Author: Art Clowes
The 37 miles of railway between Cook’s Brook (now Painsec Junction on the Canadian National Railway) and the Nova Scotia boundary was constructed by the Eastern Extension Railway. This company was established by a contract between the province and the International Contract Company of London, England in 1865 to build the line for a fixed price per mile. This line designated as Division V of the Intercolonial Railway of Canada and probably caused Sandford Fleming more headaches than any other portion of this project. Fleming’s main concerns related to its circuitous route with its many curves (that increased the distance by a third over the length of the most direct route) and excessive grades. The selection of this route was a political favour to a few influential residents especially around Dorchester. The fixed price per mile of the contract added to the problem as extra easy distance was favoured to help the company make more money.
This line now part of CN’s Springhill Subdivision, saw the first 19.3 miles between Painsec Junction and Dorchester formally opened on Tuesday, December 8, 1868. While squabbles over the completeness of this line and reports of ballasting, etc., were still showing up in early 1870, the line into Sackville was put in service about the middle of December 1869.