Dominion Atlantic Railway Bear River Bridges 7 June 1912
There were two versions of the railway bridge across the Bear River in Nova Scotia:
the first wooden bridge built in 1890 and its steel replacement built a few metres
downstream, completed in 1913. Both included a large swing span at the far
west end of the bridge to allow ships passage to the busy timber wharves in the
village of Bear River several miles upriver. Both bridges straddled the boundary
between Annapolis and Digby Counties in Nova Scotia. In this view, the new (1912)
bridge is in the early stages of construction beside the existing bridge built in 1890.
The new bridge, shown here under construction, was crossed by the last passenger
train on 15 January 1990. The last freight train crossed about three months later.
The bridge was then in a deteriorated condition as a result of years of deferred
maintenance. Further deterioration occurred during another twenty years of
disuse with no maintenance. In 2011, the government of the province of
Nova Scotia, then the owner, had to choose between demolition
or an expensive restoration to a safe condition.
This photograph was purchased in 2010 at an estate auction at a rural fire hall in
Pictou County. The names of the previous owner and the photographer are not known.
Thanks to G. Clarke.
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