Surveying

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When British Columbia official joined Confederation (see Background) on July 20th, 1871, the survey crews were ready to head off into the mountains of new province to try to find a route for the railway the province had been promised.

Over the next 10 years, crews surveyed most of the southern half of the province looking for good routes. At one point, there were 7 routes in contention between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Besides trying to locate suitable passes through the mountains, the terminous on the Pacific Ocean had also to be decided.

1871

To begin their enormous task, the surveyors started with the routes already known from the fur trading and gold rush.

The Fraser Canyon and Thompson River route into the Kamloops area was well travelled, with the Cariboo Road completed in XXX to service the gold fields near Barkerville. From Kamloops, fur traders had north up the North Thompson River to the Yellowhead Pass through the Rocky Mountains. Also from Kamloops, a route was known through to the Columbia River via Eagle Pass and from the Columbia River, Howse Pass was known to exist through the Rocky Mountains.

To survey these routes for a railway, the region was divided into three regions:

  1. Northern Region, including the North Thompson River, the Yellowhead Pass and the Cariboo was under the direction of Roderick McLennan with two survey teams, 'Q' and 'R'
  2. Eastern Region, including Eagle Pass, the Selkirk Mountains, and Howse Pass was under the direction of Walter Moberly with two survey teams, 'S' and 'T'.
  3. Southern Region, including the Fraser and Thompson Rivers and Shuswap Lake was under the direction of John Trutch with two survey teams, 'U' and 'V'.