The Monashee Mountains and Eagle Pass
From Revelstoke, the railway made a more modest climb westward for
8 miles (13 km) to Eagle Pass in the Monashee Mountains. Eagle Pass at
an elevation of 1,832 feet (558 m) required lower grades than Rogers
Pass (4,351 feet, 1,326 m), or the Kicking Horse Pass (5,329 feet,
1,624 m) in the Rockies to the east of Rogers Pass.
Nevertheless, in the early days helper locomotives were required to
move trains up to Eagle Pass.
Railroading in the Eagle Pass
The town of Clanwilliam was established at the summit of Eagle Pass
to cut out helper locomotives and send them light back down the
grade east and west.
In 1909 the Canadian Pacific put in a siding about 16 miles west of
Clanwilliam and named the spot Taft, after a lumber company
manager. In the early days of steam, Taft was the start of helper
locomotive assistance of east-bound passenger and freight trains to
the summit of Eagle Pass.
The Last Spike
Five miles west of Taft was
Craigellachie, known the world over as
the place where a plain iron spike was
driven to mark the completion of the
Canadian Pacific Railway, in 1885.
In 1927 the railway had a seven-foot
stone cairn mounted on a concrete base
built. A large bronze plaque on the side
facing the track is inscribed, “Here was
driven the last spike completing the
Canadian Pacific Railway from Ocean to
Ocean, November 7, 1885. A bronze
spike in a tie marks the spot of the
driving of the Last Spike.