Much faster by train than by steamboat
From the beginning of the 19th century, steamboats linked Pontiac to the rest of the country. However, they were expensive and no match for the new technology: trains. Around 1866 the railway reached the Ontario side of the river across from Bristol. To travel by train, Pontiac residents had to take the Bristol Ferry to the Sand Point station. Still, despite the ferry crossing, the trip was much faster by train than by steamboat.
But Pontiac wanted its own railway, a direct and faster link to Ottawa and Pembroke for passenger and freight transport.