Rocky Mountain Express propels audiences on a steam train journey through the breathtaking vistas of the Canadian Rockies and relates the epic adventure of building the nation’s first transcontinental railway.

The completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1885 ranks among the greatest engineering feats in history. The project drew on the labour and expertise of thousands from around the world, including a young American railway superintendent named William Cornelius Van Horne. If the builders had failed, would Canada exist today? Spanning thousands of miles and some of the world’s greatest natural barriers, this grand transcontinental project and its wandering ribbon of steel drew together far flung communities isolated in the wilderness, shaped a new nation and changed the face of the North American continent forever. The success or failure of the venture was decided deep in the mountains.

Retracing the original route aboard the majestic steam engine 2816, the audience is transported back to the age of steam to re-live this alpine nation-building odyssey. The film weaves together spectacular IMAX aerial cinematography, breathtaking vistas of the west, archival photographs and maps and the potent energy and rhythms of a live steam locomotive to immerse audiences in a an era of remarkable ingenuity and struggle and a region of stunning natural beauty. Ride the rails along deep river canyons and over high mountain passes. Discover some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes on earth and the heroic human drama and epic engineering that shaped a continent.

Length: 40:00

Film Details

  • Year Released: 2011
  • Date Released:
    September 30, 2011
  • Alternate Titles:
  • Status: In Distribution
  • 3D: No
  • Run Time: 31-50
  • Formats: 15/70, DCI-compliant Digital, IMAX Digital
  • Distributor:

    The Stephen Low Company

  • Produced By:
    The Stephen Low Company and Age of Steam Film Company. Shot in collaboration with the Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Executive Producer:
  • Producer: Pietro Serapiglia, Alexander Low
  • Director:  Stephen Low
  • Associate Producer: 
  • Writer: 
  • Cinematography: Stephen Low
  • Sound Editor: 

    Peter Thillaye

  • Visual Effects: Mario Rachiele
  • Music/Score:  Michel Cusson
  • Editor: Michel Cusson
  • Narrator:
  • Other Credits:
  • Sponsors:


  • Documentary
  • Historical


Film website


  • Best Film, Short Subject, Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA), 2012
  • Best Cinematography, Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA), 2012

Film Facts

Filmed in 15/70