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Canadian Railroads > Halifax Ocean Terminals

Date: 01/12/20 11:35
Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: cn6218

Halifax Ocean Terminals (HOT) was a busy spot on February 22, 2001 as VIA 15 (6433) was departing, and 136 was pulling in on the south track (2620 trailing unit).  Underneath the Young Ave. bridge are 4721 and another GP38-2, likely with a transfer, while further back, barely visible under the left arch is a GP9, probably the assigned switcher for HOT.  The snow has covered up some recent track rationalization at the top of the yard, but piles of used ties accupy the space where there were once yard tracks.  Not long afterwards, operations were rationalized even more, with the yard crew using whatever power arrived on 148 each day.  While an efficient idea in theory, in practice the yard crew often had to wait hours for 148 to arrive before they could do any work.

Recent years have been a lot quieter, with HOT being serviced by one or another of the Rockingham Yard jobs during the day.  That may pick up in the future, with a plan to relay the south track in the cut, so local containers can be moved by rail and get trucks off crowded downtown streets.

This picture was taken from the Tower Rd. bridge.  Unfortunately, a new "utilities bridge" between the two road bridges has obsctructed the view here somewhat in the past few years.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/20 09:25 by cn6218.

Date: 01/12/20 13:12
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: Railbaron

I hope that engineer on the passenger train is paying attention - he's about to run through a mis-aligned switch!!!

Date: 01/12/20 14:04
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: dcfbalcoS1

            Impossible to tell if the passenger train is moving. Do not know if this is a spring switch either. Since the next switch is lined to the right, I suspect the train is not moving.

Date: 01/12/20 14:14
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: Railroad39

This is not a spring switch.
It's a semi-automatic switch.
Even though the points are against the VIA, 
it can proceed over the switch and it will force the points over.

Date: 01/12/20 15:01
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: cn6218

The CROR calls them "semi-automatic" switches.  The crews call them "run-through" switches.  In the above photo, they might be waiting for 136 to clear before going out on the south track.  Because this is all within yard limits, there is no requirement for both switches of a crossover to be thrown the same way.

But although CN went to the trouble of installing them at HOT and Rockingham on many of the tracks, they didn't think it was worthwhile to maintain them after a few years, so now there's a special order in effect for the yards in Halifax saying that they must be thrown for the direction of travel before running through them.  

That's what caused the VIA derailment that toasted some Renaissance coaches a year ago in November.  A VIA supervisor was riding the rear end as the Ocean was being turned.  They backed down the south track and through a crossover onto the north.  After this I'm reading between the lines, but I suspect what happened is the supervisor (based in Montreal) didn't get the memo, and assumed the switch would work as a semi-automatic.  When they pulled forward again to head towards the pier (ladder track to the right), the first coach tried to go down the north track.  Things got really ugly as the head end of the train moved farther over on the ladder.


Date: 01/12/20 15:37
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: Railbaron

On the SP they were called "variable" switches and they sure saved a lot of work. UP came along and didn't want to maintain them so they put a notice out they had to be thrown by hand.

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Date: 01/13/20 12:47
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: SD45X

Racor "safety switch". Cast into the body. We called them "floppers". Same, didn't want to maintain them. Stop and go all the time in the yard. Had to move one engine length over them before changing direction to ensure they lined all the way over. The bodies were painted yellow so you knew which ones flopped:)

Date: 01/13/20 18:58
Re: Halifax Ocean Terminals
Author: 3rdswitch

Yes, looks like two switches need to be lined unless the VIA is going to cross over? Santa Fe in Los Angeles also referred to them as variable switches and they too are no longer allowed to be run through as of a few decades ago. All new switch installations in the Los Angeles area are rigid switch replacements, also no run through. Love the shot with all the action.

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