Monday, September 30, 2013

Elmsdale Fire and Emergency Services - REVISED

Just outside the Halifax Regional Municipality is the village of Elmsdale, which operates its own four apparatus fire department. Today I managed to catch two of their pieces rolled out for work in the fire hall.
Located adjacent to a major highway they are often called out for MVAs, but Elmsdale is also a growing bedroom community with light industrial and rural zones.

Pumper/tanker 211 is a Spartan Metro Star with Metalfab body and equipped with a 1050 gpm pump and 1250 gal booster tank. Certification date is April 11, 2012.

Light Rescue Medical 232 is this GMC 3500 Z21 crew cab.
For more on Elmsdale F+ES, see their web site:

ADDITION From the Shoebox:

I dug out this 1986 photo of Elmsdales Rescue Unit No.2. A Ford F-700 with Wilson's body. (Wilson's of Truro, NS was a truck body builder, now out of business.)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Western Shore VFD

Novas Scotia's extensive and well organized fire service - particularly its mutual aid system- was called upon again in this week. This time it was a major structure fire in Lunenburg which was attended by 16 departments. Many others provided coverage where units had been dispatched to Lunenburg, so the numbers of VFDs effected by the fire could reach in to the dozens.

A fire near Liverpool in 2011 was typical of the response to a major incident, and an excellent write up describes how mutual aid worked:

Among the fire districts in Nova Scotia is the Municipal District of Chester, which comprises seven volunteer departments described on their excellent web site:

One of the department is located in Western Shore, and two of their apparatus were outside on Saturday while the hall was in use for a public event run.

 1. This 1995 Chev with Lantz body is Rescue 721 and carries 6 SCBA, and extrication gear and is a first responder to MVAs and Medical calls.
2. Pumper Tanker 721 is a 2007 Navistar International 7600 with Fort Garry body. It has a 2500 gallon tank, 1250 igpm pump, 1400 ft of 5 inch and 1000 ft of 3 inch hose and foam.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Expensive rig

One of the most expensive trucks I will ever see works for the Canadian Border Services Agency. Based on a Navistar International chassis, the truck carries a container scanning unit, which performs non-intrusive examination of shipping containers on the Halifax waterfront. A similar, but possibly les sophisticated unit shown elsewhere on the 'net, was valued at $US 1 million.
With its container scanning arm extended, the driver moves the truck slowly along a container as the terminal tug and trailer remain stationary. Once completed for the day, the articulated x-ray arm folds up and stows on top of the cabin. The scanner operator(s) occupy the cabin space immediately behind the cab, which is not connected to the cab.
1. Scanning arm deployed, the truck is ready to scan a container. The open door is access to the operator's cabin.
2. Scan in progress, the tuck moves slowly parallel to the container. The terminal tug driver has vacated his cab to avoid excessive gamma ray exposure.
3. After the scan is completed, the terminal tug driver can re-enter his Ottawa and drive off.
4. Scanning completed for the day, the arm folds up.
5. Then the whole operating unit pivots in line with the chassis.
 6. With the scanning unit safely nested in place, the rig is road ready. (I have never seen the drop axle in use).


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Campers in contrast

I didn't see as many European campers arriving in Halifax this year, (but there were probably just as many as in previous years -  I just missed them). So I've added a couple of domestics for contrast.

1. and 2. This fine looking Fait Ducato box star from Switzerland boasts the usual array of stickers from the Alaska Highway and points between.

3. and 4. This Laika camper is built in a Liberty Ecovip2 chassis, which is really an older model Fiat Ducato.

And now for the domestics:

5. and 6. A battered Chev 4x4 crew cab boasts this home-made box with flames!  It made it to Halifax from Ontario and probably made it back again.

7. Renegade started off building specialised automotive trailers, expanded in camper boxes and now builds luxury RVs and fire and police command vehicles. This Freightliner is a pretty standard low end Renegade, with a plain paint job, but is smart looking. Renegade's web site is worth a look at:


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bring out the 4x4s

They seem to be everywhere these days and 4x4s are pretty much a ho-hum sight on every road, but a few distinctive ones do show up from time to time.

1. This vintage Toyota Land Cruiser VX Limited (and Right Hand Drive at that) was receiving some TLC this afternoon.
[While I normally try to take serious pictures, I couldn't resist including the background and the advert for underwear - zoom in to see]

2. Mighty Dodge Ram with serious bumper also attracted my attention this afternoon.

All truck manufacturers seem to be offering downsized models now, none more so than Navistar International with its Terra Star, also offered in 4x4.
 Of course if you can't afford the 4x4 option-just take an energy drink and bull on through.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Macks for Irving

Last year Irving Oil added a number of Kenworths to their fleet, and this year it seems to be Macks. Freightliners, their once preferred brand, seem to be relegated to the home delivery fleet now, with highway rigs almost exclusively KWs and Macks.
1. New Mack with B-train combo at the Dartmouth terminal this afternoon.

2. Odd man on the lot was this W model tombstone rad Kenny - not new - and not similar to the T800 models added last year.

For the Kenworths added last year see:


Fall is here - winter to follow

Just a cheery note that winter inevitably follows fall. Simard Suspensions in Baie-St-Paul, QC were busy this summer fitting out winter road maintenance vehicles, including this Freightliner plow/spreader.
A model 114SD, it seems to have most of the required bells and whistles, including a sizeable grit/sand/salt spreader body, also built by Simard and a heavy plow frame forward. Note the hatch in the hood, allowing for limited service without having to de-mount the plow to tilt the hood.
The under body scraper is not one I've seen before. Simard is licensed to install Everest snow plows. Everest (of Ayer's Cliff, QC) is now part of Wasau-Everest (of Wisconsin), which includes Frink and several other companies including Sno-Go so the under body unit may be a Wasau.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Western Stars - still big in Quebec

Western Stars seem to be everywhere in Quebec. Long popular in forest related work, they are now popular in the "vocational" realm, particularly for dump trucks where four axles are wanted:.
1. Ronald Savard runs this sharp twin steer WStar for Construction Eclair of La Malbaie. It runs a Gamache dump body.

2. Joceyln Harvey of La Malbaie has a large fleet, including this WStar with a lift axle and Legacé dump box.

Western Star's new 4700 model is also showing up in some numbers:
3. Simard Suspensions of Baie St-Paul had this new W4700 vocational in their yard, ready for installation of a body. Note the front bumper extension to accommodate a power take-off.

Meanwhile Truckfax has achieved some modest fame by appearing in the new Western Star vocational brochure:

To see the truck in more detail, it appears in my April 2010 Western Star coverage:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Droms - from the shoe box - plus

Digging into the old shoebox for some more drom boxes, I found a few I might not have shown before, and one oddity:

1. D. Armstrong of Mississauga, ON ran this tidy Kenworth Aerodyne with drom box for United Van Lines back in 1989.

2. Parked next to it was this low rise, double sleeper KW COE. The drom box has an aerodynamic leading edge, and gigantic fuel tanks. Borisko Bros of Richmond Hill, ON ran this rig.

3. This White Freightliner had a very unusual hi-rise sleeper back in 1989, which was not a factory model. Fliner did not offer an Aerodyne equivalent. It appears to be a short cab FL COE roof transplanted to raise the sleeper, maybe as a custom or a demo. He also has extra horns and clearance lights that may have come with the roof! The rig was plated for every province from Newfoundland to Alberta.

4. This plain vanilla International had its own type of drom. 

5. It carries its own bobcat loader, complete with ramps and protective cage. Photo at St-Siméon, QC in May 1989. Hard to imagine what he was hauling in that van that you would load or unload with a skid steer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Autocars, still alive in Quebec

Always on the look out for A'cars, I managed to spot a pair in Quebec this summer. Even though they were the later GM/Volvo version, they were still A'cars!
 1. There are a few miles on this skip hauler, but it was still earning its daily bread (Monday to Friday.)

2. Fresh from the paint shop, this twin steer was looking good. Too bad they couldn't find enough masking tape to keep the rad in chrome finish.


A pair from Lenron

Specialty carrier Lenron, from Saint John, NB, has been running into Halifax recently with materials for the Halifax Shipyard, which is owned by Irving Shipbuilding Inc of Saint John. Cranes, equipment and steel are among the commodities they have brought in.
They have used a variety of trucks such as these two:
  1. Extra clean Freightliner COE is a classic.

2. Another classic is this big rad Kenworth.

For more on Lenron see:


Saturday, September 14, 2013

Big KW does another job

As reported in sister publication Shipfax the Halifax Shipyard launched another ship today, using the big J.D.Irving Kenworth that I have shown before, as a counter wight to control the launching cradle as it was eased down the launch way.
A cable, a bit longer than the launch way, is connected to the front to pin on the KW and runs through a big sheave at the top end of the launch way, then to the cradle.The sheave is needed because the launch way is at about a 45 degree angle to road way that the truck can run on. With a big ballast box on the truck it counters the weight of the ship and cradle, and some gravity, due to the slope the launch way. 
After the launch, workers removed the ballast box and the truck was hastily loaded aboard a J.D.Irving trailer, and whisked off to its next job.
 1. Barreling out of the shipyard at top speed of about 30 mph the KW makes an impressive sight (and sound).

2. Truck and trailer waiting for the haul away.

3. Well equipped Western Star stands ready.

4. In a very pretty piece of driving, the KW backed onto the trailer in one move, with front tires exactly lined up with the center lines on the edge of the boarding ramps. (The trailer's outriggers are fully extended with heavy timber decking.) Timber crane pads are used to elevate the front tires to clear the gooseneck.

5. One more shot of the KW, dwarfing the WStar that will haul it away.