In the later half of the nineteenth century, the effect of the expansion of railways on the early development of urban centres such as Kingston was dramatic. The steam locomotive loomed large in the growing city, and the railroad became a central feature of the city landscape. The number four engine of the Kingston and Pembroke Railway, seen here in the downtown (with the original firehall tower in the background) was one of those that plied the 100 mile track in the six and a half hour journey to Pembroke. Fondly known as the “Kick and Push”, the railway flourished from 1871 right through to 1957. Aside from grants and guaranteed interest from all levels of government, a large part of the initial financing of the railway came from the investments of prominent families from both Kingston and Watertown. Buffeted by the recessions of 1873 and 1890, the railroad was never a great financial success in itself, but contributed peripherally to the expansion of engineering industries, hotels and businesses not only in Kingston but right up the line! It could be said that the old “Kick and Push” played its small part as one of the post-Confederation “Bonds of Steel” tying the young country together.
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