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End of the Line: The 1857 Train Wreck at the Desjardins Canal Bridge [Paperback]

Don McIver
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 16 2013

In 1857, the Desjardins Canal bridge collapsed under a Toronto-to-Hamilton train, creating one of the worst railway wrecks in North American history. Sixty lives, including that of the main contractor, were lost. The story of how the Great Western Railway was conceived, where it was located, and how it was constructed is replete with high irony covering political intrigue, commercial skullduggery, and bold entrepreneurship. Woven into the tragic events of that cold March evening are a cross-section of pre-Confederation Canadians whose lives contrasted sharply with the dour stereotypical view of pioneering Canada.

End of the Line portrays the personalities of these global travellers, burgeoning industrialists, and simple railway servants – all connected by the common thread of catastrophe. Particular attention is focused on the little-known life of Samuel Zimmerman – the irrepressible contractor who died in the accident. Captured throughout is the spirit of economic venture infecting the mood of the continent.

Product Details

Product Description


It's clear that McIver's work is a labour of love, which mitigates the potential of this tragic event and the circumstances that prevailed, from being faded from memory. At approximately 200 pages, the book is well written and educational. McIver's use of the English language is superb. End of the Line is essential reading for anyone who is interested in rail, historical Hamilton or the lessons learned from our past.

(The Hamiltonian)

About the Author

Don McIver was chief economist with a major Canadian financial institution while living in Burlington, Ontario. His research frequently took him to the train-wreck site and various locations significant to the drama in End of the Line. McIver has held senior postings at the Conference Board of Canada, the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, and the Canadian Bankers Association. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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Customer Reviews

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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading about early railway construction and the politics of the day. I found it most interesting and would recommend it to anybody that enjoys trains.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insight May 1 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book uncovers the personalities behind one of the worst disasters to ever hit the City of Hamilton. The store Desjardins Canal Bridge train wreck is not well known, but this book nicely tells the story. Excellent research by the author really adds insight and perspective. As a fan of Hamilton History, I'm very glad to see someone cover this event - and so well.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading! April 26 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Good account of the Hamilton ON train wreck, including the historical facts, and colourful descriptions of the characters involved. Recreates the times and events in a very readable way.
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