The impressively-titled E&NA was built from Saint John to Point du Chene, New Brunswick. It was originally built on the broad gauge (5' 6").
The original 16.8 miles between Shediac and Moncton was opened to the public on August 20, 1857. While the line from Shediac to Moncton was the first eastern section opened, the line extended about 2 miles further to Point du Chene and its wharf. Originally the line was planned to extend from Cape Brule about another 2 miles east of Point du Chene to Saint John. However, the open exposure of Cape Brule and its poorer harbour resulted in the selection of Point du Chene. In the early days Shediac was site of the railway's first shops and headquarters. Following the establishment of the Intercolonial Railway, the Shediac shops were relocated to Moncton in the early 1870s. November 11, 1872 saw the European and North American's broad gauge changed to 4'-8 1/2".
The Portland (Maine) Convention of July 31, 1850 was a major influence towards the construction of the European and North American Railway. Simply put, the goal of the 1850 convention was to push for the extension of the New England railroad network through Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to an ice free harbour as near as possible to Europe. Competition between Saint John and St. Andrews, also helped the European and North American Railway's cause, since a harbour on Northumberland Strait not only extended Saint John's market area along the European and North American Railway, but provided a shorter and easier route by water to the Saint Lawrence River. Also it supplied a portage route especial for such things as coal from Cape Breton, thus avoiding the lengthy trip around the southern tip of Nova Scotia.
However, like so many other locations, technological changes made Point du Chene redundant. Pressures from the coastal summer resorts and highways expansion to serve them saw the gradual shortening of the European and North American from its original 11.58 miles between Painsec Junction and Point du Chene. In the early 1970s it terminated at Shediac, 9.7 miles from Painsec Junction. By 1980 it was further reduced to a 5.4 mile line ending at Scoudouc. Today, 101.8 miles of the European and North American Railway from Scoudouc to its original western terminal - Saint John - is still operated as CN's Sussex Subdivision.
The section between Hampton and Saint John was opened in 1859.
The E&NA hosted the Prince of Wales in 1860.
In their 1868 report, the E&NA listed 12 engines (excluding the St. John and the Sussex, which were sold to the St. Stephen Branch Railway and the Woodstock Branch Railway respectively), all 4-4-0s with the exception of the Kennebecasis, which was an 0-4-0 engine. They had a total of 22 passenger, express, mail and baggage cars, 63 box cars, 115 flatcars, 40 ballast cars, 4 snow plows and 19 hand cars. See tables from the report.
In 1877 the St. Martins and Upham Railway was built between Hampton and St. Martins.
It eventually became part of the Intercolonial Railway.