Nova Scotia Archives

Archibald MacMechan

Halifax Disaster Record Office Materials

Report with photograph: "Damage to Canadian Government (Railways Property of Halifax Explosion".

2 pages : 30 x 40 cm.

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The power plant was not damaged, although the building housing it was shaken up. The Deepwater local freight shed, a brick structure, was not greatly damaged, except for a short section of the roof next the office portion, which opened up along the ridge for 60 ft., and the loss of the glass in the office windows and transoms over the freight doors.
The 500,000 bushel grain elevator, which is of wood construction, had the roof over the bins so badly damaged that it will have to renewed. All of the windows in the working house and shipping galleries were blown out, and a hole was blown in the northerly side of the house. The power plant was unharmed. Steam was put on in it the afternoon of Dec. 7. The grain handling machinery was not seriously damaged, the damage consisting of a bent main shaft and a broke tension idler on the main drive.
At Willow Park, where the locomotive cleaning and housing facilities are located, the doors and windows in the car shop, stores building, planing mill, oil house and locomotive house, were blown out. The roof of the locomotive house was badly damaged, and the greater portion of it collapsed. The power plant was out of business for a day of two, but was put in running order later. The power transmission line to North St. and Deepwater, which follows along the city's streets, was wrecked, and power is now obtained from the Nova Scotia Power Co.'s plant in the south end.
The telephone dispatching line between North St.. station and Rockingham was put out of business, but was repaired and put in service again on Dec. 9. All automatic signals between North St. station and Willow Park Jct., a distance of 7,000 ft., were badly wrecked and were found to be not working. They will be restored as quickly as possible. Train movements are not being interfered with on this account.
No damage was done at the new ocean terminals at the south end, except for the loss of some glass and a few doors in the temporary sheds. Although the damage to the railway property was heavy, it was fortunate that the two main tracks leading to the North St. staion were not put out of business. Auxiliary cranes were started clearing the wreckage as soon as they arrived on the scene, and by noon on Dec. 8 the main lines to North St. station were clear. The standing portion of the train shed roof was taken down on the evening of Dec. 8, and trains were run into North St. on the evening of Dec. 9. On Dec. 10 full train service was resumed. During the time North St. station was out of business, the trains were run into the ocean terminals. The first train to leave North St. station after the explosion was a Dominion Atlantic for Kentville, which got out on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.
Gangs of men were put on immediately to carry out the reconstruction work on new pier 2, piper 3, North St. station, Willow Park and Richmond, and the work of rehabilitation is no underway, and being pushed to the utmost. Arrangements have been made to erect additional sheds on the completed docks at the ocean terminals, to replace those lost at Richmond, and it is expected that by the end of January all space lost will be replaced, with something over to carry on the additional business expected. New pier 2 will be in shape by Jan 1, pier 3 about a week later, and during January Willow Park will have been repaired and two temporary sheds 600 x 90 ft. will be completed at the ocean terminals. The remainder of the work will be completed as soon afterward as possible.
No close estimate of the monetary value of the loss sustained in the explosion can be given at present writing, as all surveys and examinations have not been completed. The loss to rolling stock was heavy, consisting of 97 sleeping, dining, commissary, hospital, tourist, first and second class and baggage cars. Repairs are now under way, and the cars will be back in service from one to six weeks from the date of the explosion. The damage to the freight cars was heavier, 374 G.T.R. and foreign cars being damaged and destroyed. Of this number 304 can be repaired or converted into other types, and put back into service, and 70 will be a total loss. Five locomotives which were standing in the vicinity of the North St. station at the time of the explosion, were slightly damaged but will be in service again shortly.

North Street Station.

Reference: Archibald MacMechan Nova Scotia Archives MG 1 volume 2124 number 9

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