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Memorable Manitobans: William Atlee James (1864-1940)


Born on 4 June 1864, he joined the engineering staff of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1898 and was responsible for much of its construction work in western Canada, including the five-mile Connaught Tunnel through Rogers Pass (1915-1916). In 1904, he became Divisional Engineer at Kenora (Ontario) responsible for installation of a double track between Fort William (Ontario) and Winnipeg. In 1910 he was put in charge of locating and constructing new branch lines throughout western Canada. He became Assistant Chief Engineer (Western Lines) in July 1918 and held the position until retirement in January 1928. He then did consulting work for a year and a half. He suffered a paralytic stroke in 1934 and died at his home at Lydiatt on 3 July 1940. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery. He was survived by a widow and three sons.


“Noted engineer, W. A. James, dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 4 July 1940, page 9.

“Pioneer C.P.R. engineer dies,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 July 1940, page 3.

Death registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

“W. A. James,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 July 1940, page 2.

“Death climaxes careers of many notable people in course of 1940”, Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1941, page 1.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 1 September 2014

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

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