Nicataux Falls

Nictaux hydroelectric generating station

Nictaux hydroelectric generating station

Atlantic Canada,Nova Scotia,hydroelectric power,Nicataux,Nova Scotia Power

The hydro station, penstock, and containment dam were built in the 1930s to provide power to Middleton and surrounding areas. The water for the station is supplied through a penstock that runs under the old, and the current containment dam upstream of Nictaux Falls.


Looking upstream

Across the road from the station, you can see the falls, and the remains of a trestle that spanned the Nictaux River. The trestle was part of  Torbrook Iron Mines rail spur.


The old trestle below the containment dam

As shown below, you can see the trestle abutments in the distance while standing at the containment dam.


Upstream and downstream of the new containment dam. The top of the old dam is submerged, just upstream of the new dam.


Now – about that bridge.

Iron was mined at several locations in Torbrook on a small scale for about 15 years in mid 1800s. Mining was restarted on a large scale in 1890, creating the community of Torbrook Mines. The Torbrook Iron Company built a three mile spur north from Torbrook Mines to Wilmot on the Windsor and Annapolis Railway (later the Dominion Atlantic) in 1891 to serve three of the mines at Torbrook, shipping the iron ore via the DAR to ironworks at Londonderry in Colchester County.


The trestle at Nictaux Falls. Illustrated History of Canadian Railways, p. 132

Another two mines were opened in Torbrook by the Canadian Iron Company about 1905. They shipped their ore by wagon to Nictaux for shipping at first, but in 1910, the company built a 4.07 mile long branch line from Torbrook Mines west to Nictaux. The branch line crossed the Nictaux River on a high trestle on concrete piers, following a curving route from Nictaux to Torbrook Mines to ensure easy grades. By 1910 the Canada Iron Company’s No. 2 Mine at Torbrook Mines was employing 120 men to produce 11,000 tons of iron ore a year. The ore was shipped from the 3 & 1/2 mile long spur to Nictaux and then 55 miles on the Middleton Subdivision to Port Wade. A large ore loading facility with a 7,000-ton storage bin was constructed on the government wharf at Port Wade in 1909 to transfer iron ore from the iron mines onto steamships. The volume of ore shipments did not grow as expected and the mines closed about 1913. Most of the branch line to the mines was dismantled in 1918, leaving a .66 mile stub from Nictaux across the river. The remaining track was removed in 1923.

And now you know…

and now some video…

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