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Date: 09/11/20 07:28
The Halifax Loop
Author: cn6218

The loop around the Halterm (now PSA) container pier in Halifax was originally built to load container trains.  The theory being that boxes could be taken off a ship, and loaded right onto the train for faster service to their destinations.  Unfortunately the "unit train" concept didn't work out for containers, and it was quickly discovered that not all the containers were going to the same place (or on the same ship, if they were arriving by rail), the loop was hardly ever used for its intended purpose.

However VIA discovered that it was a much faster way to turn a whole train that spinning each car one at a time on the turntable that used to be next to the Halifax station, and the normal practice was for the Ocean (and Atlantic, when it ran to Halifax) to be turned on the loop once all the passengers had disembarked.  I managed to photograph that operation numerous times over the years, but here are three different views, the first two from August 10, 2004, and the third from July 22, 2005.  The pier would provide a pilot vehicle while the train was inside the fence. 

In the first image, taken from the Young Ave. viaduct, the Ocean has just started around the loop, taking a jog to the left where the four spur tracks for loading containers branch off to the right.  The end of the loop can be seen just to the right of the third car from the end of the train.

I then moved over to the east side of the pier, at the end of Ogilvie St. to get the same train returning to the yard again.  Any time I saw a train on the loop, they went around clockwise, although I don't think there was any reason they couldn't have gone the other way.

In the final frame, from my last roll of Kodachrome, the train is threading the narrow right of way in front of trucks waiting to drop off containers in the yard.  This view was taken from across the cut, at the end of McLean St.

VIA wasn't the only user.  CN would also turn the TEST train on the loop when it made its visits to Halifax.  But because 6-axle locomotives were prohibited from the loop, sometimes a yard engine would haul the train, and the locomotive would have to be turned at Fairview where there still is a working turntable.  The loop was scheduled to be taken out of service in November due to an expansion at the pier.  I'm not sure if the TEST train that was here last week used it, or the GP38-2 and 2 cars were turned at Fairview.  Of course the Ocean hasn't been running since March, so when it does eventually return, VIA will have to come up with a different plan to change the direction of the train.

GTD








Date: 09/11/20 07:31
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: cn6218

Here's a link to a map of the pier, showing rail lines and roads.  The yard tracks have changed somewhat since my pictures were taken.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@44.6283822,-63.5682151,17z?hl=en-GB

GTD



Date: 09/11/20 07:58
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: 55002

A fascinating operation. Thanks for the photos. chris uk.



Date: 09/11/20 09:00
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: refarkas

What a fascinating operation!
Bob



Date: 09/11/20 09:26
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: ghCBNS

cn6218 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...........................................VIA will have
> to come up with a different plan to change the
> direction of the train.

And I think they've already come up with a different plan but the exact consist remains to speculation. Hopefully by November!

Here's quotes from a VIA Press Release:

”The solution involves using a 'hybrid' train that includes locomotives equipped with features allowing for back-to-back operations, so the trains don't need to turn around” ”Passenger cars used will have seats that can turn to align with the direction of travel to “ensure optimal comfort for passengers”
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/20 09:38 by ghCBNS.



Date: 09/13/20 19:29
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: P

That is very interesting.



Date: 09/14/20 16:28
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: ns1000

My favorite is Pic 2!!



Date: 09/17/20 21:04
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: phlone

Does VIA use a yard crew to turn the train on the loop?   If so, why not use that crew to pull the westbound train backwards to Windsor Jct. with a yard engine, wye it there and it can just leave headed in the right direction? 



Date: 09/18/20 05:05
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: ghCBNS

phlone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does VIA use a yard crew to turn the train on the
> loop?   If so, why not use that crew to pull the
> westbound train backwards to Windsor Jct.

Wye there is no longer in use.....and besides, see my post above....VIA has already determined the make-up of the train when it returns will be bi-directional.



Date: 09/18/20 15:47
Re: The Halifax Loop
Author: phlone

Thanks for the info the the Windsor Jct. Wye is longer in service   .   A bidirectional Ocean will necessarily no longer have a Park car, so  the train will be much less attactive to many to ever ride again. Seems to me some rehab work at Windsor Jct. might have saved the day instead of downgrading the service. 
    
ACF



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