Freight Train to New Minas
Nova Scotia

Windsor & Hantsport Railway

Friday, 22 June 2007


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






Also see:
Train to New Minas, 15 June 2007
Train to New Minas, 27 June 2007
Last Train to Windsor Junction, 2 Nov. 2010


W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

New Minas, Friday, 22 June 2007   3:12pm

Seven empty grain hopper cars stand on the ACA Co-op siding at New Minas, waiting to be taken back to the CN interchange at Windsor Junction.  These cars were brought here in last Friday's train from Windsor.  The roadway puddles were formed during the intermittent thunderstorms, accompanied by heavy rain, that have drifted through the Annapolis Valley and central Nova Scotia today.

The two hopper cars, nearest to the camera, were unloaded where they stand, by placing several sheets of thin plywood on the track, under the cars, and letting the grain flow out onto the plywood, then to be retrieved by a labour-intensive process.  Some grain, spilled during the unloading, is visible on the roadway beside the cars.  One of the white plywood sheets, used for unloading these cars, is visible in the distance, standing on edge, leaning against the hopper car in the dumping shed.  Why were these two cars unloaded here, instead of being unloaded at the dumping shed where grain cars are usually unloaded?  The reason is the limited capacity, just five cars, of the track beyond the dumping shed.  For many years, ACA Co-op has been able to unload no more than five grain hoppers at one time.  As a cut of cars is moved westward (away from the camera) through the dumping shed, the cars are positioned one at a time over the auger.  To get the east car (nearest the camera) over the auger, the whole cut must be moved westward, pushing the far hopper further from the dumping shed and closer to the derail installed at the top of the steep grade down to the main line track.  To get a sixth car over the auger, the cut would have to be pushed further westward, and the far car would be derailed — obviously not a workable procedure.  In this photograph, the far hopper is at the top of the grade, within a couple of metres of the derail.  That's why the sixth and seventh hopper cars were unloaded where they stand.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   3:38pm

In the Windsor railyard, a switch engine is making up the train for New Minas.  The conductor, in his yellow safety vest, can be seen at the switch stand just beyond the rear car.

The train is on the old Midland Railway main line track that connected Truro through South Maitland and Kennetcook to Windsor.  The present-day remnant of this track, between Windsor and the gypsum mine at Mantua, carries about forty to fifty trains in an average week, half of them eastbound empty to the gypsum mine, and the other half loaded with gypsum westbound to Hantsport.  The other track is the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line track between Halifax and Yarmouth.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   3:41pm

A brief spot of sunlight illuminates the track; note that the rails are double-spiked on the inside but single-spiked on the outside.  This photograph was taken looking down from the Water Street overpass in Windsor at the old Dominion Atlantic Railway main line between Yarmouth and Halifax.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   3:42pm

Making up the train for New Minas.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:03pm

Making up the train for New Minas.  There was a half-hour time gap between this photograph and the next (below).  During this short interval, a brief but intense thunderstorm moved through, delivering about twenty minutes of heavy rain and lightning.  There were three lightning strikes within one kilometre of this location (the distance was measured by the usual method of a slow count between the flash and the sound, allowing three seconds for one kilometre).



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:32pm

Still throwing an occasional lightning stroke, the thunderstorm moves off eastward along the shore of Minas Basin.  While the switch engine waits off to the right, two road engines approach the train.  They have just delivered a loaded gypsum train to Hantsport, and will now take this train to New Minas.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:37pm

The train begins its trip.  The first six cars will go to New Minas, and the last four to Greenwich.  At the left, we see the old Nova Scotia Textiles Limited mill that manufactured textiles for nearly a century, now being renovated as retail space and condominiums, "now leasing".



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Windsor, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:38pm

The train moves forward past the Windsor station, through the switch onto the main line track across the Avon River Causeway.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Falmouth, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:42pm

At Falmouth we are able to see the whole train, nine loads of animal feed grain and a tank car of cooking oil – cargo worth about $190,000 all told.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Hantsport, Friday, 22 June 2007   4:57pm

The train passes through Hantsport without stopping.  Before the train's arrival here, the switch has been thrown to the main line by a W&HR employee who received this instruction by radio.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Avonport, Friday, 22 June 2007   5:32pm

The train crosses the tidal flood plain at Avonport, approaching the Gaspereau River bridge.  This is a long-distance view, shot at maximum zoom – in poor light because of the heavily overcast sky.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Horton Landing, Friday, 22 June 2007   5:35pm

The Wharf Road crossing at Horton Landing, mileage 44.85 of the Halifax Subdivision.  The light is poor because of the heavily overcast sky.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Wolfville, Friday, 22 June 2007   5:56pm

The Elm Avenue crossing at Wolfville, mileage 49.15 of the Halifax Subdivision.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:08pm

The Highway 358 crossing at Greenwich, mileage 50.91 of the Halifax Subdivision.  The conductor waits at the siding switch, as the train moves slowly forward onto the crossing.

Google map showing this location


W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:09pm

The train clears the switch.  Sunshine appears as the storm moves eastward.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:09pm

The train stops and holds the crossing, as the brakemen releases the foot-lock at the base of the rail.

A foot-lock is a device used by railways to hold two rails together at a switchpoint, to prevent trains from derailing.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:10pm

The brakemen removes the FRED.  It is not used during switching.

Railcars labelled with the reporting mark AGPX belong to a fleet of more than 3,000 railcars owned by Ag Processing Incorporated, a farmer-owned cooperative based in Omaha, Nebraska.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

New Minas, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:46pm

The engines are pulling the incoming loads westward (toward the camera) into the ACA Co-op siding at New Minas, with Steve Spicer driving.  These locomotives are leased from CEMR, the Central Manitoba Railway.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

New Minas, Friday, 22 June 2007   6:47pm

The engines are pushing the outgoing empties westward (away from the camera) along the ACA Co-op siding, toward the connection to the main line.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   7:52pm

In the lengthening shadows of approaching twilight, the eastbound train arrives at the Highway 358 crossing in Greenwich.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   7:52pm



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   7:52pm

Approaching Greenwich, the train has seven empties, six grain hoppers and a tank car, from New Minas, on their way back to the CN interchange at Windsor Junction.



W&HR: Train to New Minas, 22 June 2007

Greenwich, Friday, 22 June 2007   7:52pm

In this view (a detail from the photograph above) we cannot see the flashing red lights aimed at highway traffic, but we do have confirmation that they are working.

We can see, through cutouts or side light windows in the side of the lamp housings, the white light produced by each light bulb when it is lit.  These side light windows are supplied by the manufacturer for all crossing signals, so that the crew of an approaching train, who cannot see the flashing red lights aimed at the highway vehicles, can confirm that the warning lights are working as they approach a crossing.  Every railway's working rules include a requirement that each train crew, when approaching a highway crossing equipped with automatic warning signals, must check visually that the flashing lights are operating, and to report any signal that fails to display a light.



(More photographs are coming soon.)





Also see:
Train to New Minas, 15 June 2007
Train to New Minas, 27 June 2007
Last Train to Windsor Junction, 2 Nov. 2010




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First uploaded to the WWW:   2007 June 25
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