The Chignecto Ship Railway was a rail project conceived by civil engineer Henry Ketchum in the early 1870s. Ketchum’s vision was to transport ships by rail over the narrow isthmus between the Northumberland Straight and the Bay of Fundy. By using this 27 km crossing, ships would avoid the perilous 930 km voyage around Nova Scotia, easing access to the Boston states.
The Chignecto Ship Railway project was primarily financed by Baring Brothers and Company. Construction began in 1888, but when Baring ran into trouble two years later, the project soon ground to a halt. Despite being nearly finished, the project was never resumed.
Today, you can still walk much of the railbed; see granite locks constructed near Fort Lawrence; and see the stone bridge over the Tidnish River at Tidnish Bridge. The Province of Nova Scotia owns the land and is exploring ways to preserve this fascinating history.
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