The history of the north-shore railways provides a case study in the complexities of industrial development in nineteenth-century Quebec. Constructed in the fifteen years following Confederation, the North Shore and the Montreal Colonization Railways reinforced Quebec's integration into a transcontinental unit. Yet bankruptcy of both companies in 1875 forced the provincial government to assume ownership of the railways and to shoulder a financial burden that kept the province preoccupied, weak, and subservient to Ottawa. Diverse political, clerical, and business interests united to construct the railways and to manoeuvre them from private companies into a public venture and ultimately into the Canadian Pacific system.The two railways brought new concentrations of capital and power that cut across French and English ethnic lines and sharpened regional rivalries. Along the south short of the St. Lawrence both French- and English-speaking inhabitants protested against the province's commitments to its north-shore railways. By the late 1870s Quebec City's English community was lobbying hard against the growing power of their English-speaking counterparts in Montreal. The north-shore railways plagued a generation of Quebec politicians, and their construction bared incompatible regional aspirations. By 1885 years of negotiation, scandal, and political blackmail culminated in the incorporation of the two north-shore railways into the Canadian Pacific system. As this study so clearly demonstrates, Quebec paid a high price in making its contribution to linking Canada by steel a mari usque ad mare.