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Michael J. Heney

Michael J. Heney helped build railroads in Canada, Washington and Alaska but it was his work as a labor contractor for the White Pass & Yukon Route that brought him wide recognition and fame. He was born in Ireland and immigrated to Canada with his family. At 14 he ran away from home to work on the Canadian railroad. He learned to lay rail, measure grades, blast cliffs, build tunnels, estimate costs and run crews. Heney had a natural gift for leadership.

The partnership between Heney and the men who would become his friends and colleagues in the construction of the railroad was successful. The White Pass & Yukon Route was built in twenty-six months for ten million dollars. The "Scenic Railway of the World" secured Heney’s place in history.