Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris a la Mer

Earliest map of the Paris au Havre railway in France

Plan du Trace du Chemin de Fer par les Plateaux de Paris au Havre le seul dresse par la Compagnie & Adopte' par les Chambres. 1838.

DESCRIPTION: Rare antique lithographed map of the Paris to Havre Railway (Paris a la mer) made before construction and during the first French Railway boom. About the earliest available advertisement for French railroads (chemin de fer) and one of 10 competing railway proposals submitted to the French Parliament between 1835 and 1847.

With a fine detailed drawing of a 1838 coal-powered steam engine chugging along with wagons carrying passengers, horses and cattle, and agricultural goods. Gentleman passengers in top hats casually observe the countryside from seats atop the passenger car. Workers in the coal car appear appropriately fatigued.

The first locomotive-powered railway in France, the Paris to St. Germain opened in 1837 followed immediately by a lack of interest in financing railway projects by the large French banks. This map advertised the potential of the Paris to Havre railway, probably an attempt to reach capital sources outside the French banking industry. Shows two train routes. The first route, in blue, represented the "Chemin par les Plateaux" while the uncolored set of parallel lines denoted the "Project par la Valee."

Lithograph on laid paper with Blauw watermark. Lithographed by Delarue, Rue Notre Dame Victoires 16.

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History notes the leadership of the rail project was attributable to William Mackenzie and Thomas Brassey. In 1840 Mackenzie and Brassey
"began railway works in France, and elsewhere. These included the greater part of the Paris and Rouen Railway; the whole of the Rouen and Havre Railway, including the stations and the maintenance of way of both lines; the line from Rouen to Dieppe, all under Joseph Locke, and George Neumann. " (Source:

CREATOR: Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris a la Mer




CONDITION: Good.  Clean. On laid paper, Strong. Two small tears in the margin repaired archivally

COLORING: Yes, handcolored


SIZE: 18 " x 12 "


PRICE: $800


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