The Napanee, Tamworth and Quebec Railway was launched in 1879 to connect the Bay of Quinte to the Ottawa valley. Developed in stages by several railway companies, the line reached Ottawa in 1913. The last Canadian National Railways train ran in 1979 and in 1997 Canadian National Railways donated most of the rail bed to the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority

The thriving railway was a lifeline connecting mining, farming and logging communities  between Napanee and Smith Falls a century ago. Today the railway turned trail links history and nature.

Portland had a station [now dismantled] at the end of station road and it was an important transportation link for the towns products and for tourists coming to the Big Rideau Lake.

The Cataraqui Trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail, a nationwide network of trails that cross Canada. It is 104 kilometres long and is lined with history: hamlets, villages, active and abandoned farms, old mills, regenerating forests, historic bridges, forgotten mines and the Rideau Canal. . On sections which are privately owned the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority has an agreement with the landowners to use the former rail line as a trail.

[Information quoted from 2009 Cataraqui Trails pamphlet prepared by the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority]

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