There used to be three interprovincial rail links.
Ottawa streetcar Line H went across the Chaudière Bridge to Eddy Park.
Hull Electric Railway streetcars went across the Alexandra Bridge to Ottawa Union Station.
CN Rail CP Rail crossed at Alexandra Bridge & Prince of Wales Bridge.
UPDATE 2018-02-14: The Internet tells me that both Alexandra and Prince of Wales were CP Rail bridges. END UPDATE
Ottawa Electric Railway – Line H
Line H (Hull – St. Patrick) crossed the Chaudière Bridge to Eddy Park (the solid red line on the map below).
from Greber Plan Plate 14 Distribution of Street Cars and Buses 1948
Hull Electric Railway
Three rail lines crossed the Alexandra Bridge. The outer two tracks were for the Hull Electric Railway streetcars (one line for each direction). The centre track was for heavy rail,
I believe CN rail. The Internet tells me the heavy rail was CP Rail.
from Past Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge – Streetcars, Rails & Locks circa 1915 (image from Library & Archives Canada)
from Past Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge from the Nepean Point Footbridge 1938 (image from Library & Archives Canada)
from Greber Plan – Approaches of Interprovincial Bridge, Ottawa Side (circa 1948?)
You can sort-of see the rail lines heading up to the Alexandra Bridge (diagonally to the upper left) in this 1928 aerial image below from GeoOttawa, on which just for illustration purposes I have overlaid Confederation Line 1 underground rail and Rideau Station in yellow and red.
I was unable to find a map for the historical Gatineau streetcar (Hull Electric Railway) but there are photos available.
Above is Hull Electric Railway (HER) car No. 50 in a clear view of HER cars both inbound and outbound on the tracks to and from Alexandra Bridge, from TrainWeb Hull Electric Company.
Above is a view looking south of a Hull Electric Railway car inbound to Ottawa, image CSTM/MAT04642 from Canada Science & Technology Museum Picturing the Past – A Train Journey through the Ottawa Valley Using the Mattingly Image Collection.
The above postcard with colour applied almost certainly originating from this image below posted on Lost Ottawa February 19, 2013.
The Hull Electric Railway closed in 1947. The terminal was underneath Confederation Square, across from Ottawa Union Station.
Interprovincial heavy rail
Heavy rail crossed the Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau on the centre track, and returned to Ottawa over the Prince of Wales Bridge.
There were numerous stations on both sides of the river.
Below is an image of heavy rail crossing the Alexandra Bridge, from Urbsite – Those Museum Trees, The Digester Tower, and a Smokestack.
Image captioned “The Pontiac and Pacific Junction Railway Alexandra Bridge is the national capital region’s mightiest engineering landmark.”
Even after the Hull Electric Railway lines were removed in 1947, the heavy rail continued until 1966 when Ottawa Union Station was closed. You can see just the central rail tracks remaining in this cover image from Canadian Rail (Number 179, July-August 1966 Ottawa Union Station Closes).
Photograph by Jim Sandilands.
The Greber Plan Plate 12 Réseau Ferroviaire Existant Ottawa – Hull and Environs 1948 below gives a view of industrial Ottawa, with a mix of passenger and freight rail lines criss-crossing the capital region.
You can see the loop of a train going Ottawa – Alexandra Bridge – Hull – Prince of Wales Bridge – Bayview Station in the video A train ride from Union Station Ottawa to Bayview via Hull 1966. You can also see some photos of the various stations in Canada Science & Technology Museum Picturing the Past – A Train Journey through the Ottawa Valley Using the Mattingly Image Collection.
If you want to understand what the planners of 1949 thought about the trains, see this great video: A Capital Plan. “Today, into the very heart of the city, come the trains to the Union Station, but with them comes smoke and grime and noise.”
(see above image in more detail on Flickr)
They succeeded in eliminating most of the train lines, and wrapped the region with highways (often running on former rail rights-of-way). They imagined these highways as “capital arrivals, scenic entries and parkways”. (They are in practice commuter highways.)
Above was from draft Plan for Canada’s Capital 2017-2067 (PDF), page 103 “Capital Arrivals, Scenic Entries and Parkways” which in usual NCC fashion has disappeared from the web.
NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013
Since everything that goes around comes around, having eliminated all of the interprovincial rail, the NCC circa 2009-2013 tried to conjure up some ideas about bringing it back, as a light rail loop.
In usual NCC fashion, almost all of the documentation has vanished from the web, including the website
www interprovincial-transit-strategy ca
and the archive website
archives ncc-ccn ca/planning/transportation-strategies/interprovincial-transit-strategy
In fact the only thing remaining on the web is the summary hosted by Quebec’s STO – Connecting Communities: An Interprovincial Transit Strategy (PDF).
Some other sites have preserved the report: Action Sandy Hill has the full report in a Google Doc, and City Centre Coalition has all of the annexes/detailed reports as Google Docs.
I saved the presentation deck, and here is the key slide with their imaginary LRT loop. It’s hard to tell but it basically goes from Bayview Station across Prince of Wales Bridge, with the other side of the loop crossing Alexandra Bridge. If you want to see a larger diagram see my separate post NCC Interprovincial Transit Strategy 2013.
There was no money and no plan so the whole thing is moot.
It would be great if OC Transpo and STO would at least integrate at the level of payment, but right now all you can do with your OC Transpo Presto card is take STO if you have an OC Transpo transfer or monthly pass.
Ottawa LRT Stage 3 and Gatineau West-End Rail
The only thing likely to happen in terms of interprovincial rail is a resurrection of the Prince of Wales rail link, since all of the infrastructure is still there. This might happen in Ottawa LRT Stage 3 (which has a reasonable chance of being funded). It was also considered in the currently proposed but not funded Gatineau West-End Rail but now Gatineau is planning to run their tramway over Portage Bridge instead. To bring the different scenarios together in one place, I’ve written a post exploring The future of the Prince of Wales Bridge.