Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

After a prolonged break Truckfax will be back after Christmas. In the meantime enjoy a peaceful and joyous Christmas.

Where's the Fire?

In 1971 the old Halifax Infirmary hospital was plagued with false alarms and engines from the University Avenue station seemed to be plowing a path to the hospital daily or more often. One pleasant evening in the summer, the driver of this gleaming King Seagrave was calling in to the dispatcher while his pump man waited at the cab door for instructions.
The hospital stores, boiler room and laundry had a rear service alley off Morris Street where this photo was taken.


Monday, November 18, 2013

American LaFrance from the shoebox

By way of contrast to modern looking fire apparatus here's a dip into the oldies shoebox from the northern Maine community of Caribou.

The classic American LaFrance 'bathtub" is probably the image many of us have in mind as the definitive firetruck. If you will pardon my saying - all fire trucks look alike these days, but certainly a LaFrance was identifiable from miles away!
One nice little department of the 1980s was Caribou, Maine, with an "all LaFrance" lineup. I happened to stumble across it on a day when they were swamping out the floors of the truck bays, and so had four rigs out on the apron. I am showing the Kodachrome slides, full frame:

1. The newest was this pumper with an extended roof canopy, but otherwise open to the weather. Those Maine firemen must have been tough.

2. Number 2 was an older model which seemed to have a back wall on the cab.

3. This monster conventional wore number 3. It probably had a Packard V-12 gasoline engine.

4. Number 4 was the oldest of the bathtub types in the hall.

5. Rounding out the roster on that day, was Number 8, a LaFrance tanker/pumper on a Chev 80 commercial chassis.

6. Old number 3 had the usual pump panel ahead of the firewall.

7. What can I add?

I now regret that I didn't copy any information on the trucks, so I would welcome any more details.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Toronto Trip - Part 2

Very close to the location of my meetings in Toronto was station 332. Part of the Toronto Fire Service's South Command and very close to the financial district,  it is an extraordinarily busy station.

1. Even with six drive through bays, it is not unheard of to have all apparatus out on calls, with backups on the way. To add to the interest, it faces Adelaide Street, which is one way east.
On my way to work one morning, a small fire had broken out in a sidewalk grating in front of a high rise on Richmond Street, at the corner of University. The response was impressive, with apparatus arriving from three directions. Richmond is one way westbound at that point, so apparatus from station 332 had to go east then north then west to reach the scene.
2. A district chief arrived in a standard TFS Ford van.
3. First on scene was Rescue 325, followed by Pumper 332, a 2002 Spartan Advantage-Smeal.
4. R325 got to work right away. It is a 2013 Spartan-Crimson Fire, just delivered in October.
4. High Rise 332 was not far behind. it is a 2005 Spartan Metro Star-Dependable, and is the only high rise unit in the department.
5. Squad 331 arrived via a side street, and an aerial rig hovered nearby which I did not see. S331 is a 2012 Spartan Gladiator-Dependable.
Checking out Station 332 at lunch time I was treated to these:
6. Command 30 (one of three in the department) uses a 2012 Freightliner MT55 -EVI Dependable.
7. Tower 331 is a 2005 E-One Cyclone with a 114 ft Bronto Skylift aerial.
8. Mechanical Response Unit MRU 20 runs this GMC 850  built by Seagrave.
The next day at lunch time I checked in again and found:
9. Another aerial, this one A312, a 2004 Spartan Gladiator - Smeal with 105 ft aerial.

10. And more district chief vans.
The Toronto Fire Service is Canada's largest, and fifth largest in North America. There are numerous references on the web, including an impressive unofficial photo gallery:

Toronto trip - Part 1

A very quick business trip to the big smoke allowed for a few minutes of truck watching while going to and fro between meetings, meals and hotel. Most of what I saw was construction related (except for Part 2 which will follow in due course) and therefore pretty ordinary. Not so ordinary was this impressive Mack Titan running for Roni Excavating.

Chromed everything, including a back of cab roll bar/light frame, the truck was pulling a J.C.Trailers float, which loaded a digger arm while I was at lunch and the driver was just tying it down on my way back. Why aren't there more of these on the road!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pete from the bright red mud

Red Skye Trucking from Cornwall, PE are daily callers in Halifax with a variety of containers, usually reefer types carrying fish or produce.They may even carry spuds.
Today's shot is a nicely spruced up Peterbilt (386 probably), but what made it stand out for me was the hubcaps on the trailer. Usually container trailers are pretty basic, and often don't belong to the trucker, but to some other company.
This truck has a low rise sleeper and chromed air foil on the roof along with a ton of other chrome. Too bad the containers get so banged around that they aren't very attractive.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October round up - north end traffic 24/7

During the past month the north end of peninsular Halifax experienced a boom in traffic. The usual activity at the Fairview Cove container terminal and CN's intermodal yard is significant, but usually dies down somewhat in the evenings. So has traffic from the expansion of pier 9, now that they have completed round the clock pouring of concrete.
But the Halifax Shipyard expansion project is now seeing 24/7 dump truck traffic, with mountains of gravel coming in to fill in a new pier. To move all the fill and do the other construction there is a constant flow of cranes, loaders and other gear in and out of the site as needed. Not only that but precast concrete beams and panels arrive several times a day  for the shipyard's new parking garage.

Most of this traffic is using the Africville Road, and it is rare that there isn't at least one truck in sight at any time.
A sampling:
1. Atlantic Tiltload's Freightliner 18 hauls an Irving Equipment Link-Belt crane (with New Brunswick plates).Today
2. Gulf Operators' (an Irving company) Western Star hauls a Cat crawler, while a loaded Municipal Sterling dumper heads inbound and a Western Star with a walking bed dumper is outbound empty. Today

3. Precast concrete from Strescon (another Irving owned company) arrives on a variety of Sunbury trucks and some independents.October 16

4. Fairview Cove traffic also includes breakbulk that will be palletized or containerized in the terminal. This well illuminated KW day cab brings in a load of Nova Scotia lumber. October 18.

5. A former Toronto airport crew bus arrived October 9 for export. It had no manufacturer's markings. It was operated by Calssada Investments Ltd.

6. Vintage R model Mack dumper arrived October 8, also for export. It bears a lot number sticker from a Ritchie Bros. auction.

7. In amongst the usual container traffic, Atlantic Tiltload had this stretch drop deck trailer carrying a foldable type container with cable reels October 17.
8. A pair of Kenworth drivers affix radioactive placards to a container carrying containment casks. RSB Logistic of Saskatoon, SK, St. Louis, MO and Paducah, KY specialize in uranium transportation. October 18

9. Atlantic Tiltload again with an odd load. This blue box, when filled with water, is used by ZPMC crane manufacturer to test their new cranes. Atlantic was moving the box from outside the terminal to inside the terminal. (They did not go out on the roads with the load unsecured.)
October 24,


Monday, October 28, 2013

Mills Western Star - all feet on the floor

Mills Heavy Hauling pulled this large Cat out of Fairview today. It is not often that I get to see the drop axle actually dropped, and the fourth axle on the trailer also in use.

1. Though my front windshield distorts the colour, the photo does show the "business side" of the Cat. It looks like pipeline laying gear.

2. Once out of the terminal the Star awaits an escort car. The Cat's model number wasn't visible, but it was carrying an owner's inventory number of 96V00698.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dartmouth Fire Department

Pre-amalgamation in 1996, the City of Dartmouth, NS, maintained its own independence on the east side of Halifax harbour. Dartmouth was founded in 1750 (one year after Halifax) and still maintains its identity, as a community within the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), but all services, including fire fighting, are carried out by the HRM.
When it was still an independent city it had a sizable fire department. Here is an album of some of its apparatus from the old shoebox (headings indicate the year the picture was taken)


1. 1977 Ford-Thibault 1050 gpm pumper operated from Station 4 in lower Burnside.

2. This little 1950s International tanker was not typical of Dartmouth's roster. It was probably used as a brush truck.

3. 1976 Ford-Thibualt, rear-mount 100 ft aerial also ran from Station 4.


4. Tower 2 ran this Mack CF, with Baker Aerialscope 100 foot mid-mount platform.It was built by Thibault in 1976


5. No.14 Pumper operated this 1970 Thibault 1250 gpm from the Station 1 on King Street. The ubiquitous Cincinnati Cab was Thibault's custom cab.

6. No.18 Pumper ran a similar 1973 Thibualt 1250 gpm custom cab. Even though it was the first day of spring, both units were fitted with tire chains.


7. Classic 1965 American LaFrance 1250 gpm No.11 seen at Station 2 in Woodside. Tire chains were standard in January.


8. Checking out Number 4 aerial at station 4 - see also 1978 above.


9. Dartmouth ran this Dodge rescue for many years. It carried number 24.


10. 1981 Ford L9000 Pierreville 840 gpm pumper/ 1000 gal tanker/ 40lb foam carried several numbers, including 3 and 12 during its career. 

11. (undated possibly 1986)


12. Thibault built this aerial on a Ford C chassis, and it was assigned to Station 4, replacing another 1976 Thibualt aerial on a Ford C chassis -see photoS above.


13. Late model Ford C-Thibault (ca. 1987)was 1050/600 pumper number 1. Note the handrail around the back of the cab.


14. Tibotrac built this emergency response unit on a Ford Cargo chassis.

15. Chev StepVan served as a mobile command unit.


16. Another view of the newer number 4 aerial, see also 1990 above.

17. Metalfab built this pumper No.1 on a Ford Cargo chassis. The crew box has a side door.

18. In 1982 this Plymouth Fury station wagon saw duty in a variety of roles. 

19. A sunny day view of No.11 LaFrance, in April 1979, with the chains off.