Prince of Wales Bridge
The Prince of Wales Bridge is a rail bridge across the Ottawa River joining Ottawa, Ontario to Gatineau, Quebec. It connected with the Canadian Pacific Railway line just west of Lebreton Flats, and crosses the south channel of the river to Lemieux Island; it then continues across the northern channel into Quebec. It is a multi-span Pratt truss bridge, consisting of six equal spans over the south channel, and seven spans over the north channel; the second-last span, proceeding northward, is longer by a factor of about 1.7. It was built by the Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway in 1880, named for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. At that time, it was one of the few crossings of the Ottawa River, and was one of the most valuable assets of the line, which was owned by the Quebec provincial government. The QMO&O continued to lose money, however, and it was purchased by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in 1882, who connected it with their other recent purchase, the Canada Central Railway. This connection gave the CPR a solid rail route from their westward line being built from North Bay to the ports of the St. Lawrence. The Prince of Wales Bridge was joined by the CPR's Royal Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge in 1901, the second railway bridge to cross the river between Ottawa and Hull. The Prince of Wales Bridge served well into the 20th century, but as rail transport diminished and more efficient routes became more common, the line was abandoned. The City of Ottawa purchased the CPR line, including the Prince of Wales Bridge, during the early 2000s for the O-Train project, however, the bridge has remained unused and the track east of the Bayview Station to the bridge is overgrown. Interestingly, as the purchase of the bridge included the approaches on both sides, Ottawa now owns property in Quebec.

In 2005, the bridge was temporarily disconnected from the tracks just before its approach on the Ottawa side; this was done for a water line project being built along the Ottawa River Parkway as part of the Lebreton Flats revitalization. Trains of the Quebec Gatineau Railway have still used the Gatineau side as a spur, to manoeuvre into the E.B. Eddy/ Domtar plant on Lemieux Island. Despite opposition from City of Gatineau officials, transit advocates hope that the bridge can someday support a transit rail link to the Quebec side of the river, and connect Ottawa's O-Train system with the numerous Gatineau commuters who cross the river daily. Modifications would need to be made to allow such, as there is only enough room for a single track on the bridge; it would either need to be twinned, or a passing loop would need to be installed on Lemieux Island, or other similar upgrade(s) such as a four rail gauntlet track like the one still in use on the Bordeaux Railway Bridge between Montreal and Laval, in addition to the passing loop. The National Capital Commission (NCC) is seeking public interest in using the bridge as a pedestrian and cycling bridge. It is unclear whether the NCC will add a side-structure to the bridge for this function, as was done with the Alexandra Bridge, or whether the tracks would be removed for the pathway. The latter option is opposed by transit and cycling advocates alike.


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