The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), known as CP Rail (reporting mark CP) between 1968 and 1996, is a Canadian Class I railway operated by Canadian Pacific Railway Limited. Its rail network stretches from Vancouver to Montreal, and also serves major cities in the United States such as Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Its headquarters is in Calgary, Alberta. It owns approximately 14,000 route miles of track all across Canada and into the United States, stretching from Montreal to Vancouver, as far north as Edmonton.
The railroad recently reacquired two American railroads, the trackage, at one time having been owned by a subsidiary of the CP, the DME and the ICE. Between them, the reacquired properties owned trackage in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Iowa, as well as two short stretches into two other states which included a line to Kansas City, Missouri and a line to Chicago, Illinois, as well as a line into the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.
The railway was originally built between eastern Canada and British Columbia between 1881 and 1885 (connecting with Ottawa Valley and Georgian Bay area lines built earlier), fulfilling a promise extended to British Columbia when it entered Confederation in 1871. It is Canada's first transcontinental railway. Now primarily a freight railway, the CPR was for decades the only practical means of long distance passenger transport in most regions of Canada, and was instrumental in the settlement and development of Western Canada. The CP company became one of the largest and most powerful in Canada, a position it held as late as 1975. Its primary passenger services were eliminated in 1986 after being assumed by VIA Rail Canada in 1978. A beaver was chosen as the railway's logo because it is one of the national symbols of Canada and represents the hardworking character of the company. The object of both praise and condemnation for over 120 years, the CPR remains an indisputable icon of Canadian nationalism.