Travel: You Can't Get There from Here

Can't Get There from Here One of the world's last great train rides gets sidetracked

William Cornelius Van Horne, painter, poker player, collector of Japanese porcelain, was probably the man most responsible for the most beautiful train ride in the western hemisphere. It was 1881 when he took over construction of the trans-Canadian railway, a project that consumed several fortunes, 4 1/2 years of agonizing labor and an untold number of lives. "Since we can't export the scenery," he once said, expressing a frontiersman's thirsty love of the land, "we'll have to import the tourists."

For the past century, imported tourists and Canadians alike have treasured his handiwork. The legendary Canadian is one of the last...

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