The Quebec Railways Historical Research Institute has data bases which are sufficiently developed to fulfill our mission. Our data bases contain the following elements:
- Cartographic data bases of railways in Quebec
- Cartographic data bases of post offices in Quebec
- Historical maps
- Research documents
- Periodicals and magazines
- Historical pictures
Cartographic data bases of railways in Quebec
The cartographic computerized data bases are built on the scale of 1: 50 000. They show in a historical perspective, all the railways with their junctions, sidetracks, stations, and railway places, as well as the names used during the course of the years, the year of construction and the interruption of service.
To constitute these cartographic data bases, we have pulled together all the resources which form the main data bases. So, from ancient documents, we have mapped the localisation of railway lines with their different associated place names. With the help of other ancient cartographic sources (ex. regional maps), we have been able to validate different information. In more complex cases, we have used aerial photographs of different eras. In short, we have consulted more than 1500 maps to complete these data bases.
For Example :
Cartographic data bases of post offices in Quebec
The postal history is directly linked to the railway system which was used to transport the mail. In this context, we have constituted cartographic computerized data to the scale of 1: 50 000, giving place names and the post office localisations which were current in the territory of Quebec from 1763 to 1986. We often produced maps to the scale of 1: 250 000 in order to better illustrate these data bases.
We have used the same topographical maps which served to create the railway data bases as well as the Canadian Postal Archives and the post offices repertory of Quebec published by the Société d’histoire postale du Québec (Postal History Society of Quebec).
Example: Map to the scale of 1:250 000, post offices of the region between Lyster and Thetford Mines
The archives of the IRHCFQ have some 600 duplications of maps and historic plans, including a series of former topographic maps (1909 - 1960) covering Quebec. Our archives also consist of many regional maps dating from the end of 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Municipal and Insurance Company maps were also a good source of information.
Topographical map to the scale of 1: 63 360, 31 I 7, Trois-Rivières, 1924, National Defence Canada.
To achieve its works, the IRHCFQ has constituted archival records on the Quebec railway history, comprised of 2.5 linear metres. These records also include a file by railway lines. Theses files are composed of articles from specialized magazines; principally, we have all that was published in the famous periodical "Canadian Rail" concerning Quebec. We also have on file extracts of municipal monographs, extracts of maps, copies of photographs and of documents from consulted archives, etc.
The IRHCFQ has made different informative data bases for referential ends. We also find a historic file on each railway line/company, comprised of the owners and operators list, important evolution dates of each railway and the main events that contributed to its creation, development, or its abandonment. One equally finds railway place names of Quebec. This index permits us to mark out the historical bounds of each place name that one finds on the cartographic railways data bases.
We have also attached a few examples of research documents and extracts of our archive assets.
Extract of the Index of railway place names of Quebec
Example of document archive:
Archives of the CP: Plan of the St. Gabriel Station.
TimetablesThe IRHCFQ has acquired a series of ancient timetables of the railways in Quebec.The employee’s timetables are documents which contain pertinent information relative to the activitiesof the railways. So, in order to mark out the place name of the railway, we have used the timetables of numerous passenger trains.The following example is self-explanatory.
Timetable exemple : Grand Trunk Ry. 1872, Canadian National Ry. 1941,
LibraryThe IRHCFQ has accumulated many books dealing in full or in part with Quebec and Canadian railways. Although works treating specifically of Quebec are few, the library now has a little more than 175 titles. The library also has at least 35 videos. You could consult the bibliography below.
Periodicals and magazinesThe Institute owns a number of periodicals and magazines on the history of Canadian railways (Canadian Rail, TRAQ, Branchline, CN Lines, Le Rail Miniature, etc.). One can find the complete collection of “Le Rail Miniature”, a French Quebec periodical which was published between 1988 and 1998.
Example: Magazine cover with link
Canadian Rail (Click on image and go to exporail.org)
Historical picturesThe IRHCFQ have a collection of 1200 scanned photographs presenting different aspects of the railway system (train wrecks, landscapes, train stations, rolling stocks, etc.). This data base of old pictures grows constantly; thanks to the collaboration and gifts from historical railway buffs. We invite you to do the same and share your findings with us.
You will find a few samples of these photographic data bases.