Disasters and Calamities, 1840-1867

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Photograph
Railway over suspension bridge, Niagara, ON, 1869
William Notman (1826-1891)
1869, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
I-37304
© McCord Museum
Description
Keywords:  Photograph (77678) , rail (370) , Train (185) , Transportation (2517)
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Keys to History

The Great Western railway , inaugurated in 1853, linked the cities of Windsor, London, Hamilton and Niagara Falls in what is today the province of Ontario. At Niagara Falls, the railway crossed the suspended bridge, illustrated here, heading for New York and Michigan states in the United States. This bridge had two sections: cars crossed on the oldest section on the lower level, and trains moved on the upper level, shown here.

In 1882, the Great Western Railway had a network of 1 290 kilometres of railways in Southeastern Ontario and 288 kilometres in Michigan. However, the company had some problems: it had to face the competition of other railways and the problems caused by negligence in the construction of the network. It would finally be merged into the Grand Trunk network in1882.

  • What

    The suspension bridge at Niagara Falls was an original design. Two stone pylons at each end supported the four iron cables that bore the bridge deck over which trains and cars travelled.

  • Where

    The suspension bridge spanning the Niagara Gorge linked Canada and the United States.

  • When

    On March 8, 1855, the first locomotive, the London, crossed the rail platform of the suspension bridge over Niagara Falls. For the next 25 years, an average of 50 trains per week would cross this bridge.

  • Who

    Engineer John Augustus Roebling was born on June 12, 1806, in Germany. His training as an engineer led him to emigrate to America where he innovated by building suspension bridges, including the one at Niagara Falls.