Railway bridge


From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:

This was the railway bridge built of pine, with hemlock pilings that once spanned the Narrows. The timber came from Cumberland County, the steel from the iron works at Londonderry and at New Glasgow, and the stone on the Dartmouth end was obtained from Beaver Bank. There are very few townsmen left, who have walked across this bridge.

The average number of freight cars that went both ways over this Narrows’ bridge totalled about 135 per week. The purpose of the curves was to deflect the annual ice floes drifting down from Bedford Basin in late winter. Even before the bridge collapsed, Dominion Government officials were already at work on plans for a more sturdy and substantial structure.

But Dartmouth merchants had had enough of costly roundabout freight hauls and vexatious delays of passenger connections at Richmond. Town meetings, which were soon convened, sent vigorous petitions to Ottawa to demand a direct rail route from Windsor Jet. to join the old tracks at Tufts Cove.

(Bedford Basin was usually frozen every season during my youth, and no doubt from time immemorial because it was mixed with fresh water from streams and rivers which kept up a flowage all winter. In recent years the moisture is not being retained on the slopes but has a quick runoff as a result of the widespread deforestation. Hence Bedford Basin is now mostly undiluted salt water which requires 28 degrees for freezing. This change began to be noticed around the turn of the century when places like Fairview built oil piers for steamers. But the Basin ice surface continued to be used as a short cut for pedestrians and vehicles going to and fro until about the early 1930s. By that time the severe freezing and the annual drift of ice-cakes had ceased. This picture taken from Halifax side. Dartmouth hills in the distance.)