Repurpose Point

Welcome aboard!…
and welcome to Repurpose Point

An installation to repurpose historical industrial objects from Lunenburg County in support of an improved multi-user trail experience in the 3 Trails Junction area. Objects used are representative of historical industrial practices that supported the construction of the H&SW Railway in the early 1900s, as well as the industries served by that railway until the 1980’s.

Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle!

Excavator Lattice and Clam Shell Bucket

These two objects used to work together- joined by three thick steel wires that were lead along the lattice boom and attached to a rotatable table mounted on a diesel driven rig which moved on steel treads. The wires were controlled using a clutch and a rotating drum to handle the variable length of wire under load. Two of the wires would control the actions of the clam shell bucket: the hoist wires would adjust for the elevation of the bucket relative to the top of the 45’ long lattice boom, the closing wires controlled the opening and closing of the clam shell bucket. By adjusting the angle of the lattice boom to the rig, a third wire would control the height of the lattice boom itself.

Industrial objects such as these have been used in civil projects since the 1800’s. These objects were active in Lunenburg County until the early 1980’s. Similar forms of technology would have been used in the construction of the H &SW Railway in the early 1900’s. In the early 2020’s they are rarely seen, generally being only cost-effective to dig a deep narrow trench of where there is a need to move materials vertically, such as lifting them out of a confined space. This technology has been largely replaced buy hydraulically driven excavator buckets, drag buckets and larger horsepower dozers and graders.

Angle Iron and Box Beam Pile Rails for a Pile Driver

These pile driver assemblies were used in Lunenburg County until the 1980’s. The 32’ long pile rail is built using welded angle iron; the 40’ long pile rail uses welded box beams; two different methods of joinery for steel products that allow for increased load carrying capacity.
The pile rail component of a pile driver would guide a drop hammer down on to the object intended to be driven into topsoil to reach bedrock. The drop hammer is still attached to the angle iron pile rail. This drop hammer weighs roughly 1500 pounds and was last used to drive timbers of up to 40’ length to depths of 15’ in a marine environment.

Drop hammers such as these, which rely solely on gravity driven impact, are the oldest forms of pile driving technology. This type of technology would likely have been used in the construction of the H & SW Railway. By 2020, enhancements to this technology would include the integration of the drop hammer’s elevating/dropping cycle with the combustion/exhaust cycle of a diesel engine, enhancing the impact with explosives and using hydraulically driven impact drivers. Also, impact drivers operating at high impact rates can produce vibrations in the soil itself, reducing the soil’s resistance to the driven object.

H & SW Bridge Ties and Stringers

In 2021, these creosote treated timbers were recovered by the Dynamite Trail Association in conjunction with the reconstruction of the railway bridge that spanned the outfall of Commons Lake into Mahone Bay. Local knowledge has it likely that these Douglas Fir (?) timbers were not sourced from Nova Scotia (BC?), were treated offsite and transported by rail to the site of installation. The fasteners used are representative of wharf hardware generally used in this area until the mid- 20th century.

When recovered, these timbers would be well over 70 years old; and are perhaps repurposed for another 70 years at this site!
Historically, hydrocarbon-based creosote has been widely used as a wood preservative in railway, marine and industrial applications; being generally acceptable for railway uses for 25 – 50+ years. In Canada, as of 2020, new use of creosote is banned for all but railway and utility pole applications; largely replaced by timbers injected with copper and chromate solutions. If not repurposed in a landscaping application such as Repurpose Point, used creosote timbers must be disposed of at a landfill as solid waste.

National Sea Products Wharf Bumper and “Anchors Away” Installation

The marine industry and the railway industry were linked throughout the history of the H & SW Railway. The railway spur from Mahone Bay to Lunenburg terminated at the former Railway Wharf in Lunenburg harbour; with rail cars backed up from the junction at this site for the eastern journey to stations along the Lunenburg line. The wharf bumpers installed at Repurpose Point are from the Lunenburg harbour wharves of National Sea Products. These bumpers last saw duty protecting that wharfage and the 100+ foot long vessels that used to bring their catch to shore at that location. The wharfage was removed in the late 1990’s after the collapse of the offshore cod fishery on the Grand Banks.

Trawl or net anchors such as those installed here, used to be common sites at local docks of the inshore fishery in Lunenburg County. The anchors had many uses; often used to set a trawl of a baited line set on the sea bottom or, on a smaller scale, as net anchors for bait fish.
Anchors such as these would have been fabricated by a local blacksmith; a practice now largely replaced by the globalization of the manufacturing process for such objects.