Gare du Palais
|Via Rail (inter-city rail)|
The Gare du Palais, in Old Quebec
|Location||450, rue de la Gare du Palais
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
|Owned by||Via Rail|
|Station code||VIA Rail: QBEC|
|Previous names||Canadian Pacific Railway|
Palais Station ("Palace Station") is a train and bus station in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. Its name comes from its proximity to the Palace of the Intendant of New France. It is served by Via Rail, Canada's national passenger railway, and by the private coach company Orléans Express.
Built in 1915 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the two-storey châteauesque station is similar in design to the Château Frontenac. The station had no passenger rail service from 1976 to 1985, although it once again hosts regular daily services west to Montreal's Central Station via Drummondville. It was designated a Heritage Railway Station in 1992.
From 1850, the rail revolution is expanding trough Quebec Province and all of Canada. Quebec City stays isolated on St-Lawrence River north shore; two private companies fail to get financing while Grand Trunk Railway lobbies against it in London. Finally, Quebec City grants 1 $ million to North Shore Railway (NSR), founded by Quebec’s bourgeoisie, to connect Quebec and Montreal by rail. Around 1872, the NSR builds the first Palais Station. In 1875, the lack of funds drives the NSR to transfer its assets to the Quebec Government which founds the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa & Occidental Railway (QMO&OR). By the end of 1877, the QMO&OR had built the railway between Quebec and Ottawa. From 1880 to 1890, the Quebec and Lake St-John Railway (QLSJR) joined the QMO&OR to enter Quebec City from the west and reach Palais Station as indicated on the time tables of the period. In 1882, the QMO&OR sells the Montreal-Ottawa line to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and, the Quebec-Montreal line in 1885.
In 1915, the CPR built the actual station designed by architect H. E. Prindel in the “Château de la Loire” style. “The exterior of the building was of Argenteuil granite, Deschambault limestone and Citadel brick with high sloping roofs of copper. A 40 foot window over the entrance contained the arms of seven of the historic names of Quebec: Montmagny, de Tracy, Beauharnois, Montcalm, Wolfe, Frontenac and Talon. At the bases of its turrets were cartouches bearing the French fleur de lys, the Tudor rose, the Scottish thistle and the Irish shamrock, respectively. High upon the roof was an ornamental clock with a dial eight feet in diameter topped with the city’s arms. The ticket lobby measured 65 x 45 feet with a clearance of 60 feet to a stained glass skylight inset with a map of the CPR. The concourse/waiting room measured 125 x 62 feet and 40 feet high. Cast into the interior brickwork on the walls were embossed heraldic symbols of the founding races”.
After Quebec Bridge construction in 1917, Palais Station is called a Union Station because the Canadian Pacific shares the facilities with the National Transcontinental Railway and the Quebec Central Railway; the Canadian National will use until 1929 the former QLSJR station built in 1891 on Parent Square nearby. The Quebec Railway Light and Power also had its station nearby (former Quebec, Montmorency & Charlevoix).In fact, both Palais Stations received passengers from seven different railways : the Quebec, Montreal,Ottawa & Occidental Railway (becomes Canadian Pacific), the Quebec and Lake St-John Railway from 1880, the Great Northern Railway of Canada in 1900 (trough QLSJR at Rivière-à-Pierre), the Quebec, Montmorency & Charlevoix (becomes Quebec Railway Light & Power Co) after construction of the swinging bridge on St-Charles River in 1891, the Canadian Northern Railway buys the Great Northern in 1907 and, in 1909, builds a line from Garneau Junction north of Shawinigan to Hedley Junction of QLSJR, the National Transcontinental Railway in 1917 (third transcontinental after CPR and CNoR) and the Quebec Central Railway which use a ferry from Levis to reach Quebec before the Quebec Bridge. In 1918, many railways are near bankrupt and the Canadian Government (which created the problem by building the NTR in the underpopulated northern regions of the provinces) must found the Canadian National Railway to rationalize the rail industry and nationalize the QLSJR, the CNoR, the NTR and the Grand Trunk.
In 1976, the Palais Station is expropriated by the city to build the Dufferin-Montmorency highway. The rails are removed to Cadorna stop, St-Malo industrial park, where the CPR builds a new station (3 miles west of Palais Station, near St-Sacrement street). The CNR uses its Ste-Foy Station, west of Quebec’s bridge. On December 2, 1979, Ste-Foy Station becomes the passenger station of Via Rail. On November 8, 1985, Palais Station reopens after 28 millions$ renovations. As the rails south of St-Charles river were removed, the trains have to run on the north side from Allenby crossing ( CPR and National Transcontinental) on CNR Lairet division (built by CNoR) to Hedley Junction (QLSJR line from Rivière-à-Pierre was abandoned in 1997), then turns south and crosses St-Charles River and reach Palais Station. The Canadian Pacific Railway no longer reaches Palais Station since it sold its rails north of St-Lawrence River to Québec-Gatineau.
- Québec (mai 2001)
- "Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada - Heritage Railway Stations - List of designated stations in Quebec". Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. 2006-03-17. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
- Smith, Dough (December 1985). "Palais Station Reopens" (PDF). Branchline. 24 No 11: 11. Retrieved 2017-08-05.
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