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, Canada
1836 - Opening of the first railway in Canada from La Prairie to St. Jean, Quebec



On July 21, 1836, cheers filled the air as a wood-burning steam locomotive chugged out of La Prairie, Quebec, pulling the first train on the first public railroad in Canada...

Construction for the twenty-five-kilometre line began January 1835 and ran between La Prairie on the St. Lawrence River and Saint-Jean (then called St. John) on the Richelieu River. It served as a way for those travelling between Montreal and New York to avoid a bumpy stagecoach journey that bypassed a series of difficult rapids on the Richelieu. At Saint-Jean, passengers transferred to a steamer that carried them south to New York City via Lake Champlain and the Hudson River...

Its first official run was held with great fanfare. The locomotive pulled two first-class coaches carrying thirty-two dignitaries, including Lord Gosford, the governor general of Lower Canada. A second train pulled by a team of horses followed close behind. Two hours later, the trains arrived in St. John to a rousing welcome...

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