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Big Chute Marine Railway, Coldwater

(4.7/5 based on 85+ reviews on the web)
Big Chute Marine Railway is a boat lift at lock 44 of the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario, Canada. It works on an inclined plane to carry boats in individual cradles over a change of height of about 60ft. It is the only marine railway (or canal inclined plane) of its kind in North America still in use, and is overseen by federally operated Parks Canada.HistoryIn 1914 contracts were let to have 3 locks built to connect the Severn River to Georgian Bay at Port Severn, Big Chute, and Swift Rapids. With the start of World War I, however, there was a shortage of manpower and resources. Lock 45 at Port Severn was nearing completion, so it was finished as a small, "temporary" lock. (It remains in use to this day.) The locks at Big Chute and Swift Rapids were not completed, with "temporary" marine railways being built instead. The original Big Chute Marine Railway was completed in 1917, and could only carry boats up to 35ft long, preventing navigation by large commercial vessels. The Swift Rapids Marine Railway was completed in 1919, using the same plans as the Big Chute railway.In 1921 plans were once again made to build three locks at Big Chute, to be part of a new section of canal which would take boats from Big Chute and rejoin the existing waterway downstream from the Little Chute, avoiding the fast water in the Little Chute. However because of the post-war recession the scheme was put on hold once more, although remains of the beginning of the dams required to maintain the water levels can still be found in the surrounding forest. In 1923 the original railway at Big Chute was replaced, as the size and number of boats had increased, with the second carriage being able to carry boats up to 60ft long. The 1923 carriage was used up until around 2003, on days of extremely heavy traffic, or as a backup for the new carriage. Although the old carriage is no longer used, it remains on display.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I have visited The Big Chute several times and enjoy it every time I'm there. It's a fascinating experience, especially for guests from Europe. They are amazed, as you will be as well! 
  • If you're lucky, you'll arrive at Big Chute when several boats are utilising the railway to pass from one waterway to another and enjoy the amazing sight. The railway protects the integrity of the wat...  more »
  • This lock is one of my favorites. Lifts your boat out of the water and sends it down a track a bit like a slow roller coaster! The scenery and experience is a great one! 
Google
  • PLEASE NOTE that the Big Chute Marine Railway is in Big Chute, Ontario, not in Honey Harbour!!!