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) is a Canadian Class I freight railway headquartered in Montreal, Quebec that serves Canada and the Midwestern and Southern United States. Its range once reached across the island of Newfoundland until 1988, when the Newfoundland Railway was abandoned.
CN is Canada's largest railway, in terms of both revenue and the physical size of its rail network, and is Canada's only transcontinental railway company, spanning Canada from the Atlantic coast in Nova Scotia to the Pacific coast in British Columbia.
CN Telegraphs began co-operating with its Canadian Pacific owned rival CPR Telegraphs in the 1930s, sharing telegraph networks and co-founding a teleprinter system in 1957.
In 1967 the two services were amalgamated into a joint venture CNCP Telecommunications which evolved into a telecoms company. In 1923 CNR's second president, Sir Henry Thornton who succeeded David Blyth Hanna (1919–1922), created the CNR Radio Department to provide passengers with entertainment radio reception and give the railway a competitive advantage over its rival, CP.
The Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 and allied involvement in the Russian Revolution seemed to validate the continuing process.At the same time, CNo R was also directed to assume management of Canadian Government Railways (CGR), a system comprising the Intercolonial Railway of Canada (IRC), National Transcontinental Railway (NTR), and the Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR), among others.On December 20, 1918, the federal government created the Canadian National Railways (CNR) – a title only with no corporate powers – through a Canadian Privy Council Order in Council as a means to simplify the funding and operation of the various railway companies.Following CN's purchase of Illinois Central (IC) in 1998, and a number of smaller US railways, it also has extensive trackage in the central United States along the Mississippi River valley from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.Today, CN owns about 20,400 route miles (32,831 km) of track in eight provinces (the only two not served by CN are Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island), as well as a 70-mile (113 km) stretch of track (see Mackenzie Northern Railway) into the Northwest Territories to Hay River on the southern shore of Great Slave Lake; it is the northernmost rail line anywhere within the North American rail network outside of Alaska.
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In subsequent years, several smaller independent railways would be added to the CNR as they went bankrupt, or it became politically expedient to do so, however the system was more or less finalized following the addition of the GTR.