A number of years back, Athearn came out with a model of a 50′ SIECO boxcar in their “Genesis” line of ready-to-run rolling stock models. Amongst some of the flashier US Class I and shortline schemes, one of the paint scheme offerings on this model was a spartan brown scheme with Canadian Pacific’s CPAA reporting marks.
Naturally I snapped up a half dozen of these, as plain boxcars with CPAA markings are absolutely just the thing for any 1970s-1990s Canadian model railway, especially one with significant interchange of woodpulp via the CPR. (And I got them for a relatively decent price, since many model railroaders like the flashy cars and don’t really pay attention to what actually runs out there…)
Unfortunately, after I actually started comparing the cars to prototype photos, it became clear that Athearn actually made a huge miss with these cars. The colour is rather dark, compared to photos and compared to an Atlas ACF “Precision Design” car offered in a similar scheme (but done right!), although with weathering, this variation in the cars could be worked out. However the truly nagging failure is in the lettering – and just about everything about the lettering. It’s almost as if Athearn took the description “brown car with spartan lettering” and just ran with it, without consulting photos (or the one photo they used was a really unusual, non-standard repaint…). The font isn’t remotely close, the car number is squished into two panels instead of three, and any sort of dimensional data on the right hand side of the car is completely absent.
So…. into the alcohol bath went a pair of these cars to get stripped and repainted. The lettering was pieced together from bits and pieces of various MicroScale and Highball Graphics sets. The main reporting marks and numbers specifically came from Highball’s “Transport Gothic” alphabet set, which is fairly close match to the font on the real car. ACI labels, U-1 wheel inspection dots and COTS stencils from MicroScale accesory sets round out the car lettering. The photo below is the pre-weathering result, while the photo at the top of this post shows the original out-of-the box appearance of one of this car’s sisters.
Weathering still needs to be applied, and so far I’ve completed two of these cars, sold off another two at a train show, and still have two more cars of my original six in original factory paint that I haven’t entirely decided what to do with yet – repaint as two more CPAA cars; repaint as some other spartan IPD/pool car, or sell on the train show circuit.
Today’s “Freight Car Friday” post is linked to a scan I received of an empty car waybill for the movement of an empty Canadian Pacific boxcar. The waybill shown below is for the movement of empty boxcar CPAA 208554 from Canadian Pacific’s Sault Ste. Marie yard to the CP yard at Schreiber, ON, via the Algoma Central from Sault Ste. Marie to Franz.
Note a few interesting things about the waybill: there’s no actual shipper or consignee other than CP Rail itself. The notes at the bottom where the load/commodity information would be for an actual loaded shipment indicates a particular assignment number.
Presumably, based on its destination, this car is most likely a car assigned to woodpulp loading (which I’ve written about before) and was returned empty from SOO Line to CP Rail at Sault Ste. Marie, and there it received this billing for movement up to Schreiber where it will be reassigned for loading at one of the pulp/paper mills at Red Rock, Marathon, or Terrace Bay.
The car referenced on the waybill, CPAA 208554, is one of a grouping of cars built by Berwick Forge & Fabricating for the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad (MPA) and acquired secondhand by CP Rail in the early 1980s. Later in the late 1980s-early 1990s many of these CPAA cars were renumbered CP by removing the “AA” from the reporting marks. I caught CP (ex-CPAA) 208558, part of the same group and just four numbers away from the car on the waybill, at CP Guelph Junction (Cambellville, ON) in February 2004:
A pair of modern examples of Canadian Pacific boxcars in wood pulp service at Sault Ste. Marie on July 12, 2015, arriving back in Canada from Michigan to head back to CP via the interchange at Franz.
The top car was built new for CP in 1998 by Greenbrier’s Trenton Works in Trenton, NS. The bottom car’s history is a little more obscure. An early 1970s design from Pullman-Standard, the car’s original owner before coming to CP is unknown. It would have been repainted and renumbered into its current identity in 2001 (and probably rebuilt to raise the roof and add an additional 6 inches to the interior height of the car at the same time).
The flat plates on the sides of both cars are protective covers for vents in the carbody. These vents are typical on modern cars in wood pulp service to allow moisture in the product to escape.
CP (ex-CPAA) 207289 50′ boxcar in the former ACR Steelton yard, August 19, 2004.
Most likely loaded with paper or woodpulp from the pulp mill at Espanola, interchanged to CN to head into the midwest United States, or possibly provided to the St. Marys Paper mill in Sault Ste. Marie.
Cars like this were previously also a common sight hauling baled pulp from mills on the north shore of Lake Superior south over the ACR from Franz.
Today I received the last needed decals for the excess height markings for this car in the mail and finished off the last little details on this car. Just in time to deliver it to this weekend’s operating session at the model train club.
This was kitbashed from an Intermountain 40′ boxcar, with the body cut and spliced to extend the height. One of the greatest advantages of the Intermountain kit for this job is that the roof, ends, body and doors are all separate pieces, and the ends, doors and roof on the prototype car all have their splices and extra material in different spots.
The lettering and various markings was cobbled together from a mix of Microscale, Highball Graphics and CDS sets. Photos of prototype cars show quite a variety in the exact positioning of different pieces of the lettering, no two seems quite the same.
This model is based on prototype photos of about 4 different cars in the CP 41000-41029 series (the above example courtesy Jurgen Kleylein), which was rebuilt in 1980, but I numbered it after a car in the small 3-car series 48550-48552 which existed in the mid 1970s and has the same reported dimensions and features. Unfortunately, I’ve not found any photos of any of these cars, so I’ve exercised a little modeller’s license and an educated guess that their appearance would be the same or at least similar.
The extra-tall squished multimark was custom masked and painted to fit.