Thread: Old Halifax
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2019, 4:14 AM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
Thanks for that. Yes, I too find it fascinating. Unfortunately your photo link seems to be broken at the moment.

I believe what you're referring to is the ill-fated railway museum established by the Scotian Railroad Society around 1970. A group of well-meaning enthusiasts -- my dad was among them -- led by the late Halifax neurologist, Dr. Stephen Bedwell (who I remember as a wonderful, charming man) attempted to establish a collection of historic rail equipment. They actually hand-laid that siding which, as you recall, paralleled the CN main line just off the Simpson's parking lot.

Among their collection was a beautiful private car built by Pullman in 1891, operated by the Rutland Railroad in Vermont as the "Ethan Allen", but later purchased by Nova Scotia Pulp and Paper. The Halifax journalist H.B. Jefferson bought it around 1964 and in 1971 the SRS acquired it from his estate. I was in high school at the time and helped work on the car, which had a lovingly maintained mahogany interior.

They had a few other pieces, including a 1875 baggage car from the old Intercolonial Railway and a 1907 caboose but their showpiece was that steam locomotive, an 0-6-0 switcher nicknamed the "Georgia Peach". It was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1911 and once operated in Georgia (hence the name) but had worked at the Drummond Coal Company in Westville from 1950 to 1967, making it the last steam loco to operate in revenue service in Nova Scotia.

Sadly the tale has an unhappy ending. Maintaining this collection proved too ambitious for a small volunteer group. Somewhere around 1983, I think, the SRS shut down and, unable to find anyone willing to acquire this historic equipment (including Nova Scotia's museums), all of it was scrapped.

I haven't been able to find a photo of the "Georgia Peach" online though I know I have one somewhere in storage. I also have the locomotive's #4 number plate that I picked up off the ground near Simpson's one night after it had been scrapped.
Regarding the linked photo in my post above, I realize I probably shouldn't link the photo directly as it may not be in the public domain, but I was referring to the fourth photo down on this page.

Again... wow! The information on the Scotian Railroad Society is new to me, and answers some questions that have been lingering in my mind for decades now.

Their acquisitions sound amazing and the end story is tragic. The "Ethan Allen" seems to be at the pinnacle of 19th century luxury travel. Absolutely beautiful, even in black and white as you say, you can see the handwork involved to give it that beautiful, detailed and finished appearance. I am curious as to how it ended up with NS Pulp and Paper.

The "Georgia Peach" is a sad loss as well, especially when you consider that steam locomotives were pretty much finished in Canada by 1960, and almost all of them had been turned into scrap metal by then.

It's too bad that the society couldn't make a go of it, but you are right on the money that it is an ambitious goal due to the size and storage requirements of the artifacts. However, a real rail museum in Halifax would have been something worth maintaining, if it had been possible to keep it going.

Thanks again for the posts, I find it to be fascinating reading...
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