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Canadian Railroads > Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?

Date: 01/07/19 07:48
Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: nydepot

I see from reading parts/all of the line were embargoed and then some part reverted to CN which put it up for sale. What is the current satatus of the line? Are the gypsum companies still mining? Thanks.

Date: 01/07/19 08:17
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: ghCBNS

Just last week the province has agreed to repair a large section of washed-out aboiteau that once carried the railway into Hantsport. Scroll down here for a photo of the tracks suspended in mid-air:


But other than that section.....track is still in place along with some of the unit-train gypsum cars stored on sidings in the Hantsport yard.

Date: 01/07/19 08:52
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: Parkcar

Interesting to read about this apparent purpose-built railway, after visiting both Windsor and Hantsport last summer and seeing all the equipment being overrun by Mother Nature. We were surprised to see all the hoppers marooned in Hantsport, along with a few old CPR boxcars. A couple pics from Windsor.  No indication of where the locomotives are but speculate they may be stored elsewhere.
Okotoks Alberta

Date: 01/07/19 08:53
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: hoggerdoug

two images at Hantsport showing the old station as well as some of the cars stranded there including some old boxcars. The caboose is at Windsor. My tour guide that day, August 2014 indicated that there had been a section of rail removed basically stranding the equipment at Hantsport.

Date: 01/07/19 09:40
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: Lackawanna484

One locomotive owned by the Gypsum company was at the load out back in 2010.  There may have been a second unit there, too.

Date: 01/07/19 10:15
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: ghCBNS

That caboose in service back in happier times on the Evangeline Express excursion trains in 1998. And back in 1981...the VIA RDC from Halifax to Yarmouth at Windsor.

Date: 01/07/19 11:14
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: eminence_grise

The boxcar is an "auto box", showing its end doors and double side doors.  Prior to the advent of auto-racks, these boxcars were used to ship automobiles in. They were usefull for loading other commodities, and had a service life long after they ceased to be used for cars. Often, the end doors had been modified or welded shut.

Date: 01/07/19 17:39
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: blunozer2000

The railway is essentially derelict, getting more overgrown every year. It was, of course, part of the Dominion Atlantic railway, running from near Halifax, NS (with trackage rights over CN into the city) to the southern tip of the province at Yarmouth. The DAR was a subsidiary of CPR until it was sold off as an independent short line. It ran along the Bay of Fundy shore, as opposed to the CN which ran along the Atlantic ocean shore from Halifax to Yarmouth.Many years ago, I did a circular trip Halifax to Yarmouth by CN mixed train, then by DAR/CPR RDC back to Halifax. 

When the gypsum mines closed down, that ended the reason for the railway as other traffic was sparse.

Date: 01/07/19 19:05
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: Parkcar

It was interesting and a pleasant surprise to see on that double-door boxcar, that the very old 'Spans the World' with the globe etc showed prominently through a newer paint-job.  For some idiotic reason, I took the Hantsport photos on my phone and now they are not available.  I wonder if CP just wrote off those boxcars, or mayb they're still searching for them! ;-)

Date: 01/07/19 19:14
Re: Current Status - Windsor and Hantsport Railway?
Author: cn6218

As much as I hate to say it, I think it's time they stuck a fork in the Windsor & Hantsport.  It's done!

The railway can't be faulted for the US housing crisis in 2008 that ultimately lead to the closure of the mines and the railway ceasing operations, but they let the infrastructure fall apart so badly that they had to turn away the feed grain business that once helped the bottom line.  Fundy Gypsum has recently decided not to reopen the mines, and although there are rumours of other operators taking over, it's a very long shot.  There are at least two other gypsum mines in Nova Scotia shut down right now, and the big National Gypsum mine at Milford still isn't producing as much gypsum as it did before everything fell apart.

On a corporate level the company has been acting in bad faith regarding a failed aboiteau (basically a tidal check valve) in the dyke at Hantsport.  It has failed, and the tide is now flooding farmland and threatening a road bridge and homes with tidal erosion.  The WHRC claims it's not their problem, since the dyke was there before the railway, yet when it had to be repaired in the '70s, the DAR did the work.  Normally the dykes would be maintained by the province, but this one is technically private property.  It's a similar situation to what the people in Churchill just went through, held hostage by the railway.  Meanwhile, the WHRC collects rent and right of way fees from utilities that cross it, even though it will likely never operate again.  That was probably the motivation for trying to get the Windsor Jct./Windsor segment back from CN (the 99 year lease from the Nova Scotia Rwy to the DAR ran out in 2013, CN is the successor to the NS Rwy. and ICR).  They said they wanted to buy it, but then complained about the cost.  The arbitrated value was lowered to $3 million (for 32 miles of track and RoW), but as far as I know, they still haven't actually bought it.  A better investment would be for the Province to buy it, with the hope that some day there will be a commuter rail line between Windsor and Halifax.  There's more chance of that than the WHRC ever hauling gypsum again.  The line was actually constructed with public money back in the 1850s (and then given to the ICR), but I'm not sure anybody in government has enough vision to maintain that right of way.

The Province is in the process of twinning the 101 Highway through Windsor (it's already been done on either side).  With the railway still there, a new overpass will need to be built, and more of the Avon River will need to be filled in to widen the causeway.  When the causeway was built in 1970, the DAR was able to abandon a bridge across the river, but they balked at contributing to the cost of the causeway.  I'd love to know if they did actually pay anything in the end.  It could be that the WHRC hasn't got much of a claim to that RoW anyway.

Anyhow, from better days in 2005, when we thought it would go on forever, here's the gypsum train hauling through Falmouth with another 20 loads for Hantsport.  At least it can be a contribution for MLW Monday.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/07/19 19:17 by cn6218.

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