Site of Chaffey’s Train Station
The Cataraqui Trail was originally part of the Canadian Northern Railway (later the Canadian National Railway) that operated from 1914 until 1979. The nearby iron bridge was a railway trestle spanning the canal. For several decades there was a busy train station in Chaffey’s Lock.
The Railway Line
In 1911 the Canadian Northern Railway began building this section of the railway between Smiths Falls and Sydenham. The complex construction involved spanning gorges with cribbing and fill, dynamiting rock outcroppings and constructing the trestle. A 1912 blasting accident west of Chaffey’s Lock killed eight workers. Trains began operating along the line in 1914 and it became a busy passenger and freight conduit. In 1923 the Canadian National Railway acquired the track. Although traffic diminished over the years, it remained an active railway until 1979. After the tracks were removed, the rail bed became part of the Cataraqui Trail.
The Station House
Completed in 1913, the Chaffey’s Lock station house, designed by Ralph Pratt, was painted dark red with black trim. For many years the station agent and his family lived in quarters behind the ticket counter and on the upper floor. Local resorts, cottagers and permanent residents used the daily passenger and freight trains. Dairy products and fish were shipped out and supplies came in. The station was torn down around 1960, after passenger trains stopped using the line, The remaining shed was used by maintenance crews to house their gasoline powered hand-car.