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Riding the CN Riviere a Pierre mixed in 1975

Limoilou (Quebec City) to Riviere a Pierre. Quebec.

Phil Mason

On April 10th and 11th 1975, Dana Andrews (an operator for CP in Montreal) and I went to Quebec City to ride the CN mixed from Quebec Limoilou to Riviere a Pierre QC.

The precursor railway to the CN in this case was the Quebec & Lake Saint John Railway, build between 1882 and 1887 to colonise the area around Lac St.Jean. In 1907, the Canadian Northern purchased the Q&LSJ and subsequent built south from Riviere a Pierre to other CNor lines on the north shore of the St.Lawrence River.

Between 1910 and 1914, the Federal Government built the National Transcontinental Railway from Moncton NB to Graham ON., connecting end to end with the Grand Trunk Pacific. The NTR crossed the CNQ at Hervey Jonction QC.

Gradually the traffic shifted from Quebec City as a departure point to Montreal, and the Q&LSJ from Quebec City to Riviere a Pierre declined in importance.

That said, there was regular CN passenger service from Quebec City to Chicoutimi over the Q&LSJ until shortly before we rode the mixed that replaced it. It operated on a daytime schedule opposite the overnight Montreal-Chicoutimi train. There is significant settlement from Quebec to Riviere a Pierre, including a large Army base at Valcartier. I think the mixed train service was supplied as a partial replacement for the regular passenger service, however the days we rode, we were the only passengers and the seats were dusty indicating that no one else had ridden recently.

Interesting to note in my pictures is that although Valcartier is boarded up, there was still an attendant who had plowed the parking lot and is just visible on the platform.

Loretteville appears an original station, St.Raymond is either a 1950's built or rebuilt station. Note the colour light style order board. Riviere a Pierre is also a recent build, with a searchlight style order board.

I believe the line from Quebec City was abandoned in the 1990's, with ski trails now using parts of the right of way.

CN mixed train at Limoilou.

On board the mixed at Loretteville.

Valcartier all boarded up.

St. Raymond

Interior of the combine.

Riviere a Pierre end of the run.


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