Freight Train to New Minas
Nova Scotia

Windsor & Hantsport Railway

Friday, 15 June 2007


On 17 August 2007, the last train operated over the track between Hantsport and New Minas.






Also see:
Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007
Train to New Minas, 27 June 2007
Last Train to Windsor Junction, 2 Nov. 2010


W&HR: Train to New Minas

Windsor, Thursday, 14 June 2007   6:29pm

A train of empty gypsum hoppers from Hantsport comes across the Avon River Causeway toward Windsor, switching from the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line to the old Midland Railway track to go to Mantua to be loaded with gypsum.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Windsor, Thursday, 14 June 2007   6:33pm

The train of empty gypsum hoppers, eastbound on the old Midland Railway main line, passes seventeen loaded cars standing on the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line.  These cars, fifteen loads of grain and two tank cars of cooking oil, have just arrived from Windsor Junction.  Thirteen of these will be taken westward tomorrow morning, to Greenwich and New Minas.

This week, the price of feed grain in Alberta is about $170 per ton.  Each of these loaded grain cars carries eighty tons — each carload cost about $13,000 to $14,000, plus the freight charge.  There is about $200,000 worth of grain here (plus the freight from the Prairies).  Including the two tank cars filled with food-grade cooking oil, this string of seventeen cars is carrying cargo worth a third of a million dollars, all destined for food producers in Kings County.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Thursday, 14 June 2007   7:54pm

Four empty grain cars on the ACA Co-op siding at New Minas, waiting to be returned to CN at Windsor Junction.  The rails in the foreground are the old Dominion Atlantic Railway Yarmouth - Halifax main line track.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Windsor, Friday, 15 June 2007   8:13am

A train of twelve loads of animal feed grain and a tank car of cooking oil departs Windsor, heading westward across the Avon River Causeway.  The five loads of grain following the tank car are destined for Greenwich.  The other eight cars are going to New Minas.  Before departing Windsor, the train crew has switched the cars in this train, so that the cars destined for Greenwich are together at the end of the train – this minimizes the time needed for setting these cars out at Greenwich and thus minimizes the time the highway crossing at Greenwich will be blocked.  At the rear of the train is the highly-visible FRED – the modern end-of-train marker (that replaced the venerable caboose in the 1990s) attached on the rear coupler of a train to monitor air pressure in the brake line.

Go to:   FRED, Flashing rear-end device
Go to:   FRED (Flashing rear-end device)



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Falmouth, Friday, 15 June 2007   8:18am

At Falmouth we are able to see the whole train, except the last car.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Hantsport, Friday, 15 June 2007   8:35am

The train stops in Hantsport, to align the track switch to the main line.  This switch is usually set for the siding, so that incoming loaded gypsum trains, heading into the siding, are not forced to stop to realign the switch.  The sign marking mileage 38 of the Halifax Subdivision is visible in the background; this is located 38.00 miles [61.14km] from the switch at Windsor Junction that connects the W&HR track to CN.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Hantsport, Friday, 15 June 2007   8:36am

The train heads westward, past the Hantsport station.  These locomotives are leased from CEMR, the Central Manitoba Railway.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Avonport, Friday, 15 June 2007   9:13am

The Bluff Road crossing signal at Avonport, mileage 42.81 [68.88km] of the Halifax Subdivision, is flashing to warn of the approaching train.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Avonport, Friday, 15 June 2007   9:14am

Bluff Road crossing at Avonport.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Wolfville, Friday, 15 June 2007   9:31am

New electric crossing signals at the Harbourside Drive crossing in Wolfville, mileage 48.95 [78.76km] of the Halifax Subdivision.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Wolfville, Friday, 15 June 2007   9:56am

Harbourside Drive crossing in Wolfville.  The pile of old ties are leftovers from the work on installation of the new electric warning signals at this crossing.  Beside the pile of old ties we can see old long ties, still in place under the track, that once supported a track switch here for the passing siding at the Wolfville station.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Wolfville, Friday, 15 June 2007   9:56am

The train approaches the old Wolfville Railway Station, now the Wolfville Public Library.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Greenwich, Friday, 15 June 2007   10:10am

Highway 358 crossing at Greenwich (Port Williams), mileage 50.91 [81.91km] on the Halifax Subdivision.  At last, we have sunshine.  The conductor is standing at the siding switch, located close to the highway – the train has to block the crossing while cars are set out here.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Greenwich, Friday, 15 June 2007   10:12am

The train stops and holds the crossing, while the switch is thrown to the siding.

Motorists waiting on the highway sometimes complain that, while the switch is being thrown, the train should pull forward a short distance – ten metres [30 feet] would be enough – and clear the crossing to allow the queued automobiles to proceed.  There is a compelling legal reason, based on the technology of electric crossing signal circuits, that this cannot and must not be done.  The train would have to move forward far enough to open the track circuit at the crossing, to cancel the flashing warning signal (otherwise motorists could not cross).  The problem is that, once the warning signal has been cancelled, it would not reactivate when the train backed onto the crossing to work the siding.  That is, when the train reoccupied the crossing, there would be no flashing signal to warn motorists.  This would be very dangerous.  If a motorist should somehow collide with the train, when the warning signal was not operating, the railway's legal position would be indefensible.  Once the warning signal has been cancelled, the train would have to move forward several hundred metres, beyond the approach circuit, to clear the signal circuits and reset the warning signal relays for normal operation.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Greenwich, Friday, 15 June 2007   10:20am

Highway 358 crossing at Greenwich.  Pushing back into the Greenwich siding.

The long building beyond the track, a warehouse full of furniture and agricultural equipment, burned in a spectacular fire on October 19th, four months after this photograph was taken.  The warehouse and all its contents, estimated to be worth well over a million dollars, were a total loss.  Many years ago, this building was served by a railway siding – the switch connection to the main line track was removed long ago, but the siding track along the near side of the warehouse was taken up only four or five years ago.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Greenwich, Friday, 15 June 2007   10:26am

On Highway 358 at Greenwich, a line of vehicles waits for the train to clear the crossing.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   10:38am

At the 3-track Minas Warehouse Road crossing, on the siding servicing ACA Co-op (ACA Cooperative Limited).  The train stopped here briefly while the last car, a tank car of cooking oil, was uncoupled and parked at the east end of the siding.


Minas Warehouse Road sign, New Minas, Nova Scotia


W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   11:04am

Pushing the outgoing empties ahead and pulling the incoming loads behind, the engines move westward (away from the camera at the Minas Warehouse Road crossing) through the ACA Co-op siding.  There was some delay here, apparently because the empties were not adequately prepared (all top hatches and bottom gates closed, etc.) to be taken away.

From Greenwich to New Minas, the FRED was attached to the rear coupler of the tank car.  When the tank car was uncoupled here in New Minas, the FRED was removed and laid on the ground beside the tank car.  After the tank car has been set out on the Frito-Lay spur, the FRED will be attached to the rear coupler of the eastbound train.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   11:11am

Leaving the seven loads of grain on the siding, the engines move forward, down a steep grade to the main line, pushing ahead the outgoing cars, one empty tank car and five empty grain hoppers.  When they are on the main line (out of sight) the locomotives are reversed and the train is ready to return eastward to Windsor.  They will come back along the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line between Halifax and Yarmouth (the curved track seen at the right foreground).



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   11:15am

The train is now moving eastbound on the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line between Halifax and Yarmouth, at the 3-track Minas Warehouse Road crossing in New Minas, mileage 52.50 [84.47km] on the Halifax Subdivision.  The train crew has one more chore to perform here, delivering the incoming tank car of cooking oil, that has just arrived from Windsor, to the Frito-Lay spur.  This tank car, the last car on the train incoming to New Minas, was uncoupled on arrival here and parked at the east end of the ACA Co-op siding.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   11:16am

The eastbouund train approaches the switch at the east end of the ACA Co-op siding, where the incoming tank car of cooking oil waits.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Friday, 15 June 2007   11:23am

The incoming tank car of cooking oil is pushed across the Minas Warehouse Road crossing into the Frito-Lay spur.  Once this tank car is placed, the train will pick up the outgoing empties at Greenwich, and then return to Windsor.

This tank car contains food-grade sunflower oil.  The price of sunflower oil in bulk quantities is difficult to find (unless you are an industry insider) but the price of sunflower oil tends to track the price of canola oil, usually with sunflower oil priced at small premium, and the price of canola oil in bulk quantities is publicly available from reliable sources.  This week, food-grade canola oil is priced at about $810 per tonne.  Assuming that this sunflower oil cost slightly more, the oil in this tank car is worth about $70,000.  (The price of cooking oil has increased considerably lately, because of the recent focus on biofuels as a replacement for imported petroleum.)





Epilogue



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Greenwich, Sunday, 17 June 2007   5:58pm

Four grain hopper cars stand on the siding at Greenwich (Port Williams).  They came here, loaded with animal feed grain, in last Friday's train from Windsor, and will return empty to Windsor next Friday.  As the westbound train departed Windsor on Friday, these four grain hoppers were the four cars following the tank car (see the Falmouth photograph above).  The last car on that train (the fifth car following the tank car) was a grain hopper that also was set out here at Greenwich – it is on the spur (not visible in this view).  The track in the foreground is the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line between Halifax and Yarmouth.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Tuesday, 19 June 2007   6:44pm

Seven grain hopper cars stand on the ACA Co-op siding at New Minas.  They came here in last Friday's train from Windsor, and will return empty to Windsor next Friday.  There are five cars in the cut at the dumping shed, but only four can be seen in this view because the nearest one is hidden in the shed shadow.


W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Tuesday, 19 June 2007   6:44pm

This detail view has been digitally enhanced to show all five hopper cars in this cut, including the hard-to-see car in the shed shadow.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

Windsor, Wednesday, 20 June 2007   7:56am

Still standing in the Windsor yard, this is the train that came from New Minas last Friday afternoon, five days ago.  These eight cars, all empty, will to go to the CN interchange at Windsor Junction tomorrow (Thursday).  The tank car and the next five grain hoppers came from New Minas, and the last two grain hoppers came from Greenwich.



W&HR: Train to New Minas

New Minas, Sunday, 17 June 2007

Here we see nine new ties that were put in place at New Minas barely three months before the end of operation of this railway track.  Many more ties under this track were replaced at the same time.  This is the old Dominion Atlantic Railway's main line between Halifax and Yarmouth.  The track seen near the top of this photograph is the spur used to deliver tank cars of cooking oil to the Frito-Lay plant.

Why the railway company spent this money on new ties for a track so close to the end of operation is a puzzlement.


Also see:
Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007
Train to New Minas, 27 June 2007
Last Train to Windsor Junction, 2 Nov. 2010




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