CW History – Canadian Pacific Morse Code

While on holiday in Canada a few years ago, we visited the Revelstoke Railway Museum in Revelstoke, British Colombia. (It’s a great museum where you can get up close and personal with Canadian locomotives, which are enormous by British standards. Train tracks run right alongside the museum and we were lucky enough to have the Rocky Mountaineer go past while we were there.)

One of the displays showed this early version of the Morse Code used by the Canadian Pacific Railway*. It is fascinating to see characters for Pounds, Shillings and Pence, as well as Dollars and Cents. As you can also see, many of the characters are different from modern Morse – a total of 21 letters and numbers. “73” would sound very different!

The history of Canada’s railways is fascinating – the railway really did build the nation. Even now the railways carry vast loads across the continent, with multi-engined trains up to 4km long. I’m reliably informed they don’t use CW any more though!

* Reproduced with kind permission from the Revelstoke Railway Museum.

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