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1st Prize Winner, 2012 QAHN Heritage Essay Contest: "The Eastern Townships Railroads"

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larger_trains.jpgIn the 1800s railways were needed in the Eastern Townships to get to raw materials, for fast travel, the growth of businesses, and to fill in the desire to build more railway lines. In the past most people didn’t have cars to travel with or trucks to carry materials. Railways met this need. Today most of the railways and the stations have been shut down because they are not needed.

In 1836 the first railway in the Eastern Townships was built called the Champlain and St. Johns where it connected to the water route to New York via Lake Champlain. Three years later other lines were built to Ontario via Kingston. More railways were needed to help develop the Township area.

By 1900 the three railways that were mostly used were The Grand Trunk Railway (which became Canadian National), Quebec Central, and Canadian Pacific. Towns near railway stations grew faster.

Often the railway lines were shut down because of flooding and work needed to be done on the lines. All the different railway lines could not stay in business.

In the twentieth century lots of lines and stations closed. The Canadian Pacific railway bought the Southeastern Railway. The service to Highwater stopped in the mid 1960s. They had changed the name of Mansonville Station to Highwater in 1909 because of the yearly flooding on the Missisquoi River. The Canadian Pacific Railway also purchased the line through Foster, namely the Foster station. In the 1970s the Foster station was closed and the Lac Brome Tourist Bureau used the building. In Cowansville the railway station was torn down and today there is a restaurant called La Station on that site.