The railway is the most evocative symbol of the industrial revolution. Trains, which were originally established to bring coal from mines to waterways where it was transferred to boats, became a modern, widespread and valued way to carry goods and passengers.
The steam locomotive was invented in 1802 by English engineer Richard Trevithick. The world’s first railway track was laid in England in 1825.
In Canada, the first railway was inaugurated in 1836. It was laid between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, in what was then Lower Canada (future province of Quebec).
This short length of track was the beginning of what would eventually develop, one hundred years later, into a network thousands of kilometres long.