Thread: Old Halifax
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2019, 10:02 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Keeping on the railway topic, I've long been fascinated with the Intercolonial Railway station that was located approximately at the corner of North and Barrington Streets in Halifax.

According to Wikipedia:
The North Street Station was the railway terminal for Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1877 to 1920. It was built by the Intercolonial Railway in the North End of Halifax and was the second largest railway station in Canada when it opened in 1878. Damaged, but repaired after the Halifax Explosion, it served until the current Halifax terminal location opened as part of the Ocean Terminals project in the city's South End in 1919.
I've heard little bits and pieces about the station over the years, mostly surrounding the Halifax Explosion and how it sustained serious damage, but I've never really put the bits and pieces together before.

In this post, I want to put together a couple of those bits, not to tell the whole story (which I couldn't because I don't have the whole story), but just offer up a few things I've found on the net and perhaps start a discussion about it (or not).

One of the things I've never been able to pinpoint in my mind is exactly where it was located. I know it was on the corner of Barrington and North, which is now largely in the shadow of the Macdonald bridge, but oftentimes I find that one little piece of physical continuity will be like turning a lightbulb on for me.

In this case, the cast iron rail that ran along Barrington St. at the upper side of the station turned on that light.

From NS Archives comes this photo:

At the left side of the photo, you can see a substantial rock retaining wall, at the top of which is a cast iron rail running along Barrington Street. If you click on the archives link above and zoom in, you can see it more clearly:

I never paid much attention to the rail until I read Stephen Archibald's blog post about cast iron rails and was able to actually place the rail, which looks like it was above HMC Dockyard:

Imagine my excitement about 1975 to discover a remarkable survivor on Barrington Street, just north of the MacDonald Bridge. There, on one of the busiest streets in town, were some sections of iron railing, the last remnants of the Richmond Train Station. The railings were on top of a retaining wall built beside the Terminal, that was famously destroyed in the 1917 Explosion.

A post-Explosion photo, in the Public Archives of NS collection, shows the railing and the giant train shed, with its roof collapsed.

The last remaining section of this railing was removed in the 1980s. Oh well.
Then, poking through the Halifax Municipal Archives, I found a few more, from 1964 which clearly show it at the base of the bridge and continuing north from that...

So there it is... if you can stand along that area of Barrington and gaze towards the Macdonald Bridge, you can almost see the old station there (if you have a vivid imagination like mine...).
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