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All across the Great Western territory => Introductions and chat => Topic started by: grahame on September 13, 2019, 05:30:19 pm



Title: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: grahame on September 13, 2019, 05:30:19 pm
Three times a week, Via Rail's  "Ocean" leaves Halifax, Nova Scotia, bound for Montreal - journey time over 20 hours, from the railroad station just 'across' from the Ocean terminal where transatlantic liners used to arrive; these days replaced by cruise liners - yesterday, the Zaandam was there out from the St Lawrence, Aurora out from Southampton, and Norwegian Escape helping people escape from - well, I don't know where.  A railway carriage outside the terminal buildings themselves pays homage to the rail link past.  Time was limited - no time to look around the museum of immigration, but I did have could of minutes to poke my head into the station.  Zero local trains, and an eerie place.   Pictures - the museumed carriage, the staton frontage, the passenger hall and the platforms.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_01.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_02.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_03.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_04.jpg)

From our ship, a couple of spare (?) Via Rail coaches could be seen, beacons of colour in an unsaturated landscape of drabness.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_05.jpg)

We saw no trains moving, the only movement of the day being an arrival due some 90 minutes after our ship had left.  But there was evidence of freight, both heavy haulage and container traffic off the Atlantic Ocean bound, I would suspect, for Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.  Unlike many UK lines kept alive by passengers and with sparse freight, the line across Nova Scotia is kept alive by freight, with sparse passenger traffic.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_06.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_ocean_07.jpg)



Lisa and I, taking in Halifax, were "bussed" with all other passengers going ashore from Aurora, on a commercial berth, to the main cruise terminals.  Surreal - on a bus labelled as route 15 to Upton Park, and bearing a remarkable resemblance to vehicles I knew as a child in London.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_rm_01.jpg)

Once we got to (and inside) the terminal building, we found ourselves in a sales-fest haul - a gauntlet to run through towards the town.  Lisa joined the long queue for tickets for the "Hop on, hop off" bus.   Fortunately, the queue was long and slow and that gave me the chance to nip off to the information desk and sweet-talk one of the ladies there to reach under the counter and give me a schedule for the local bus on route 29.  More anon - first - though, some pictures from the terminal building:

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_term_01.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_term_02.jpg)

And ... the story (or rather more pictures!) of those Routemasters.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_rm_02.jpg)

A truly Canadian story, indeed!   They are the only double deck buses you'll see in Halifax - and there are 15 of them, bought on retirement from London, and providing tourist hop-on hop-off services.  Our ride was on a "queue-buster" soon after our arrival, taking volumes off passengers off the commercial quay; later in the day, it joined the other on going round the town.   Watching and listening, in true London style you could wait up to 45 minutes for one to come along then 3 would come together.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_rm_03.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_rm_04.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_rm_05.jpg)

Ah yes ... the "29". Walk out of the pier complex into the parallel street, and you'll find a nondescript bus stop sign on a poll.  Of the 5 or 6 thousand passenger on today's 3 cruise ships, six have made it here. We are the only ones off "Aurora" and we are joined by 2 or 3 locals.  On time, the half hourly 29 arrives.

All buses in Halifax are fitted with cycle racks on the front.  That's not just from observation - it's proudly advertised in the timetables and it makes huge sense - cycle to your local bus stop (and "local" in Canada might be a distance) and take your cycle with you - just as in England you might take it on the train.  We join the bus, pay our (total) of $5 Canadian and ask for a "transfer" ticket which allows us to change to another bus provided we join that second bus within 90 minutes - plenty of time to ride out to the cemetery (see yesterday), see the graves of interest, and get on the return bus. 

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_bus_01.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_bus_02.jpg)

I got chatting with a lady who lives in Halifax and she was telling me about the extreme poverty outside the tourist areas; how she originally came from the far north, went to University in Warwick (England) and was now back in Halifax; she hadn't done too badly for herself, mind she was riding the bus to get from her Gym to her work.  Wished her well, as our bus left the centre and visitor area and took in what I judge to be middle of the road inner suburbs on its way out to Fairview.  That was the destination for the other visitors who had cruised in too.

After visiting the cemetery, a ride back on the bus, lunch in the City centre (really good to get some real clam chowder) and a walk back through to the cruise terminal.   And views and pictures taken as we sailed.

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_watch_01.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_watch_02.jpg)

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/hfx_watch_03.jpg)


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: martyjon on September 13, 2019, 05:57:04 pm
Them double decker buses don't look right painted other than in London Transport Red and with the offside to us, nearside to them Canadians, doors but then I'd be wary of jumping off the buses rear platform with traffic passing on the right or is it the left. Nice piccys though. Have to dig out and scan fots of New Zealand buses fitted with baby buggy carriers at the front minus the babies of course.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: martyjon on September 13, 2019, 06:08:02 pm
Is that A C carrier our only one ? cos it aint got any A C on deck cos I know ours aint got any A C assigned to it yet or am I a bit behind with history ?


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: martyjon on September 13, 2019, 06:13:21 pm
Nice to see that the middle position on that bench seat is wheelchair accessible, something not yet available in the UK at present !!!!


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: bignosemac on September 13, 2019, 07:38:16 pm
The mention of clam chowder got me salivating. Think I may make a nice seafood chowder this weekend.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: bobm on September 13, 2019, 08:44:33 pm
Make sure he tidies the kitchen Graham.  ;D


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: grahame on September 13, 2019, 09:18:48 pm
Is that A C carrier our only one ? cos it aint got any A C on deck cos I know ours aint got any A C assigned to it yet or am I a bit behind with history ?

I'm pretty sure it's the only one ... arrived in Halifax on a courtesy call.  I'm assured we're still on friendly terms with Canada, so no requirement there to be battle ready with aircraft.  Just a helicopter visible on the deck - of course, there may have been more below.



Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: eXPassenger on September 13, 2019, 09:33:24 pm
Is that A C carrier our only one ? cos it aint got any A C on deck cos I know ours aint got any A C assigned to it yet or am I a bit behind with history ?

I'm pretty sure it's the only one ... arrived in Halifax on a courtesy call.  I'm assured we're still on friendly terms with Canada, so no requirement there to be battle ready with aircraft.  Just a helicopter visible on the deck - of course, there may have been more below.



That is the Queen Elizabeth in the middle of the Westlant 2019 exercise using UK F35B jets.  The Prince of Wales is still in Rosyth under construction.



Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: bignosemac on September 13, 2019, 11:25:35 pm
The Prince of Whales is still in Rosyth under construction.

Will its first master be Captain Ahab? ;D


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: eightonedee on September 14, 2019, 02:32:35 pm
This brings back happy memories of a trip to Nova Scotia with Mrs Eightonedee in 1995, based in Halifax, a very pleasant city well worth a visit if you are think of a trip to the Maritimes.

In those days the double deck bus fleet in Halifax was made up of old front entrance Bristol Lodekkas - a type of bus I've encountered in all kinds of bizarre places around the world, sometimes as DIY trekking caravans, sometimes as tourist buses, most recently in Griefswald, north east Germany. I think I've seen them advertised as "London Buses"!

They take me back to a brief period in the mid 1960s when my brother and I extended our train spotting to buses, probably stimulated by the fact we used buses to get to school in Reading, have a choice of Thames Valley or Reading Corporation routes, the former including the joint Thames Valley/City of Oxford route 5/44. Subsequently it has struck me that the destination boards of the Oxford buses demonstrated that city's somewhat insular outlook. The Thames Valley buses were always shown as "Reading" or "Oxford" depending on which way they ran, but Oxford bound City of Oxfords were signed "Gloucester Green".  Many years later, a friend based in Peterborough had to arrange to meet an academic in Oxford. The directions he was given started "When you get to Carfax", and when this was queried the academic could not understand that the vast majority of UK residents did not know what Carfax is, let alone how you find it in Oxford!


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 14, 2019, 03:02:56 pm
Red double decker buses, along with black cabs, have long been a symbol of London for tourists worldwide.

As for freight supporting the few remaining passenger services, I thought that had been the case for most of N. America for the past few decades at least?


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 14, 2019, 03:08:42 pm
From our ship, a couple of spare (?) Via Rail coaches could be seen, beacons of colour in an unsaturated landscape of drabness.
On a non-rail, and also non-bus tangent: I sympathise! And I'm also curious. Why does is the northern human landscape so drab? It's almost ten years now since I came back to Europe from three years working in India, a land full of colours, smells, tastes and noises. We came back in January and the overwhelming impression was drab greyness. Not just the lack of sun, which was obvious, expected and not really a problem (the changing seasons were a thing I missed while living out there) but the lack of colour in people, buildings, even vehicles... Why was everyone dressed in grey, black, dark blue? What makes it especially odd is that if you look at the cultures which have lived in high northern latitudes exclusively for ages, such as the Lapps/Saami, their clothes and other belongings are bright and colourful.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: eXPassenger on September 14, 2019, 05:48:21 pm
The Prince of Whales is still in Rosyth under construction.

Will its first master be Captain Ahab? ;D

I missed that one.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: TonyK on September 14, 2019, 08:10:00 pm
Make sure he tidies the kitchen Graham.  ;D

If he's like me...

My wife reckons that me boiling an egg can leave the kitchen looking like it's been bombed with middle eastern dustbins.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: johnneyw on September 14, 2019, 10:58:23 pm
We clearly have similar culinary styles.


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: grahame on September 14, 2019, 11:56:41 pm
From our ship, a couple of spare (?) Via Rail coaches could be seen, beacons of colour in an unsaturated landscape of drabness.
On a non-rail, and also non-bus tangent: I sympathise! And I'm also curious. Why does is the northern human landscape so drab? ....

There are splashes of colour ... our tour guide in Newfoundland took us past brightly painted coloured houses in an otherwise drab background.  He told us two stories of how they got to be so bright - this first being that they were brightly painted to help drunken fishermen returning home find the right house and bed, and the second being that it started as a sales promotion by the owner of the only shop in the town that sold bright paints to market his wares.

I do wonder if a hash northern environment quickly fades bright colours and reduces the tendency for us to use them ... or perhaps all the bright colours have headed south.   Today in Boston:

(http://www.mrug.org.uk/lib/usarhino.jpg)


Title: Re: Travelogue observations - 13th September 2019 - Rail and more, Halifax, NS
Post by: Bmblbzzz on September 15, 2019, 12:06:36 pm
"Do not ride the rhino" could mean so many things...



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