Railway links Montreal to Portland

In July 1853 the first international railway ever built in the world is open. This 450-km rail line linked Montreal and the ice-free port of Portland, Maine.

The railway is also proof that the often-stormy relations between Canada and the US have finally started to settle down. Because it's an international railroad, the company has two names. On the American side, it's known as the Atlantic & St. Lawrence, while, north of the border, it's the St. Lawrence & Atlantic. But what it really is, it's a boon for merchants in Montréal, and the rural communities that the line passes through.

The St. Lawrence and Atlantic started as a vague dream in the early 1840s. It took the pioneering campaigning of a Portland promoter, John Poor, to get people along the proposed route interested, as well as drawing capital to the project. The two railroads were incorporated in 1845, but, being short of cash, work was delayed.

In fact, it wasn't until the Canadian government passed the Guarantee Act, which guaranteed a return for investors, that money came in. In July 1853, the fruit of the labor was finally seen as a steel ribbon between Montreal and the Atlantic Ocean.

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