Smiths Falls is home to a rather spectacular, raised bascule bridge. The Scherzer rolling-lift railway bridge was built in 1912-13 and was used until the rail line ceased operation in 1984. Since then it has been permanently kept in the raised position.
The Smiths Falls bascule bridge was built on the Toronto-Ottawa line of the Canadian Northern Railway in 1912-1913. Very little power was required to operate it owing to the unique rolling lift action which almost eliminated friction, and the overhead concrete counterweight which balanced the 21-metre plate-girder lift-span. Originally electrically powered, the bridge was manually operated from 1915-1978. Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridges were introduced to Canada ca. 1911, and this is the oldest surviving structure of its type. Canadian National Railways transferred ownership of the bridge to the City of Smiths Falls for maintenance as a heritage resource in the mid 1980s.
Smiths Falls was a major railway hub, but pretty much all that is left is the bridge – thankfully the bridge was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1983.
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© 2013 CKB