Virtual Museum Canada

Sir SandFord Fleming - The Knight Of Time

A Man Of His Time

Early rails

Steam locomotive in Trevithick
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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.

First Canadian railway between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
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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).

Map of Lower Canada in 1850
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This short length of track was the beginning of what would eventually develop, one hundred years later, into a network thousands of kilometres long.