Freight Car Friday #21 – ONT 7908


Photographed by myself in Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004, ONT 7908 is the last of a 109-car group of cars on Ontario Northland’s roster in the 7800-7908 series and acquired in 1983. While official equipment registers and therefore most other compiled roster information for the ONR lists these as a singular series due to their similar dimensions and features (from a usage perspective), there are actually at least three distinct sub groups involved:

ONT 7800-7844, built by Evans Products /197x?, ex-NSL ?
ONT 7845-7899, built by Berwick /1978, ex-MNJ 120565-120599
ONT 7900-7908, built by Evans Products /1979, ex-NSL 155150-155194

* While 7800-7844/7900-7908 are both by Evans, they are from different years of production and have differences in the side sills, so each of the three groups are different from each other.

These cars are classed with an AAR mechanical designation of “XP”, indicating special features or assignment to particular commodities. Notes in the equipment register indicate that these cars are intended for metal refinery products, so these would be used hauling processed or semi-processed nickel and copper products such as ingots or anodes from Timmins or Rouyn-Noranda. Some movements destined for the western/mid-western United States could be routed via Cochrane-Hearst-Sault Ste. Marie over the ACR.

In addition to the 7800-7908 series cars, Ontario Northland also rostered a few other groups of former St. Lawrence Railroad (NSL) boxcars, which were given ONTA reporting marks and unlike the 7800 series cars actually kept their original NSL numbers and paint, with the original lettering just patched out, which adds a little additional colour.

Series ONTA 150550-150574 and 150775-150824, comprising a total of 75 cars, were Plate C cars built by Berwick in 1979 and acquired by Ontario Northland in 1981. ORERs seem to last list either of these series around 2003.

Series ONTA 102381-102399 and 151000-151010, comprising a total of 30 cars, were Plate B cars built by Golden Tye using Berwick kits/components and also acquired in 1981, although by 1984 the 102300 series cars were off the roster and in my 1986 ORER only five of the eleven 151000 series are still listed.

Another group of 16 cars, also built by Berwick in 1980 but from an unknown original owner, were acquired in 1989 and numbered in the ONTA 3000-3015 series. These cars were painted a plain brown and also listed as assigned to zinc/copper refinery products. This series disappeared from ORER listed in the mid 1990s.

Aside: The centre-beam flatcar at right in the main photo at the top of this post, with the wrapped Tembec lumber load, likely also came from the Ontario Northland at Hearst.

CP 305513 Lettering Completed

Over the last week I’ve been managing to get a little bit of work done each evening on this car, and over the weekend, I got it painted, and after a few more evenings of work, the lettering on this car is basically completed. The car was lettered with a set from Highball Graphics for CP flatcars, with end reporting marks taken from another set, as they were unfortunately omitted (since regular flatcars would not have them, but the set is intended to be used for bulkheads as well, and any of those would have had them…)

The car number and logo in the prototype photo of the 305513 are actually a little smaller than on most CP Rail flatcars, so comparing the model to the photo the lettering is a little large, but short of having a custom set created for this car, this was close enough.


I only had photos of one side of the real car, but following standard CP Rail practice for flatcars the number and logo are located in different places on each side of the car.


All it needs now is a little weathering to give it a nice in-service look to finish it off.

CP 305513 Bulkhead Flatcar Kitbash

This week I had a chance to spend some time bringing an older project back onto the work bench – a kitbash of a somewhat lesser-known obscure Canadian Pacific bulkhead flatcar design.


This example was photographed by fellow WRMRC member Jurgen Kleylein in work train service in or near Sudbury in the late 1990s. It’s actually an interesting example of a prototype kitbash, as it is one of a 60-car series rebuilt with bulkhead ends from standard flatcars. Naturally given such a unique look, I had to plan to do one myself.


I started with an old Life-Like Proto2000 53′ flatcar kit, for which I made a new deck from Evergreen scribed sheet, and scratch-built the bulkheads from styrene sheet and strip. The main body construction was actually done some time ago, but the car has been sitting in storage since then waiting for further detailing. So this week I decided to pull this out and complete that job, adding ladders, grab irons and brake hardware.


This close-up of the end shows most of the major details. The brake hardware is from a Tichy brake details set, and the ladders are also Tichy.

Note the side ladders are mounted with small bits of styrene strip to raise them away from the sides of the wrap-around bulked, as the ladder has pass over the angled edge of the bulkhead. Likewise, as the brake hardware has to be mounted over the ribs on the ends, the brake housing and platform supports are also attached to pieces of styrene strip for mounting.

Lastly, with the final details installed over the last few days, this evening I cleaned and prepared the car for painting, and fired up the airbrush to give it an initial coat of light grey undercoat/primer.

Next up, some CP Action Red.

Freight Car Friday #20 – ACIS 1433

ACR from Blair 029

ACIS 1433 and two others photographed by Blair Smith at Steelton yard on July 9, 2001.

These three cars are among about half a dozen cars that were retained after the Newaygo sawmill at Mead closed in 1985 and the ACR’s fleet of over a hundred woodchip cars was disposed of. This small group of remaining cars were rebuilt as lumber cars for Dubreuil Brothers lumber in 1986. Here though, these cars appear to have been fixed up with their original end doors reinstalled for woodchip service. I’ve found one or two later photos of these cars in chip service on the CN/WC system in Wisconsin.