The Eastern Division of the Pennsylvania Canal was part of the 395 mile long Main Line of Public Works. The Eastern Division of the canal opened in 1833 and ran 43 miles of the Susquehanna River from Columbia, where the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad initiated to the mouth of the Juniata River near Duncannon. The completed canal system cost millions and required an enormous labor force, many of who were Irish immigrants recruited through newspaper ads placed in Ireland. Requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, the canals were never profitable and could not operate during frozen winter months. They were soon eclipsed by the swiftly growing railroad industry.