Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad (C&SL) ( C.N. Rail, Canada ) - Historic Places Days

Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad (C&SL) ( C.N. Rail, Canada )

Montréal, Québec
Monument / Landmark
935 Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest, Montreal, QC H3B 2M9, Canada
Get directions
Weekdays 9:00am-4:30pm

Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad (C&SL)
The First Canadian Public Railway, it is a historic railway in Lower Canada, and one of the first railways built in British North America. The line operated in the Province of Quebec with a line into New York State. A monument marks the location of the first railway in Canada in LaPrairie, Quebec.
The railway was financed by Montreal entrepreneur and brewery owner John Molson. It was intended to connect the St Lawrence River valley with Lake Champlain, thereby cutting time between Montreal and New York.
The project commenced in 1835, a line running from St.Johns on the Richelieu River, to LaPrairie across the river of Montreal.
The initial 16 mile (26km) was built in a traditional 4’8.5″ standard gauge railway, joined by pine logs and iron splice plates and bolts laid across ties. The rails remained the same until they were replaced completely by iron rails in the 1850’s.
North Americas first wood-burning locomotive ‘The Dorchester’ arrived at Molson’s wharf in Montreal in June of 1836. The maximum speed was approximately 30mph (48 km/h).
Distinguished guests arrived for the opening of the railway besides Molson and Lord Gosford, the Lieutenant-Governor of Lower Canada as well as Louis-Joseph, the rebel politician. Over 300 guest arrived for the opening. The locomotive was unable to handle the load and thereby many guests returned by cars hauled by a team of horses. Additional locomotives arrived in 1937.
The ‘Dorchester’ was inducted in the North Amercian Railway Hall of Fame, as the first locomotive used in Canada.
The line was extended along the Richelieu Valley in 1851 to Rouses Point, New York.
It was merged with the Montreal and New York Railway in 1857, formerly known as the Montreal and Lachine Railroad, the new Company named ‘Montreal and Champlain’. It was leased by the Grand Trunk Rail in 1864 and then purchased completely by Grand Trunk.
In 1923 the GTR was nationalised and the C&SL & M&C trackage was incorporated into the Canadian National Railways (CNR). CN continues to operate this historic route (post-1960).

This listing was created by Joanna A on July 29, 2021.  Please confirm details at the site’s own website before planning your visit. Are you the owner/operator of this historic place? Would you like to make changes to this listing? Please contact us at


  • Family-Friendly
  • Food and Beverages
  • Washrooms
  • Wheelchair Access


935 Rue De La Gauchetière Ouest, Montreal, QC H3B 2M9, Canada
Get directions

Nearby Places

Place du Canada, 1967 ( Dorchester Square ) 1878

Montréal, Québec
An important Historic Park featuring monuments relevant to the history of Montreal.
View Place | Get Directions

Windsor Station – National Historic Site of Canada, 1975

Montréal, Québec
Windsor Station built between 1888-1924 for the Canadian Pacific Railway.
View Place | Get Directions

Black Rock

Montreal, Quebec
The Black Rock – remembering the 6000+ Irish Immigrants that died 1847
View Place | Get Directions

St. George’s Anglican Church (National Historic Site of Canada, 1990), Montreal, Qc

Montréal, Québec
St. George’s Anglican Church (National Historic Site of Canada, 1990), Montreal, Qc
View Place | Get Directions

Popular VisitLists Including "Champlain and St. Lawrence Railroad (C&SL) ( C.N. Rail, Canada )"

‘Montreal’s and Quebec’s Rail History’

Montréal, Québec to Saint-Constant, Québec 5 places
A look back in time, of veterans now lost who build Our Nation & City.
View VisitList

Register A Place

Create an account to add your historic place.

Make a VisitList

Welcome! To get started on a VisitList, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDays.

Already have an account? to sign in.
We use your contact information to process your registration and correspond with you about the National Trust and its programs. You can unsubscribe at any time. We care about your privacy. Read our privacy statement.

Sign In

Sites that participate in #HistoricPlacesDays need to have an account.

Welcome! To get started on a new VisitList or to edit an existing one, you’ll need to have an account with #HistoricPlacesDays. Sign in below!

Not registered? Click here to create an account.

Forgot Password

Enter your email address to request a password reset.

to sign in.

Get the latest scoop on everything #HistoricPlacesDays – join our e-newsletter and never miss a beat.