While doing research about Canadian Northern and other CNR predecessors, I stumbled upon Mr. Harold Aaskup website dedicated to old Canadian steam locomotives. While discussing with him, he indicated me a good deal of information was available online on Library and Archives Canada website.
The search engine is simple and user friendly, making the searches quite easy.
Also, the documents have been scanned in good quality and thus a lot of details can be seen. Sure, you won’t find everything but that’s a good starting point.
I particularly recommend you to active the Architectural and Technical Drawings checkbox because engineering drawings of railway structures are available. In that respect, take a look at “Intercolonial Railway” archives. A lot of drawings and pictures document the construction. It is particularly useful to anybody modelling a 19th or early 20th century North American railway. Now, you will understand why Sir Sandford Fleming was considered a perfectionist!
Here are some bulk results:
Canadian Government Railway (this is a wide search not closely related to the federal entity)
And my favourite: Quebec Montreal Ottawa and Occidental Railway… What a fantastic paint scheme that would be a great challenge to bring back to life. And if you wonder, yes, I’ve once thought about reproducing the original QMO&O station in Downtown Quebec City which was a nice brick covered station.
Even typing very generic words such as “boxcar” can yield impressive information about Canadian and American prototypes. This is a highly recommended website and definitely now in my top list.
A big thanks to Harold for the useful tip!