Issues on Trent Severn Waterway at Lock 44 - Big Chute Marine Railway

csunstrum - June 4, 2018

Parks Canada is currently experiencing some problems with the operaton of the marine railway at Big Chute, lock 44 of the Trent Severn Waterway (TSW) resulting in delays or denial of passage for some vessels. They report that shaking of the carriage during transit of some boats has caused concern and for the time being boats are only being portaged through on a case-by-case basis based on size and configuration until the issue is resolved.  Parks Canada encourages any boaters wishing to make passage to contact the lock station by telephone at 705 756 8802. Note that you may get a busy signal if you call during busier times at the lock; there is no recourse but to keep trying. General status updates are being provided on Twitter at TSW Boater Info@TSWBoaterInfo. Parks Canada officials advise that outside experts have been engaged to investigate and address the problem. They are confident that the issue will be resolved well in advance of the time GLCC members plan to travel through the TSW from the GLCC Lake Ontario Rally (Trenton June 22-24, 2018) on the way to the GLCC Rendezvous (Killarmey July 14-19, 2018).


esunstrum's picture

Update from Parks Canada June 16 - Lock 44 Big Chute is fully operational and has resumed normal operations!

esunstrum's picture

Please be advised that Big Chute Marine Railway will be closed all day Friday, June 15, 2018 for maintenance. Apologies for any inconvenience this shut down causes. Our maintenance team is working diligently to ensure a return to normal operations as soon as possible.

esunstrum's picture

Thanks for the update John
This could really throw a wrench into a lot of summer plans. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a good outcome.

John Holmes's picture

I talked to Gord at Big Chute Lock today. The problem is the rail car shakes significantly. He said they have had the manufacture look at the problem twice and no one has been able to define the problem with certainty. They are going to change one of the main drive cables today (6/12/18) and one tomorrow. If that does not fix the problem they will replace the two remaining drive cables next week. If all of that does not resolve the problem they will have to evaluate next steps. Worse case, which they are trying to avoid, would be they would suspend operation until the root cause of the problem is identified and a solution is implemented.

Voyageur's picture

We are in Poer Severn and heading east. We contacted the lock this afternoon(June 5) and were told the lock was being serviced and only boats heading east had been transported. The lock was closed this afternoon with no indication when we might pass. We are going to go to the lock tomorrow morning and wait. We may be turned back. I will try to provide an update tomorrow.

dspencer's picture

I transitted Big Chute marine railway (Lock 44) on May 28 as I was helping a friend move his boat from Belleville to Georgian Bay. We were delayed approx an hour but they got us across using what they called "degraded mode" where the railcar ran much more slowly than usual. The problem is apparently electrical. Some minor shuddering was evident but nothing to worry about. They have been working on it for a week now so hopefully a permanent solution is close at hand. The boat I was on was a Cruiser 455 power yacht weighing approx 40,000 lbs.