Valcartier Station

Over 70 years of service

Sources: “Valcartier d'hier à aujourd'hui (1914-2014)” by Michel Litalien. Valcartier Station - also known as Valcartier Junction.


Cargo from Valcartier Station could sometimes be surprisingly challenging

After the British Empire declared war on the 4th of August, 1914, Camp Valcartier became a gathering and training area for land forces. 

Just a month later, on September 8th, Camp Valcartier had already enlisted and trained some 33,000 men and 5,000 horses to form the 1st contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

Most of the men and horses from many parts of Canada, as well as everything needed to house, feed and support their basic training, passed through Valcartier Station.

Later, these same men and horses left the station to be transported to the Quebec docks to board the ships that would take them overseas.

Photo source: “Valcartier d'hier à aujourd'hui (1914-2014)” by Michel Litalien

Soldiers leaving for Hong Kong in October 1941

Valcartier Station’s platform was often the starting point for trained soldiers and their equipment. From here, they were relayed to another boarding point where they were transported overseas.

Photo Source: bac-lac.gc.ca - Library and Archives Canada—PA116794

Text version of the audio

You are at the intersection of Station Road and the Jacques Cartier/Portneuf Bicycle Path. For over 70 years, a train station known as "Valcartier Station" or "Valcartier Junction" was located about 100 metres from here, in the direction of Val-Bélair and Quebec City.

During those more than seven decades, Valcartier Station served the communities of Shannon and Camp Valcartier. The latter is now known as Canadian Forces Base Valcartier. The station and its adjacent structures were built shortly after the creation of the "Quebec & Lake St. John Railway" in 1901. This railway had as its starting point the lower town of Quebec City. It then wound its way through Ste. Foy, Lorette, Val Rose and by here before continuing through numerous communities and finally reaching Lake St. John in the region that is now called Saguenay. 

In the early decades, local communities relied heavily on the Valcartier Station for the handling of goods and services now delivered by ground transport. Livestock and machinery were delivered there, and mail for the area went through the station.

Passenger service was vital to the local population. It was a boarding point for those doing business or visiting friends or family in other areas.  It was also the point of departure and arrival for people who were working or attending high school between here and Quebec City. This passenger service was maintained until the late 1950s.


Because of its proximity to Camp Valcartier, Valcartier Station played a crucial role in Canada’s war efforts. After the British Empire declared war on August 4th, 1914, Camp Valcartier became a gathering and training area for land forces.  By September 8th, barely a month later, Camp Valcartier had already enlisted and was training some 33,000 men and 5,000 horses to form the 1st contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Most of the men and horses which were from many parts of Canada, as well as everything needed to house, feed and support their basic training, passed through Valcartier Station. Later, these same men and horses left through the station to be transported to the docks of Quebec where they boarded the ships which would take them overseas

Similarly, during the Second World War and the Korean War, trained soldiers and their equipment passed through the station to be relayed to other boarding points where they were transported overseas.

It is worth noting the role the station played in a particular passenger service during the Second World War. “The Canadian Arsenals”, a munitions plant located about a kilometer southeast of here, employed thousands of people during this dark time, and it needed transportation to get its employees to work. A train was designated for this task, and rather than returning to town after delivering its passengers, this train would spend the day on one of the sidings near the station until it was time to bring the workers home in the evening. It was unofficially dubbed « The Arsenal Train ».

At its peak, Valcartier Station employed a station master, a superintendent and various employees. It had adjacent buildings: a house for its station master, a house for its superintendent, hangars, and warehouses. It could accommodate temporary work teams who could spend a week in the area. Only the building that was the superintendent’s house remains today. This is the two-storey house that is now located at 30 Station Road, after having been moved from its original location.

Over the decades, Valcartier Station played an important role in the lives of the people of its surrounding communities as well as in the evolution and development of those communities.

However, it has also played a vital role on the world stage during major wars. Many, many thousands of soldiers boarded the trains from its platform to fight in the trenches of France, on the beaches of Dieppe and Normandy or in Sicily, or on battlefields in Korea. Relatively few train stations in the world can make such a claim.

Extract of
Historical tour of Shannon

Historical tour of Shannon image circuit

Presented by : Ville de Shannon

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