British Columbia Railway
The British Columbia Railway was incorporated as the Pacific Great Eastern Railway in 1912 to build a line from North Vancouver to Prince George, where it was to link up with the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Initially it was privately owned, but financial difficulties developed quickly and in 1918, after only 283 km of track from the coastal port of Squamish to the head of the inland river transport at Quesnel had been built, the Pacific Great Eastern was taken over by the BC government.
The remaining track from North Vancouver to Squamish and from Quesnel to Prince George was not completed until 1956. Two major northern extensions and several branch lines were built after that date. A northeastern extension through the Peace River country reached Fort Nelson in 1971. A proposed northwestern extension to Dease Lake has been abandoned.
Significant portions of the line have been electrified to expedite the carriage of coal. The British Columbia Railway serves the resource industries of the northern interior of the province, operating over 2300 km of track, which were built at a cost of more than a billion dollars in public funds.