ST. ANGELE

TO THE STATION VIA STREETCAR

You could reach Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir
by streetcar!

1877

The early years of railway service to
Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir

In 1877, steam-powered trains first reach Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. The owner of the line is the Montreal, Portland & Boston Railway. As the years go by, mergers and bankruptcies lead several different companies to operate the line in turn. In 1926, a new type of service arrives: the line will now carry electric streetcars.

1883

United Counties Railways in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir

On March 30, 1883, United Counties Railways is incorporated by the Quebec provincial legislature. This railway company’s shareholders are mostly French-Canadian. Its aim is to connect the village of Richelieu with the town of Sorel. An amendment to its charter in 1888 designates Iberville as the terminal for the south section of the railway. This new route now departs Saint-Hyacinthe for Saint-Damase, Rougemont and Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. The railway is inaugurated on September 17, 1893, with a trip from Saint-Hyacinthe to Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. In 1900, it becomes the property of the Quebec Southern Railway, which in 1906 is renamed the Quebec, Montreal & Southern Railway by new owners. Over two decades later, on July 15, 1929, the line is sold to the Canadian National Railway, which cancels service in 1931 and begins lifting the rails in 1932.

1877

A first station in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir

The first station in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir is built in 1877 by the Montreal, Portland & Boston Railway, which begins service between Longueuil, Chambly, Richelieu, Marieville, Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, Farnham and Frelighsburg. Located on Rue Principale, the station is a small, rectangular building covered in wooden siding and topped smartly by a four-slope roof. It has a single front entrance, and wooden shutters for its windows. This station does not have a wooden platform for boarding the train. Also, unlike some stations in the region, the station master does not live there. Over the years it will be used by several railway companies, including the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway, until its demolition in 1958. 

The station for the Quebec, Montreal & Southern Railway (previously the United Counties Railway) as it appeared around the year 1920.

The station for the Quebec, Montreal & Southern Railway (previously the United Counties Railway) as it appeared around the year 1920.

1893

A second station in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir ​

In 1893, a second station appears in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, this one built by United Counties Railways. The one-storey, rectangular building is built in wood and has a four-slope roof, extending all around the building to give shelter. We see, on an exterior wall, the standard blackboard where the station master writes the times and destinations of every train. The station will be abandoned in 1932. The building then serves as a warehouse until eventually being demolished. 

JANUARY 6, 1926

Electric rail arrives at Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir

On August 31, 1925, the Central Vermont Railway stops operating the railway line that runs between Farnham and Montréal and serves Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, Marieville, Chambly and Saint-Lambert. The company permanently abandons the section between Farnham and Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir and pulls up the rails. In 1925, after initiatives by the town and an agreement with the Central Vermont Railway, the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway installs electric power for the section of track between Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir and Marieville, a distance of 3.49 miles. Transit service between the two communities starts on January 6, 1926, with one round-trip per day. The service runs until 1956, but then the railway’s presence in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir comes to an end, after enduring for 79 years.

In 1955, two boys sit on their bicycle near an electric train consisting of Car 609, another unidentified car, and a milk trailer for transporting milk cans. On the left, the rear side of the Hamel Hotel.

Cars 609 and 610 at Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir in 1956.

JANUARY 11, 1926

Celebrating the arrival of electric tramway service in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir

On Monday, January 11, 1926, electric streetcars arrive at Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir for the first time. The passengers include officers of the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway such as D. E. Gallaway, its vice-president, and many special guests such as J. Alfred Ouellette, the mayor of Marieville. To celebrate this event, the town council organizes a reception in a public building. Arthur Paquette, the mayor of Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir, is on hand with town councillors, merchants and farmers to express their great satisfaction at the arrival of this new means of transport for passengers and freight. 

1928-1945

A station “mistress” at Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir for the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway and the Canadian National Railway

In this era in Canada, it is very rare for women to work as station masters. Fernande Brasseur is one of these special few. Her father was a cheese and butter maker in Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir from 1928 to 1945. To hold the position of station master, she has to be educated and, above all, be fluent in English. That is the required language for all of the messages, reports and letters sent to and from the railway companies. At the station, she manages the ticket office, the telegraph desk, the mail deposits, the clock, the semaphore system for signalling trains, and the shipping and receiving of goods. “When I started working, it was in the field of education, as a teacher. The experience was rewarding but short-lived, because a long illness affected my vocal cords and the doctor advised me to give up teaching. Afterwards, I worked as a railway station master in Sainte-Angèle. I married Jean Hamel, son of Florian Hamel. The family ran a hotel in Sainte-Angèle.”

Mrs. Fernande Brasseur Hamel, station master, standing next to Car 609. Behind her is the station building of the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway, and on the right, the Hamel Hotel.

The Hamel Hotel becomes the Station Hotel​

In every era, there have been inns and hotels located close to travel routes. The Hamel Hotel enjoys a perfect location, just a few steps from the final station of Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir. Most of its customers are tourists and travelling salesmen in need of accommodation. The hotel also serves as a gathering place for departing and arriving travellers. 

The Hamel Hotel and, on the left, the station of the Montreal & Southern Counties Railway.

Car 611 near the railroad switch at Marieville station, the junction point for the Sainte-Angèle-de-Monnoir branch.

Location of the pannel on La Route des Champs

Research and text

Gilles Bachand, historian

Société d'histoire et de généalogie des Quatres Lieux

References and photographs (2020)

Archives of the Société d’histoire et de généalogie des Quatre Lieux

Archives of the Société d’histoire de la Seigneurie de Monnoir