This was the first of the two marine railways to be constructed in the 1860s to complete the Shubenacadie Canal and was the first of its kind in British North America. It was based on similar systems that were in use on the Morris Canal in New Jersey. It replaced two locks and transferred vessels over a distance of approximately 600 feet, while it lowered and raised vessels approximately 33 feet. It was operated by lock keeper Henry Findlay, who was responsible for the section of the canal between Halifax Harbour and Lake William. The actual location of the turbine chamber for this marine railway is still a mystery!