Windsor and Hantsport Railway

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Windsor and Hantsport Railway
Windsor and Hantsport Railway herald.png
WHRgyptrain-20060822.jpg
WHR gypsum train westbound at Windsor, 22 Aug 2006.
Reporting mark WHRC
Locale Nova Scotia, Canada
Dates of operation 1994–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Windsor, Nova Scotia

The Windsor and Hantsport Railway (reporting mark WHRC) is a 56-mile (90.1 km) railway operating in Nova Scotia between Windsor Junction (north of Bedford) and New Minas with a spur at Windsor which runs several miles east, serving two gypsum quarries at Wentworth Creek and Mantua.

The mainline (and related spurs) were formerly owned by Canadian Pacific Railway subsidiary Dominion Atlantic Railway and were sold to shortline holding company Iron Road Railways. WHRC began operations on Saturday, August 27, 1994, making it Nova Scotia's second shortline railway after Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway was formed one year earlier.

WHR freight train westbound with 13 carloads of grain, Hantsport, 22 Aug 2006.

The WHRC route between Windsor Junction and New Minas is part of CPR's (and DAR's) former Halifax Subdivision. The section east of Windsor was built as the Windsor Branch of the Nova Scotia Railway, opening in 1858, whereas the section west of Windsor to Hantsport and ending at New Minas was built as the Windsor and Annapolis Railway between 1867-1872, which became the Dominion Atlantic Railway in 1894. The section east of Windsor to the gypsum quarries was built as the Midland Railway and opened in 1901. This was CPR/DAR's Truro Subdivision until the line east of the gypsum quarries was abandoned in the mid-1980s.

Today the WHRC has no traffic sources on the longest portion of its network, the line between Windsor and Windsor Junction, where it interchanges with Canadian National Railway on that company's Halifax-Montreal mainline. The majority of WHRC traffic originates at the two gypsum quarries on the spur running east of Windsor, whereby the gypsum is hauled by unit trains to the port at Hantsport. There are several manufacturing and agricultural-related traffic sources in New Minas, further west from Hantsport. A summer excursion passenger service between Windsor and Grand Pre was operated in the late 1990s.

WHR freight train switching at Greenwich, 28 Mar 2006.

Hantsport currently has one of the fastest ship loaders in the world. Its location on the Avon River and affected by the incredible tidal range of the Bay of Fundy, means that bulk carriers cannot stay in port longer than 3–4 hours for fear of touching bottom.

Grain cars standing on WHR siding at Greenwich, 25 May 2005.
WHR gypsum train at Falmouth, 16 Nov 2006.

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