Freight Car Friday #3 – AC 2917

ACR from Blair 040

AC 2917 is one of several former Ontario Northland boxcars acquired second-hand by the Algoma Central to replace aging wooden boxcars in local express, wayfreight and company service.

Photographed at Steelton yard by Blair Smith on September 22, 1996.

Photos of the Line

I’ve been spending some time recently on a project to go over my trip photos from my ride on the Tour of the Line and using Picasa and Google Earth to geotag the images from along the line.

I’ve recently uploaded my Algoma Central photos to a Google+/Picasa Web album, which you can check out here. The album contains over 750 images, from several visits to the former ACR in 2004 (Sault Ste. Marie only), twice in 2013 (Sault/Searchmont/Hawk Junction by car in the summer, and the Tour of the Line trip in the fall), and 2014 (Agawa Canyon Tour Train trip) as well as a few older 1981 photos from my slide collection.

Every one of the posted photos in the album is geotagged with it’s GPS coordinates, or at least as close as I can figure them. I was actually able to figure out very close locations for the majority of my photos by fixing certain known locations, and following the line on satellite imagery and reviewing photos in sequence, and noting and comparing features in the satellite imagery and an old ACR track diagram to my photos and the sequence in which they were taken.

Geotag Full Railway

GPS location information on 750+ images in my Picasa album.

(Note – if you’re viewing the album in a mobile browser, that version of the web page doesn’t seem to provide any way of seeing the location information for a selected photo. If you’re viewing on a regular desktop browser, expand the Photo Details section at the right to see the little key map.)

Geotag Montreal Falls-Hubert

Location detail, Montreal Falls to Hubert.

Geotag Agawa Canyon

Location detail, Agawa Canyon and Eton.

For a neat visual representation, click here to download a Google Earth .KMZ file (23 Mb) that overlays a small thumbnail of each image in the entire album on the map and satellite imagery.

I wanted to make more of my photos from the Tour of the Line available to other ACR fans and modellers, and I think the geotag information should really help relate everything together.

Early Samples of Bowser’s HO Scale Canadian SD40-2 Displayed

This week Bowser posted photos on their website (and also emailed out to various contacts) of pre-production sample models of 11 different variations of their upcoming Canadian SD40-2 HO scale model.

All of the models are patterned after the versions built by General Motors Diesel Division in London, ON and represent the distinctly Canadian features that were unique to units built in Canada (vertical style ladder steps and modified handrails to match) and typical to Canadian railways (headlight in nose, cab front bell, class lights in single or 3-light groups above the number boards, single rear back-up headlight on most versions, railroad specific plow/pilot and ditch light configurations, snowshields (on certain versions) etc.).

Railways and versions represented by the 11 variants include Canadian Pacific (multiple variants), British Columbia Railway (at least 2 versions), Ontario Northland (non-dynamic brake), Quebec, North Shore & Labrador (with extra large fuel tank) and last but not least, Algoma Central. (I foresee an order for six units in my future…)


Pre-production sample, HO scale Algoma Central SD40-2. Bowser Manufacturing Company model and photo.

This appears to be the AC version, with a pair of CP versions in the background. (Specific features: single class lights on numberboards, snow plow, RR-specific M.U. electrical connection stands, pilot lift rings, pilot mounted ditch lights, snowshields, flat-top radiator and dynamic brake fans, electrical contact access doors on side of dynamic brake housing, straight turbo exhaust, wire radiator grilles, single rear backup headlight.)

Check out the photos of all 11 versions on Bowser’s web site here:

SD40-2 Page 1
SD40-2 Page 2

Freight Car Friday #2 – AC 8010

scan 007

Photographed in October 1993 by Blair Smith, AC 8010 is an example of a series of 100 cars built by National Steel Car in 1971 for the Algoma Central. Aside from the totally unique bathtub shape of the car body, the cars feature a chain-driven longitudinal hopper opening; this feature was apparently not well appreciated by crews when it froze up in the winter. Another 100 cars were apparently planned, but cancelled, with the railway instead ordering 300 rapid-discharge triple hoppers for delivery in 1974-75.

Freight Car Friday #1 – AC 433

To keep this blog a little more active and interesting, and to share a bit of the collection, I’m going to try this new feature. On a semi-regular basis, I’ll schedule these posts for Friday mornings.

“Freight Car Friday” posts will normally consist one or two related photos of an Algoma Central freight car, or some other freight car subject related to the AC. This might be a prototype shot or a model shot. It might be an AC car, or a non-AC car photographed on the AC, or otherwise related in some context. It might be a revenue service or non-revenue car. It may or may not include a lot of commentary with the photo.

So check back in here on Fridays for a regular dose of freight cars. I should have enough material to keep this going for quite a while.

I’ll lead off the series with this photo of AC 433 at Steelton yard, taken on July 28, 2014 from the Agawa Canyon Tour Train on my summer railfanning vacation to northern Ontario.


The 400 series number on this car was assigned by Wisconsin Central in the late 1990s. The lettering style marks this as originally from somewhere in the AC 601-875 series of 52’6″ gondolas built by National Steel Car in two separate batches in 1959 and 1961. Notice though the additional little angle iron brackets along the top edge of the car side in several places; these appear to be attachment points for clamping down covers for protecting coil steel loads, indicating that prior to its renumbering to the 400 series by WC for work service, this was either a 925-934 or 975-984 series coil steel service car (these two groups were drawn from former 601-875 series cars; another group of 25 cars numbered 900-924 was acquired new in 1961 for coil steel service). When in coil steel service, they would have colourful bright yellow painted 3 piece steel covers to protect the load. It’s now one of five AC gondolas on hand at Steelton yard loaded with track panel sections and track materials for effecting quick repairs to a section of track.