Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dartmouth III heading west

The oldest of the Halifax harbour ferries has been sold and will be heading to Toronto to work for the Toronto Island Transit Service Inc. Dartmouth III dates from 1979 when it was built by Ferguson Industries in Pictou, NS (Hull No. 205). It arrived in Halifax on May 3, 1979 but did not enter service until September 10, 1979. That was the day that it and its sister Halifax III (Ferguson Hull No. 206)
replaced the 1956 era wooden ferries Dartmouth II and Halifax II. Your faithful reporter made a one way cruise on each during his noon time lunch hour on that day.

At that time the ferry service was operated by the then City of Dartmouth, and so it was that Dartmouth III was christened by Genevieve Brownlow the wife of Dartmouth mayor Daniel Brownlow on Sunday, September 9. There was an open house and trial cruise in the harbour.

The two boats were state of the art vessels, propelled by Voith-Schneider cycloidal drives and were especially configured for the new ferry terminals in Halifax and Dartmouth, with offset wheelhouse and side loading ramps.

Cycloidal drives are rarely visible, and difficult to explain. The vertical vanes rotate on a turnatable. The captain adjusts the pitch of the vanes to go forward or in reverse or in fact any direction, including sideways.
The Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth and Halifax County formed Metro Transit in 1981 to operate the area's bus services, but it was not until 1994 that the commission took over the ferry service. In 1996 when the three municipalities joined to form the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), the new body operated the transit services directly but it was still called Metro Transit. In 2014 it was rebranded Halifax Transit and the HRM was re-branded Halifax (minus the cross bars on the As).
[Despite all this the areas of Halifax and Dartmouth are still used in common parlance and in postal addresses, and in this blog.]

 Dartmouth III dressed all over and with a large load of passengers during Tall Ships 2009.

Dartmouth III was removed from service in 2016 after new ferries came into service and it laid up over the last winter at the former Coast Guard base in Dartmouth.  On June 5 it was towed out to Sambro by Halifax Tugger and Capt. Jim and hauled out on the slip at the Canadian Maritime Engineering shipyard.

On the slip at Sambro Head
It will be interesting to see how the Dartmouth III will get to Toronto. It might be possible to sail on its own hull, but at 8 knots and no sleeping accommodation it would make a long trip of many short hops.
It seems an unlikely candidate for a tow since it relies on its propulsion system to stay on track. Perhaps on a barge?

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