Thread: Old Halifax
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2019, 9:38 PM
OldDartmouthMark OldDartmouthMark is offline
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Join Date: May 2010
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I had intended to address your post in more detail previously, but each time I made an attempt, "life" diverted me to something else...

Originally Posted by ns_kid View Post
With your question about the "Ethan Allen" I realized I made an error in my original account. NSP&P acquired the car in 1964; H.B. Jefferson bought it from them around 1970. (I've corrected this in the original.) Unfortunately, the source article in Canadian Rail (which is still published by the Canadian Railway Historical Society) doesn't say how the car made it from Vermont to Nova Scotia. But it does say the car was sitting on a siding in Port Hawkesbury when Jefferson discovered it, being used as accommodations for the construction manager in charge of building the Port Hawkesbury pulp mill at the time. Probably the most luxurious construction trailer that guy ever stayed in!
Quite a set-up for a construction trailer... I can imagine that he would have been inclined to change the customary coffee and donuts to Afternoon Tea and scones in such an elegant traditional setting...

Historical preservation is a messy, expensive business, as other threads about our built heritage attest, and preserving old rail equipment is no different. Sadly, SRS is not the only group to founder in the attempt. I remember being quite bitter that no Nova Scotia institution was willing or able to step in. But I had moved away from Halifax at that time and I don't really know the details. It's quite likely there were real time pressures. It's also true that in many of these cases the enormous difficulty in maintaining these big artifacts outdoors means corrosion and decay advance to the point they are beyond salvation.
Having spent a number of years in the antique/collector car hobby I can only imagine how much more costly and challenging it would be to maintain rail equipment sitting out in the elements in our environment. Our humidity and wet weather is extremely hard on steel and wood, not to mention the freeze/thaw cycles of our winters. Of course, the ideal solution is to have them sit within a climate-controlled building, but that's when the costs soar to much higher levels...

I can relate to your bitterness, considering the rarity and significance of these artifacts, not to mention the expense and toil involved in acquiring and refurbishing them. It's a shame that there still isn't more enthusiasm from government or industry side for preservation of artifacts such as this, but it's the reality of our system which places little value on items that don't directly generate revenue.

[Now this is veering completely off topic but, for anyone curious about what successful preservation looks like (and the deep pockets required to make it happen), in May the Union Pacific Railroad will complete its restoration of a 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" locomotive, the biggest and most powerful locomotive ever built (133 feet; 1,250 tons, 6,290 hp). The locomotive hasn't run in 60 years and it's taken five years to restore. UP won't say what it's costing but estimates range from $6-$8 million. It will make its inaugural run, from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Ogden, Utah, on May 9th, part of the celebrations around the 150th anniversary of the completion of the US transcontinental railroad.]
That is something I would like to experience someday. Presumably it will be used for tourist runs at some point? The "Big Boys" have always seemed like the pinnacle of the steam era for me, so of course I need to see this...

Last edited by OldDartmouthMark; Apr 1, 2019 at 10:21 PM.
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