Scotia has two Shortlines - the Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia
Railway and the Windsor & Hantsport Railway - and had a variety
industrial railways based on gypsum mining, coal mining and steel
manufacture and fabrication though most of these have now been replaced
A mixture of second-hand power is used on the shortlines, with the
Windsor and Hantsport initially using entirely Alco/MLW RS-23s,
four then three at a
time, then GP9Rs and finally B23-7s!
& CENTRAL NOVA SCOTIA RAILWAY:
railway runs 230 miles from Sydney, Cape Breton to the Canadian
National interchange at Truro, NS. It used to carry coal from the DEVCO
mines near Sydney and steel products (mainly rails) from Sydney Steel
but the phasing out of the mines and steel plant has reduced this
traffic to a trickle.
much of the traffic is from the Port Hawkesbury/Point Tupper area
including forest products from the paper mill (closed temporarily in
2011-2) at Point Tupper,
and natural gas by-products from offshore gas. In the New Glasgow area
Michelin receives supplies as does Kimberley Clark. These two
industries also ship out products by
rail. Some logs and general merchandise are also hauled.
In 1997 Mainline freights were hauled by Alco/MLW C630Ms (there was one
M636 on the roster) and two GM GP50s borrowed from the Indiana
& Ohio Railway (IORY). By the end of 1999 all the Alcos had
been retired and are being scrapped or sold and mainline power was six
GP50s still in BN livery but lettered IORY or CBNS.
units were not liked by the crews on the steeply-graded route and were
replaced by four leased HATX SD45s. After
these were scrapped four
SD40-2s were leased from Helm.
see more photos and a preview
of our book on the CB&CNS click here.
Here we see three C630Ms outside the
maintenance shops at Sydney on 4
was acquired later from Canadian National and on 4 October 1997
is still in their livery but lettered CBNS. It is also seen at Sydney
unit 2039 with sister units 2003 & 2034 head train #305
through Barney's River NS on 6 October 1997.
Minutes earlier we got this panned
shot of 2039 passing through a
colourful wooded area alongside the highway at Marshy Hope..
Here IORY GP50 3108, CB&CNS
C630Ms 2016 & 2032 and IORY
GP50 3109 head train #306 through Sydney River NS on 6 October 1997.
train #306 is eastbound on a beautiful fall day between Barney's River
and Marshy Hope. HATX SD45-2s 912, 910 & 914 are the
power on 16 October 2001.
CB&CNS train #305 enters
westbound on the morning of 22 March 2003 with HATX SD45-2
907, LLPX GP15 1504 and HATX SD45-2s 912 & 914. Normally this
train arrived in the early evening but delays due to severe weather and
a derailment on Canadian National had upset the schedule.
Leased Helm SD45-2s 912, 907, 910
& LLPX GP38-2 2259 shunt
loaded coal cars in Truro yards on 24 August 2004.
train # 306 with LLPX GP38-2s 2269 & 2259 and Helm SD45-2s 910,
907 & 912 leave Stellarton eastbound on 23 June 2006.
CBNS train #306 with Helm SD40-2s
HLCX7172 7869 CEFX GP20D 2015
(built by MPI) and Helm SD40-2 HLCX8151 pass Antigonish Harbour on 12
was performed by Alco/MLW RS-18s but then
a diverse collection of Geeps including one GM GP18 arrived
from other shortlines and many were eventually retired and
scrapped. Now three leased LLPX GP15s and two GP9-4s in
RailLink livery share turns on these duties and on the short freights
across Cape Breton Island.
Here we see Alco/MLW RS-18 #3842
pausing between switching operations at
Point Tupper on 6 October 1997.
next two photos show GM GP18 4700 preparing
train 305 at Sydney on 6 October 1997. Note that the locomotive does
not have the full railway name but only the initials C.B.&
C.N.S. The locomotive was built for GTW.
GP9 5967 "Edmund Taverner" is seen at Stellarton NS on 4 July
2001. Note the dark green rather than the black livery on this
locomotive. The locomotive was built for the C&O.
6418 waits at the station in Port Hawkesbury with the eastbound Bras
d'Or on 9 October 2001 while CB&CNS GP9-4s 4004 & 4003,
still in RaiLink livery, occupy the siding.
GP15-1 1508 is seen at Stellarton on 22 March 2003. This is one of
three GP15-1 units leased from LLPX - all are in Conrail blue and 1506
still has Operation Lifesaver logos.
GP40u in Goderich & Exeter Railway livery at Auld's Cove on the
Canso Causeway on 22 March 2003. In the past Emera (Nova Scotia Power
has unloaded coal here and taken it by train across the
causeway to the power station at Point Tupper. However during March
Sydney harbour was ice bound and so for about three weeks coal was
shipped from here to Victoria Junction. 4022 is assembling train 703
using ex-DEVCO cars prior to departure for Sydney. Cold weather caused
the coal to freeze in the cars and this delayed unloading.
colourful line of retired
Sydney NS on 13 August 2002. From left to right are GP7 700 in GEXR
livery, C-630M 2034 in CB&CNS livery, GP9 62 in IORY livery,
RS-18 3842 in CB&CNS livery and GP7us 2160 & 2176 in
& HANTSPORT RAILWAY COMPANY LIMITED:
railway ran from Mantua to near New Minas with a branch to the
Canadian National mainline at Windsor Junction. Total trackage was
60 miles. It mainly hauled gypsum from the mines in the Windsor area to
the loading dock at Hantsport but also developed new business
hauling logs, feed grain, cooking oil, produce and general merchandise.
The initial roster was entirely Alco/MLW RS-23 units purchased from CP
one unit was repainted, all the other units had the CP Rail
(but not the logo where it existed) painted out with black paint and
were lettered WHRC in white. The maintenance shops were able to repair
all parts of the RS-23s (or had suppliers who could) and the
staff kept the fleet running as long as it is
economically viable to do so. Eventually they were scrapped
and the traction motors and engine blocks sold.
were replaced by four ex CN GP9Us leased from the Central Manitoba
Railway which ran on the WHRC for just over five years.
as business declined two ex-Conrail B23-7s were purchased but they
only operated on the WHRC for about six months before the line closed -
the economic downturn had caused the closure of the gypsum mines.
photos and a preview of our book on the WHRC click
photo four RS-23s led by # 8036 haul a loaded 25 car gypsum train from
the mine at Mantua on 2 August 1995.
is the only unit in The Windsor & Hantsport Railway paint
scheme of maroon with grey stripe and white lettering. It is seen at
Hantsport on 9 September 1995.
RS-23 # 8027 is outside the dumper at
Hantsport NS on 2 August 1995. Note the CP logo has not been painted
8026 has its wheels reprofiled on 12 January 1996 at Windsor NS. One
brake block at a time is replaced by a cutter and the the locomotive is
operated backwards and forwards. The snow is an added safety
began a series of summer-weekend excursion trains between Windsor and
Hantsport although on some occasions the train went to Mantua. The
railroad purchased two open-air cars and one ex-VIA dayniter car (which
is air-conditioned) and runs the consist with their repainted caboose #
150 and a locomotive at each end, though they are not mu'd together and
so the rear locomotive only idles.
Here we see the
travelling through the Annapolis Valley near
Falmouth on 24 August 1997.
4012 & 4014 on their first day of operation on the
WHRC, 5 July 2005, arrive at Hantsport with a loaded gypsum train. The
other two GP9Rs were in CN "zebra stripe" livery.
B23-7s 1968 & 4079 leave Windsor station with empty grain
cars en route to the CN interchange at Windsor Junction on 19 July 2010.
Windsor has two mines - one at Mantua and one at Dimock's both served
by The Windsor & Hantsport Railway. Both are now closed. The
gypsum company has
several GE 25T & 45T locomotives which were used for loading at
the mine sites. The cars had air-operated bottom doors. At Hantsport
the cars were pulled through the unloader and the doors were opened one
at a time so that the gypsum fell onto a conveyer belt. The cars were
switched using a GE 45T but for several years one of the WHRC locomotives was used.
Here we see the un-numbered GE 45T
outside the dumper on 18 August 1990.
operates the largest gypsum mine in Canada at Milford. Generally two
seventy car trains are operated each day by Canadian National from the
mine to the shipping dock at Wright's Cove Dartmouth. However during
the economic downturn this has been reduced to one train per day
usually at night except during the coldest weather.
the gypsum is stockpiled prior to loading onto ocean freighters which
take the gypsum to wallboard manufacturing plants in the United States.
Until mid 2000 National Gypsum had three locomotives, the biggest of
which was a remote-controlled GE 100 ton locomotive (built in 1971)
which switched the loaded cars at the mine (the cars are pulled through
the loader by a hauser with prongs that push on the axles). The
engineer carries a control pack at waist level and radio signals are
sent to the locomotive via a repeater located on the roof of the
Cars are unloaded at Wright's Cove using a rotary tipper (up
until May 2003 when the new National Gypsum bottom unloading cars came
into service). Each car has to be pushed into the tipper,
uncoupled and then the rest of the train is pulled out of the way. The
incoming car pushes the unloaded car down a grade where it is
positioned using the hand brake by a brakeman who climbs onto the car
as it leaves the tipper. An un-numbered British-built Hunslet 0-6-0
(built in 1986) used to perform these duties. A GE 45 ton locomotive
(built in 1955) was kept as spare locomotive although the Dartmouth
crews say they prefer it because it has better braking power than the
Hunslet. The Hunslet and the rotary tipper are generally controlled by
an operator using a beltpack . He also uncouples the cars as they enter
the tipper. Both have now been scrapped.
National Gypsum obtained two GM switchers which were reconditioned and
equipped for remote control by A.A. Merrilees. The first unit 506 (an
SW900) arrived in Dartmouth in early October but despite having a cut
down cab would not fit through the unloader (the cab would
not fit through the car clamps). The second unit (now numbered 507) is
also remote controlled and has worked at the Milford mine site since
early 2001. It is ex CN 8512:1 later 7162 - an SW8. It was subsequently
fitted with a special dust filter.
National Gypsum took delivery of about 120 higher capacity, air dump
cars built by Johnstown America Corporation. These are painted grey,
and many carry the names of employees (each had to sign a release to
allow their names to be put on the car)! Now trains are only about 60
cars long and two SD75Is have difficulty getting the loaded train up
the grade from the mine after stopping to align the switch to enter the
This photo shows the
remote-controlled GE 100T locomotive at the mine
at Milford on 11 May 1995. The engineer with the red hard-hat has the
control pack hung around his neck.
cab is the receiver which converts the signals from the remote
control pack into locomotive commands. appropriately the control box is
called a "Blackbox" and is painted black!
On a mild 12 January 1997, the Hunslet is pushing loaded cars into
the rotary tipper at
Wright's Cove Dartmouth .
On a sunny day in July 1995 GE 45T #
502 is substituting for the
Hunslet at Wright's Cove.
National Gypsum bottom unloader cars awaits its first tour of duty at
Rockingham yards, Halifax NS on 17 May 2003. Some of the cars carry
names of employees.
Two CN GE Dash 9 -44CWL 2649 & 2644 haul the
cars past Grand Lake on 17 June 2003.
controlled SW8 507 takes empty cars off the arriving train at the
National Gypsum open-cast mine at Milford NS on 20 May 2003.
& 5719 provide 8800hp to take the first train of new cars
loaded with gypsum across the road-rail bridge over the Shubenacadie
River at the mine at Milford NS on 20 May 2003.
controlled SW900 506 pushes the new cars through the unloader (formerly
a rotary tipper) at Wright's Cove Dartmouth NS on 20 May 2003.
manufacturing facility at Trenton, outside New Glasgow, was originally
owned by Hawker Siddeley, then Lavalin and then by Greenbrier
Industries. After Greenbrier took over the locomotives and
facilities looked much cleaner and tidier but they closed the plant and
consolidated their operations in the US when demand for freight cars
dropped. There were two GE 45T
locomotives - 2701 & 2702.
turbine manufacturing plant has recently been established by Daewoo.
Here we see GE 45T 2702 on 5 April
1988 when the works were owned by
This is the same locomotive on 6 October
1997, complete with Canadian
and US flags since it was now owned by a US company - Greenbrier
Corporation! They finally closed the Trenton plant and moved railcar
production to the United States.
Corporation has had several owners during its lifetime including DOSCO
(Dominion Steel and Coal). In the 1990s it was "downsized"
and manufactured rails for domestic and foreign railroads. The internal
narrow gauge railway was closed. The works interchanged standard gauge
cars with the CB&CNS and used a mixture of locomotives
including GE 65T & 80Ts as well as SW8s & an SW9. After
many attempts to sell the plant, it was closed in 2002 and was
GE 80T # 9 with a ballast train in early October 1975.
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (DEVCO):
crown corporation was formed in 1968 to improve the economy of Cape
Breton and increase employment. One division - the coal division - was
formed to operate the mines in Cape Breton and the Sydney &
Louisburg Railway which became the DEVCO Railway. In the 1970s it had a
motley collection of second-hand ALCO RS1s, RS23s and RS27s. From 1979
to 1983 they purchased thirteen GP38-2s some of which had power
take-offs so that they could be used as emergency generators at the
railroad hauled the coal to the washing plant at Victoria Junction and
then either to the loading dock at Witney Pier, to the domestic coal
terminal at Dominion or to the interchange with the CB&CNS at
the mines closed several of the GP38-2s were sold (three went to the
New Brunswick Southern Railway) and the coal pier and
railroad were purchased by Emera (owners of the Nova Scotia Power
Corporation). Coal is now imported through the pier and hauled by train
to Victoria Junction where it is unloaded by a special tipper that has
an electric remote controlled "pusher" that runs on a short track
inside the building parallel to the line of coal cars and positions
them for roatary tiping. After blending, the coal is trucked
to one power station and taken by train to another. The cars have
rotary couplings and so do not have to be uncoupled. The railroad is
operated by the Quebec Railway Corporation as the Sydney Coal Railway.
In this photo we see the RS27 # 215
at the Sydney interchange in early
October 1975. It was scapped in 1984.
This is the last RS1 on the roster and it has been converted to an
attractive snowplow. It is seen at Victoria Junction yards on 5 October
the late 1970s and early 1980s 13 new GP38-2s were purchased, some of
which could serve as mobile generators at the mines in the event of
power loss. These locomotives have power takeoff plugs located on the
short hood. DEVCO 219 has this feature whereas DEVCO 227 does not.
the symbol indicating motion and
transportation and the differences in name - DEVCO RAILWAY and CAPE
BRETON DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION. Similar variations exist on other
equipment including the coal cars.
GP38-2s 228 & 219 are now part of the Sydney Coal Railway. They
are switching coal cars at the coal blending plant at Victoria Junction
near Sydney on 13 August 2002.