UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The evolution of railways in the Kootenays Meyer, Ronald Howard


Traditionally, international boundaries have been regarded as barriers to the evolution of transportation networks. Numerous examples of the disruptive influence of borders on travel routes have been documented in the literature. Does such a pattern always occur? This thesis is concerned with a railnet which evolved in close proximity to an international boundary, but which for the most part appeared able to develop with little regard for the boundary as a barrier. This railnet is that of the Kootenay district of southeastern British Columbia and the adjacent United States. An investigation is made of the major elements which best explain the nature of this network's evolution. They are discovered to include a rich natural resource endowment, rivalry between railway companies, and private and government decision makers, but not the international boundary. Comparison is made with the railnet of another area, similar apart from the absence of such a border. The nature of private and government decision making is also examined. Each step in turn provides additional evidence to indicate that the boundary was not a major factor, certainly not a significant barrier, in the evolution of the Kootenay railnet.

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