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Thirty-three years ago, on Saturday, May 30, 1987, VIA Rail ran its first, and so far, only excursion train in Nova Scotia.  The special left the Halifax Station early in the day and travelled to the Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, some 72 miles away.  It arrived in ample time for the passengers to enjoy the parade before returning to Halifax late in the afternoon.  

Sadly, after a run of 87 years, the Apple Blossom Festival twice named one of the top 100 festivals in North America, has been deferred this year to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Nonetheless, Kentville’s mayor will be touring neighbourhood communities on Saturday, May 30, 2020, on a self-driving float to bring some fun to residents.  
VIA’s excursion train was powered by FPA-4 6781, one of several equipped with ditch-lights and special glazing to meet FRA requirements as it regularly travelled through northern Maine on the point of the ATLANTIC.  The 1,800 hp unit was built by for the CNR by MLW in 1959 and retired by VIA 30 years later.  Unlike 18 of the 34 FPA-4s constructed exclusively for the CNR, the 6781 did not survive in preservation or operation by a subsequent owner.  Although a rare visitor to the Annapolis Valley, the 6781 was not a pioneer as decades earlier, another FPA-4 had led the Royal Train of HRH Princess Margaret from Yarmouth to Halifax.  Unfortunately, this excursion’s consist is unknown to me, but an E-class sleeper is visible in the five-car consist.   


The excursion is passing Falmouth, Mileage 32.9 of the former Dominion Atlantic Railway’s Halifax Subdivision.  The track to Kentville and thence to Annapolis was completed by the Windsor and Annapolis Railway beyond the original Nova Scotia Railway’s Windsor terminus, Mileage 31.6, on Saturday, December 18, 1869.  The DAR was formed in 1894 and leased by the CPR on Monday, November 13, 1911.  

The DAR assumed the lease of the Windsor Junction to Windsor portion opened on Thursday, June 3, 1858, by the Nova Scotia Railway.  The latter was organized by the Nova Scotia Government to construct the first railways to Truro and Windsor.  The Railway passed to the federal government with Confederation in 1867, ultimately being owned by Canadian National.  When CP Rail abandoned operations in Nova Scotia in August 1994, the remaining lines were operated by the Windsor and Hantsport, an Iron Road Railways subsidiary until November 2011.  
 
In the background are examples of the apple warehouses which were once common along the railway in the Annapolis Valley.  The Valley famously exported apples, primarily to Great Britain, for decades before World War II.  Some apple-based traffic lingered on until the 1970s.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Bill Linley all rights reserved.



Caption: Thirty-three years ago, on Saturday, May 30, 1987, VIA Rail ran its first, and so far, only excursion train in Nova Scotia. The special left the Halifax Station early in the day and travelled to the Apple Blossom Festival in Kentville, some 72 miles away. It arrived in ample time for the passengers to enjoy the parade before returning to Halifax late in the afternoon.

Sadly, after a run of 87 years, the Apple Blossom Festival twice named one of the top 100 festivals in North America, has been deferred this year to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Kentville’s mayor will be touring neighbourhood communities on Saturday, May 30, 2020, on a self-driving float to bring some fun to residents. VIA’s excursion train was powered by FPA-4 6781, one of several equipped with ditch-lights and special glazing to meet FRA requirements as it regularly travelled through northern Maine on the point of the ATLANTIC. The 1,800 hp unit was built by for the CNR by MLW in 1959 and retired by VIA 30 years later. Unlike 18 of the 34 FPA-4s constructed exclusively for the CNR, the 6781 did not survive in preservation or operation by a subsequent owner. Although a rare visitor to the Annapolis Valley, the 6781 was not a pioneer as decades earlier, another FPA-4 had led the Royal Train of HRH Princess Margaret from Yarmouth to Halifax. Unfortunately, this excursion’s consist is unknown to me, but an E-class sleeper is visible in the five-car consist.

The excursion is passing Falmouth, Mileage 32.9 of the former Dominion Atlantic Railway’s Halifax Subdivision. The track to Kentville and thence to Annapolis was completed by the Windsor and Annapolis Railway beyond the original Nova Scotia Railway’s Windsor terminus, Mileage 31.6, on Saturday, December 18, 1869. The DAR was formed in 1894 and leased by the CPR on Monday, November 13, 1911.

The DAR assumed the lease of the Windsor Junction to Windsor portion opened on Thursday, June 3, 1858, by the Nova Scotia Railway. The latter was organized by the Nova Scotia Government to construct the first railways to Truro and Windsor. The Railway passed to the federal government with Confederation in 1867, ultimately being owned by Canadian National. When CP Rail abandoned operations in Nova Scotia in August 1994, the remaining lines were operated by the Windsor and Hantsport, an Iron Road Railways subsidiary until November 2011.

In the background are examples of the apple warehouses which were once common along the railway in the Annapolis Valley. The Valley famously exported apples, primarily to Great Britain, for decades before World War II. Some apple-based traffic lingered on until the 1970s.

Photographer:
Bill Linley [55] (more) (contact)
Date: 05/30/1987 (search)
Railway: VIA Rail (search)
Reporting Marks: VIA 6781 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: Mileage 32.9 Halifax Sub (search)
City/Town: Falmouth (search)
Province: Nova Scotia (search)
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Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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