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Halifax Articulated Classic Charter:

Halifax Articulated Classic Charter:

 

Prologue:

 

††††††††††† In late 2011, I learned at a TTS meeting that the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation was going to hold a charter on one of Metro Transitís articulated Classics in May of 2012. By this point, the articulated Classics in Halifax were the only high floor articulated buses in revenue service in Canada. I became really interested when I learned that VIA was having a 50% sale in winter of 2012. I took advantage of it by buying a one way ticket on the Ocean home from Halifax. However, I waited to decide how I would get to Halifax: Take the Ocean or fly. I ended up booking a flight.

 

††††††††††† I figured it would be nice to go to Halifax one more time. My plan was to fly to Halifax two days before the charter. I would spend the Friday before the charter riding around Halifax. On the Saturday, I would attend the charter before catching the Ocean the following day. The trip unfolded as follows:

 

May 24, 2012:

 

††††††††††† I left home shortly after 8:00 am. My mom gave me a ride to Finch. I rode down to Union and then went outside to catch a shuttle bus to Toronto's Billy Bishop Airport. Just like when I saw Amtrak's 40th Anniversary train last August, I was flying Porter Airlines. Of the airlines that I could fly, Porter turned out to be the cheapest. I had decided against flying Air Canada because they had been experiencing several labour disruptions which had led to several flights being canceled. I didn't want to risk it. When the shuttle bus arrived, I photographed it.

 

 

††††††††††† The ride to the terminal was fast. At one point, we drove past the John Street Roundhouse. We soon arrived at the ferry terminal where I boarded the ferry for the 90 second ride to the airport. After I arrived on Toronto Island, I photographed the ferry.

 

 

††††††††††† I then checked in. I had printed off the boarding pass the night before. I checked my suitcase and went through security. I had no problems, though the agent who scanned my boarding pass told me next time that I should enlarge it because she had to enter the number manually instead of scanning the code. If Porter is going to email boarding passes, they should make the code the necessary size automatically!

 

††††††††††† I then went to the lounge to await boarding of my flight. I worked on this report. I bought lunch from the cafe in the terminal. Boarding began a few minutes later. I photographed the plane before I got on. The aircraft was obviously a Bombardier Q400 turboprop as that is all Porter flies.

 

 

††††††††††† The plane left on time. I filmed the take off run. From the plane, I could see VIA train 53 as it arrived into Union station. I could also see the TTC's Greenwood subway yard and the open cut section of the east end of the Bloor-Danforth subway. I got a sandwich and a can of Coke from the flight attendant when she came by.

 

††††††††††† The flight wasn't a direct flight. We had a 35 minute stop over in Ottawa. I filmed the plane landing. As the plane was on final approach, my ears popped. That happened the last time I flew Porter as well. We arrived at the terminal and people who were getting off in Ottawa got off. I stayed on the plane. New passengers joined. We soon left Ottawa. As we taxied out to the runway, I photographed various planes I saw.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† As we took off, I filmed the takeoff run.

 

††††††††††† At one point, we flew over Montreal. I wondered if I would be able to see Exporail from the plane! However I couldn't. The flight attendants passed out bags of vegetable chips. The flight was uneventful. After awhile, we were approaching Halifax International Airport. As we descended, my ears popped again. It was very uncomfortable! I don't know why my ears popped on Porter flights. It's never happened when I fly on jets and I don't think it happened when I flew on a turboprop to Cleveland on my Cleveland Make-up Trip back in September 2007.

 

††††††††††† Despite my discomfort, I filmed the landing. We were pretty much on time. I got off and photographed the plane.

 

 

††††††††††† I then went into the terminal and bought some gum. I then turned my cell phone back on. I went to the baggage claim. However, they didn't have my flight marked. One carousel started up shortly after I got there, but initially, it didn't have my flight. However, my suitcase came out and after double checking that it was indeed my suitcase, I headed out to the ground transportation. I bought a ticket for the ground shuttle, but was annoyed to learn the next shuttle was at 5:00 pm; more than 45 minutes later. It wouldn't take me to my hotel as well.

 

††††††††††† Had the charter happened a week later, I would have been able to take a Metro Transit bus to Halifax for less than the cost of the ground shuttle.

 

††††††††††† I phoned my mom to let her know I had made it to Halifax. I then worked on this report some more.

 

††††††††††† 5:00 pm came and went, but the bus was late. It eventually showed up, but the driver went into the terminal for several minutes. He eventually returned and I boarded the shuttle with two other people. We soon departed and hit the highway. A little while later, we arrived into Dartmouth. I got off at a Holiday Inn across the street from Metro Transit's Bridge terminal. I got my suitcase and waited for a Metro Transit bus. I photographed it before I got on.

 

 

††††††††††† I rode to the ferry terminal and then walked a block away to my hotel which was a Super 8. I checked in to my hotel and went to my room. A little while later, I headed out. I missed a Classic and caught LFS articulated bus #733 to the Bridge terminal and then photographed the bus.

 

 

 

††††††††††† A few minutes later, Metro Transit Nova Classic #983 showed up on route 10. I photographed it before I got on.

 

 

††††††††††† I rode 983 for a few minutes before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I then walked to a nearby Taco Bell for dinner.

 

††††††††††† After dinner, I walked back to the Bridge Terminal hoping to see or ride another Classic. On the way, I photographed Metro Transit DE60LFr #715.

 

 

††††††††††† I got back to the terminal, but only D40LFs and LFS articulated buses showed up. Eventually, I saw a Classic which turned out to be 983 again. I photographed it anyway.

 

 

 

††††††††††† Metro Transit Nova Classic 978 arrived at the terminal, but went out of service. I photographed it as it pulled away.

 

 

††††††††††† I eventually took a D40LF back to the ferry terminal and walked back to my hotel. I went to my room and worked on this report some more. I also phoned my friend Mike Cormier from SAIT. We arranged to meet sometime the next day.

 

††††††††††† I eventually called it a night.

 

May 5, 2012:

 

††††††††††† I got up at 9:00 am and got dressed. I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I came up to my room and worked on this report for a few minutes. I logged onto the Canadian Public Transit Discussion Board and learned the driver of the Classic I had ridden the evening before was on the board as a bus fan!

 

††††††††††† I then decided to go out. I walked a block and picked up a bus to the Bridge Terminal. Shortly after I got there, I saw Classic articulated bus 703 arrive. I photographed it before I got on.

 

 

††††††††††† I got off about 6 minutes later and filmed the bus as it pulled away. I then walked back to the Bridge terminal. Classic articulated #706 pulled up. I photographed it before I got on.

 

 

††††††††††† I rode 706 into downtown Halifax. I got off and photographed it and then filmed it pulling away.

 

 

††††††††††† I then photographed a couple 40 foot Classics as they went out of service. I also photographed a DE60LFr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I boarded a D40LF and rode a few stops before I rode MCI Classic 959 a few stops to and got off and photographed it.

 

 

††††††††††† I then boarded a D40LF on route 14 and rode to the VIA station. I photographed the Ocean awaiting its 12:15 pm departure.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I bought something to drink from a Tim Hortonís near the station. I then walked for several minutes before I found an overpass in which I could film the Ocean. I saw a CN SD70i in the yard and photographed it with a container ship in the background.

 

 

††††††††††† I saw a crew start up the SD70i and eventually, it started to roll. I photographed it just before it went under the overpass.

 

 

 

††††††††††† Moments later, the Ocean passed. I filmed it and noticed some smoke coming from the second passenger coach. I then crossed the street and took one more photo of the train.

 

 

††††††††††† The Ocean consisted of two F40PH-2s, a Renaissance baggage car, two Renaissance coaches, a Renaissance diner, a Renaissance service car, four Renaissance sleepers, and a Renaissance transition car. There was no Park car on the train. The reason the transition car is on there is that recently, on days when the Ocean runs combined with the Chaleur, instead of running the Chaleur in front of the Ocean's coaches and behind the Ocean's locomotives, they now run the whole consist coupled to the rear of the Ocean whenever there is not a Park car on the Ocean in order to reduce the switching time at Matapedia.

 

††††††††††† I then walked a few blocks and waited for a bus to take me back into downtown Halifax. While waiting, I photographed articulated Classic #711. The driver waved to me as they drove past.

 

 

 

††††††††††† A few minutes later, I boarded a D40LF and rode downtown. I got off and walked to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. I paid the admission and went inside. I photographed various exhibits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then photographed an exhibit on convoys used in World War 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† Next, I photographed the museum's Titanic exhibit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then photographed an exhibit on the oil tanker Arrow which broke apart and sank leaking a lot of oil.

 

 

††††††††††† I then bought a ticket for a 3D film about diving to the wreck of the Titanic. After the film, I photographed a couple more exhibits before I bought a t-shirt from the gift shop and headed out. I walked a few blocks photographed a few Classics before I boarded Classic #982.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I rode 982 several blocks before I got off and filmed it pulling away. I then photographed one more Classic.

 

 

††††††††††† I bought lunch from a chip truck. I also received a text message from my friend Mike. I responded and we agreed to meet at the ferry terminal in downtown Halifax. I walked down to the ferry terminal and waited. I saw there was a Tim Hortonís with a Cold Stone Creamery in it. While I was waiting for Mike, I photographed Classic 983.

 

 

††††††††††† Mike arrived a few minutes later. We headed out first to the bridge where I stood earlier to film the Ocean departing. Along the way, we got caught up since last time. I told him of my last trip to Michigan.

 

††††††††††† When we got to the bridge, I saw a ferry which is used to transport people and cars to Newfoundland. Mike said it had come to Halifax for repairs. About 20 minutes later, a freight train showed up. Mike said that he had arranged the consist of the freight cars. I also noticed it the train was led by SD70i which I had seen earlier running long hood forward. The train consisted of an empty flatcar used to haul rails, three grain cars, and 17 intermodel cars. I photographed the freight.

 

 

 

††††††††††† Mike and I then drove past the seaport where I was able to get a couple photos of the ferry that goes to Newfoundland.

 

 

 

††††††††††† We then drove by Pier 21 where I photographed an old CN passenger coach.

 

 

††††††††††† We then drove out to Bedford. Along the way, I saw one of Metro Transit's first gen Nova LFSes. Mike showed me a spot off the main road near a Chinese restaurant called Chinatown where railfans go to photograph trains. We were waiting to see the Ocean come into Halifax. While waiting, I photographed a Metro Transit Classic.

 

 

 

††††††††††† A few minutes later, The Ocean passed; I filmed it as it passed. I saw that it had an usual consist. The train had two rebuilt F40PH-s, A Renaissance baggage coach, a Renaissance coach, a Renaissance dining car, a Renaissance service car, four Renaissance sleeping cars, two more Renaissance coaches, a Renaissance transition coach, and a Hep1 coach.

 

 

††††††††††† Mike and I then left the area. We drove near Metro Transit's new Ragged Lake bus garage. I felt that the charter tomorrow would visit there at some point. We then headed down to Dartmouth to catch the power of the gypsum train. We were able to catch up to it and pass it. We got to a transmission shop near a switch the crews line to head down to the mine to collect their cars. When the locomotives showed up, I photographed them.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† The conductor of the gypsum train spoke briefly with Mike. We then headed to the Bridge terminal where I said goodbye to Mike and headed out to see some buses. I saw several transit fans that had shown up for the charter. I photographed a few buses.

 

 

††††††††††† Some other transit fans and I boarded Classic #959 and rode to the Mic Mac mall. I sat near the back. I saw a man who seemed upset and was cursing every few words. It reminded me of back when I was living in Calgary of a drunk and disorderly woman who was cursing every second to fourth word accusing people of taking her money even though it was on the ground. At one point she started throwing change around the car and deliberately spilling beer on other passengers on the C-train. I pressed the help button on the emergency intercom and had her removed from the train much to the relief of everyone else in the car. At least this man wasn't drunk!

 

††††††††††† When the bus got to Mic Mac terminal, some other transit fans and I got off and photographed 959.

 

 

††††††††††† I filmed 959 departing. I then caught articulated Classic #706 back to the Bridge terminal. On the way, I photographed Classic 966 as it passed.

 

 

††††††††††† The bus soon arrived at Bridge terminal. I got off and photographed 706.

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† I filmed 706 pulling away. I saw some more transit fans at the terminal. I photographed an LFS articulated and Nova Classic 978 before I got on.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† When 978 arrived at Mic Mac, the fans that had gotten off 959 got on the bus. We rode to the end of the route 10 then all the way to the other end. At one point, there were only bus fans on 978. The driver was the person from the CPTDB who was driving 983 the night before. At the other end, he signed up various destinations on 978's destination sign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Itís Christmas in May!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† We then rode 978 back into Halifax. Some people got off downtown. I stayed on to the Bridge terminal. I got off 978 and took two more photographs of the bus.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I waited for him to leave. However, there was a disruptive passenger who had to be removed by a Supervisor. Once the passenger was off the bus, I filmed it pulling away.†††††

 

††††††††††† I walked over to a nearby Wendy's and bought dinner. I then caught a bus back to the Dartmouth ferry terminal and walked back to my hotel. I worked on this report for a little while before I asked for a wake-up call at 7:30 am and called it a night.

 

Click here for the charter:†††† Halifax charter main event