Painting/Weathering Modern Gondola Interiors

If you actually look at most modern gondolas out there today, you’ll find that most open top cars from the last 30 years or so actually don’t have any interior paint or coating, but instead the interior of the cars are raw, unpainted steel (other than perhaps some overspray from the painting of the exterior of the car).

Of course, with some exceptions, most model cars do not reflect this and instead of masking and painting the interior a rust or brown colour (which would really still need to be painted/weathered for a proper rusty steel look anyway) the whole car, interior and exterior, is painted the body colour.

I was having a bit of a painting and weathering weekend this weekend, and got out this sextet of Atlas Trainman SIECO gondolas to paint the interiors “rust”.

Six Atlas Trainman gondolas with the interiors painted to look like bare steel with rust. (Exterior weathering still to be done in this shot.)

To get a good steel colour, I start by giving the inside of the cars a good base coat of Gun Metal. This gives a nice dark metallic colour as a base to work on. Then the rust colouring is added with several very thin coats of Rail Brown, Roof Brown and Rust. These brown/rust coats should be very light and thin, not going for solid coverage and allowing the lower colours to show through. The layers of colours and natural variation created by the light, uneven coats of brown/rust provide a nice rusty steel look.

I may complete the weathering with additional application of rust-coloured powders and some bits of debris from former loads, but the basic painting of the interior to change it from the main body colour (bright blue for the two GTW cars) to something that looks like unpainted steel really gets the cars popping with minimal effort.

Freight Car Friday #60 – BR 50222

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BR 50222 is an interesting woodpulp service boxcar with a storied history. The car was originally built for the Southern Railroad (SOU) by Pullman-Standard. The “waffle” pattern of the car sides accomodated load tie-down attachment points on the inside of the car. Southern acquired a large number of these “waffle-side” boxcars from Pullman-Standard, and this design would become a real signature car on that railway. Only a few other identical examples were built for some of the “Family Lines” railways which later became part of CSX.

This particular car was sold by Southern to Helm Leasing (HLMX) and was reconditioned for woodpulp service with end reinforcement and carbody vents in the corners and then saw service on BC Rail as BCOL 850222. When BC Rail let the lease expire, they were renumbered BR and dropped the leading 8 from the car number. Currently these BR cars are commonly seen in woodpulp service for Canadian Pacific.

At Hawk Junction, July 19, 2017.

Freight Car Friday #59 – GROX 50008

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GROX 50008 is an example of the pulpwood flatcars commonly seen around log sidings on the former ACR currently. Most of the cars I saw were either these GROX cars or cars with VRSX reporting marks, which were even more commonly. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get photos of any of the VRSX cars from the train.

This empty flatcar was caught at Hawk Junction on July 19, 2017

Freight Car Friday #51 – NOKL 732348

An innovation in the 1970s was the design and development of the centre-divided bulkhead flatcar for the shipping of lumber. Designed with a central truss structure that both strengthened the car and supported the load without the need for additional stabilization in the load and equipped with built in ratchets and tie down cables to eliminate a lot of strapping and with or without deck risers for the first row of packaged lumber bundles. This made it much easier to load packaged and bundled lumber as bundles no longer needed to be staggered in order to create a solid and secure load and a lot of waste generated in the form of strapping and blocking material is prevented.

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NOKL 732348 was photographed on July 16, 2015 at Hearst (Wyborn siding) with a load of lumber from Lecours Lumber in Calstock, Ontario. Leased flatcars with the reporting marks of shortline Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad (actually a mark used by cars leased to various railways by First Union) are among the most commonly seen in this service, and these blue painted cars in the series NOKL 732300-732349 and 733050-733099 (built by National Steel Car in 2000 and 1998 respectively) are specifically leased to Ontario Northland. Brown painted NOKL 734500-734599 – built by NSC in 2004 – also seems to be a series exclusively seen in ONR service in addition to Ontario Northland’s own ONT 4100-4149 series, built by NSC in 1997.

Series Builder Date
ONT 4100-4149 NSC 1997
NOKL 732300-732349 NSC 2000
NOKL 733050-733099 NSC 1998
NOKL 734500-734599 NSC 2004

Additionally, CN provides some cars for loading in the area, in various family reporting marks (CN, IC, WC, BCOL, etc.) and a few other NOKL groups.

Freight Car Friday #49B – HS Woodpulp Boxcars

A bonus extra post for today’s Freight Car Friday feature.

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These cars bearing HS reporting marks are also common mixed in with the CP wood pulp service boxcars. These cars are leased to CP for wood pulp service by GE Railcar Services. These cars are a wild variety of seemingly random small sub-groups of cars from various builders (the above car is an FMC, while the bottom car is built by Berwick and coupled on both ends to other HS cars built by ACF) making any sort of even basic guesses as to their heritage impossible.

Most of these cars are older (early 1970s built) “plate B” cars rebuilt to raise the roof and extend the inside height from 10’6″ to 11’0″. All feature the distinctive carbody vents marking their assignment to wood pulp service. The Berwick car below also has reinforcing panels added to the car ends, as does a CP car coupled to the left of the HS 61554 above.

The top photo of a freshly shopped HS 61554 was taken in July 2015 at Hawk Junction, while the below photo of HS 61213 is at Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004.

HS 61213

Additional leased cars bearing short line reporting marks SLGG, OAR, BR and YVRR (the former two being more common in 2004 and not so much seen now, and the latter two coming on the scene more around 2012 or so) are also commonly mixed in to the wood pulp fleet.