger cars up the hill toward the summit of the Rocky Mountains just east of Field, British Columbia. If you look carefully, in the lower right hand corner of the picture is a short section of track that goes up a hill to nowhere in particular. CPR built several of these little spurs so that trains that lost control would have an emergency pull out to keep them from careening down the mountain side into the Kicking Horse River.

The picture on the front of this post card was taken by Richard H. Trueman.
He also printed the post card. Trueman first arrived in British Columbia in 1889. He had begun his career as a photographer in Brampton, Ontario, (where he was born in 1856) in the early 1880s at about the time replacement of the cumbersome wet-plate process by faster, commercially available dry-plates was revolutionizing photography, making outdoor photography an economic and practical reality. After working along the Canadian Pacific Railway main line for a year, Trueman and his partner, Norman Caple, set up headquarters in Vancouver. For the next four years the firm of Trueman & Caple worked between Winnipeg and the coast, specializing in mountain and railway views, ranch scenes and Indians.2 This specialty continued for Trueman even after the partnership dissolved and R. H. Trueman & Company of Vancouver was established in 1894. Although the company was primarily a portraiture business, the landscape and documentary sidelines remained Trueman's avocation. For the next sixteen years, until his death in 1911, he travelled the rails throughout the province, skilfully recording life and landscape.

This post card was mailed on August 24, 1909. It is over 100 years old.

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