|ID||Mile||Kilometers||lift||length||Sill Depth||Preferred side|
When you are called by the lock staff proceed forward to the position indicated. Your location is on your boat, smaller boat often just hang on to a wall, while larger boat use a quick release line around an upright. lock staff will tighten the slings taking up the slack from under your boat and keeping you upright. Then the car rises from the water quickly and with the exception of watching the tourists watching you it ride time.
There are good sized waiting areas for boats awaiting transit on the railway. Both railways have "blue Line " walls as well as two other floating docks. The public docks are marked with a P while the blue lines are found along the east wall south of S100.and the down stream blue line is again of the east side stretching from S96 to the base of the stairway.
Big Chute Marine Railway is located at mile 232.5 of the waterway with a overall lift of 58'. The first waterway railway at this location was built in 1917 to save money. Unfortunately the original version could only deal with a single vessel at a time, which created a terrible back-up on busy weekends. There are in fact two railway's here however they pretty much only use the one except during maintenance.
The current carriage is 80' long with a capacity of 18 tons and can carry a hold dozen smaller boats in one trip.The design of the railway is intriguing. This carriage rides on 4 parallel rails, aligned in a manner that the bed of the carriage horizontal. The design is such that the carriage reaches the water at either end it will present a slight downward angle allowing boats to dock. The entire unit is powered by 4 electric motors driving 4 cables.
The new railway was opened in 1978 with a capacity of 90 tons and 100' long and 24' wide, able to accommodate up to 6' draft.
The correct manner in which to use the railway follow. First you will probably have to tie up as there is a fair current and it is busy. Proceed to the blue line upon your arrival. Trust in the parks employees who are good at the job of getting you on and off. There is no official cue so it is up to you to determine who is next. Just because you came before another boat it does not mean that an employee may not call another boat before you, as they have the carriage loading to worry about.
The parks Canada Building beside the railway houses and historic exhibit covering the history of Big Chute. The display area is operated by Friends of the Trent Severn Waterway who also have a web site on this waterway. you might like to visit as it covers some of the more traditional non boating attractions. For your convince a new window will open if you wish to check them out.
Facilities here are focused on the tourist as this is a big attraction. There is usually a snack wagon vendor in the parking lot but no on site restaurant. There is an extensive nature trail with interpretive plagues and windows to the inner workings of the equipment. This is a great bit of exercise as it does involve a fair bit of walking and climbing. However for your kids seeing what the actual equipment looks like will help a lot when they get into science.
You can stay overnight either above or below the railway, with considerably more on the top side using the two long docks marked with a P an average of 20 boats can tie up. Below the railway space is limited to perhaps 10 boats. In all cases even if you use the floating tie up someone will be along to check on your passes. There are no facilities other than washrooms which are in the observation building.
The only source of supplies is Big Chute Marina (705) 756 2641. The marina is found on the west shore several hundred yards down stream of the railway facilities. The have space for 20 transient boats with space for large vessels to 50' along the outside of the dock, draft is not a problem with a good 15 feet of depth dockside.
This is a well stocked store which has most of what you may need from groceries to parts or a chart. The marina does repairs and can deal with power boats using a hydraulic trailer. Not surprisingly they can do both propeller and hull repairs. There is a patio style has a wide and varied menu with reputedly a prime burger & beer.