Sunday, 12 February 2017

Railfan Report - The Halifax Trip

After clearing the crossing, a swarm of traffic races past CN 9639, shoving containers into the port.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Halifax with my sister. Though most of the time was spent wandering around the downtown area, and checking out whatever tourist shops (and pubs) were open, I did find some time to do some railfanning, though some of it was merely a result of being in the right place at the right time, with camera ready to go. Overall, the weather was cooperative - not really all that cold - and the people were extremely friendly, and the railfanning not bad to boot.

On the second day in town, I rode the ferry to Dartmouth, where CN maintains a small yard next to the Alderney ferry terminal. Primarily serving an auto terminal nearby, the yard mostly handles autoracks with cars to be loaded for import/export. The day I was there was clear and sunny, and I was lucky to catch CN 8843 & 5768 moving around the yard. I believe the 8843 had developed engine trouble as it wasn't running and had a few CN employees inspecting the open hood doors. CN 5768 then went on to do some switching further north.

CN 8843 and 5768 are dwarfed by the Angus L. MacDonald bridge in the background. 

On the third day in Halifax, I was able to catch two different yard movements (one, in not both, was L501 I believe) that were servicing the container terminal at the south end of the peninsula. The first job had GP38-2W #4772, in relatively new paint, and ex-GO Transit GP40-2W #9673 for power and they lifted 42 cars out of the container terminal (loaded containers from arriving container vessels) for movement westward. Later in the day, CN GP40-2W #9639 brought 38 loads down into the terminal. After leading the movement into the yard (the Young street bridge offers a terrific view of the port area), the locomotive ran around the cut of cars before shoving them onto an empty track on the dock. Shortly after CN 9637 arrived, VIA 15, the westbound Ocean departed at 13:00 with VIA 6452, 6437, and 6431. 

CN 9639 makes a runaround move past its' train before shoving it into the container terminal.

The view from Young Street overlooks the container terminal and much of the old docklands in south Halifax.

After getting hosed on the view I had initially planned when CN 9639 showed up with its' train, I had to settle for a slightly more telephoto shot than planned.

I was amazed to discover that Marginal road runs pretty much through the middle of the port terminal. At first I thought the road was strictly for truck traffic bringing containers into the port, but after observing many joggers running down the sidewalk (from the Young St. bridge), it dawned on me that it was open to the public. The road, complete with wide sidewalks) offers a rare and fascinating view of the inner workings of a modern port. Among the things I was able to observe were the Canada Steamship Lines vessel ATLANTIC HURON, a dock where CN was importing rail and loading it on 85' flatcars, a Parish & Heimbecker mill, and an X-ray scanner through which trucks bringing containers into the terminal had to drive. In all, for any student of modern industry, a walk down Marginal road fascinating way to spend a morning.

'Til next time,

CSL's Atlantic Huron was moored in Halifax during our stay in town. The pier just out of view to the right had several loaded CN rail flatcars waiting to be picked up. This view was from the sidewalk on Marginal road.

Looking about 180 from the previous photo, we can see the distinctive Young street bridge in the distance. The tracks in the foreground are used for empty well car storage.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a great visit to Halifax - a nice city to railfan in!