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Canadian Railroads > Working the Cement Spur

Date: 11/21/21 10:01
Working the Cement Spur
Author: cn6218

The Canada Cement or LaFarge Spur runs from mile 56 of the Bedford Sub, in Brookfield, NS, to a cement plant near Shortts Lake, south of the main line.  It is still laid with 85 lb. rail, so is restricted to 4-axle power, and is usually serviced by local 515 out of Truro.  On September 6, 2009, GP38-2 4713, in freshly painted stripes (long after that scheme was superseded), was entering the spur from the main line with some covered hoppers for cement, and some open hoppers of coal for the kiln.  Since there were no mines producing suitable coal in Nova Scotia at the time, this fuel was imported to Sydney, along with coal for generating plants in Cape Breton, and shipped by the CBNS to Truro, where it was taken the last 15 or so miles to the plant by CN.

In the second picture, 515 is passing under Hwy 102, the main road between Halifax and Truro, NS.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/21 13:15 by cn6218.

Date: 11/23/21 09:26
Re: Working the Cement Spur
Author: wyeth

Curious, does this coal business still exist today?


Nice catch with the freshly painted, old CN scheme.  These days, it's a miracle just to get a clean CN engine (or any other PSR Class One!).

Date: 11/23/21 11:03
Re: Working the Cement Spur
Author: cn6218

I haven't seen loads of coal go in there for a few years.  Nothing is coming from Sydney, because CBNS hasn't run a train up there in 5 or 6 years now, so I'm not sure exactly where they get their fuel from.  A few years ago, LaFarge imported coal to Pier 9 in Halifax and then trucked it to Brookfield, even though CN had rail service on that pier.  Apparently they weren't interested in the extra business.  The cement plant does burn used tires in the kiln, but I can't imagine that is the only source of fuel.

Interestingly, the RCMP used to use the cement plant for disposing of large drug seizures.  Apparently the furnace allows someone to actually watch the fuel being consumed, or close enough to that, so there is no question about the "product" being diverted out the back door of the plant. :-).


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