This unique looking car is outfitted as the south end road repair car. Due to the remoteness of the railway, if a car had to be set off in a siding somewhere due to a defect, this car would be sent in to help rescue it and effect any basic running repairs. Equipped with storage for some extra wheelsets and a light crane boom at each end and tool supply storage and a small bunk in the central structure, this car would provide the means necessary to perform the basic repairs in order to get the stricken car moving again.
Built on the underframe of one of the older retired ex-D&RGW heavyweight coaches, AC 10053 was the repair car assigned to the south end of the railway. A smaller sister car, built on a 40′ flatcar body and numbered AC 10052, served as the north end repair car.
In the 1970s this car was painted in maroon and grey colours matching the railway’s passenger cars, with a large version of the road’s black bear logo on the side. A rather attractive scheme when fresh, late 1970s photos show it to be getting rather rusty at that point and in 1980 it was repainted into this simplified silver and yellow scheme, which was also used on at least two other bunk cars rebuilt from ex-GM&O coaches.
Most similar repairs today would likely be done using a large hi-rail truck.
Photo by Blair Smith at Steelton Yard, August 1996.
Here’s another pair of water tank cars photographed in the mid 1990s at Steelton Yard (Sault Ste. Marie) by Blair Smith.
The age and origin of these cars is unknown, but these exhibit the typical silver paint on the AC’s water tanks. Note the interesting lack of ladders and running boards to actually access the dome on AC 10652 above, and the additional piping on the end of the car frame for supplying water to coupled accommodation cars.
Unlike the ex-Canadian National cars featured last week however, these cars show no obvious signs of any sort of insulation or heating. Not sure how that works in January in northern Ontario.
AC 10654 below has clearly reached the end of its service life and has been retired as it’s seen here off its trucks at Steelton shops.
Other confirmed car numbers of similar silver water tanks include AC 10648 and 10655 (the latter also lacks ladders and running boards, like 10652).
This pair (actually a trio, with AC 10656) of interesting little tank cars were acquired secondhand from Canadian National, likely somewhere around 1990(?). These cars store potable water to supply accommodation cars in work trains.
Lending to the unique appearance of these cars is the coating of spray-foam insulation on the body of the tank and small heater to prevent the tanks from freezing in the winter and that huge vent(?) fashioned from an old caboose smokejack.
Both photos courtesy of Blair Smith.
AC 10668 is another bunk car painted an unusual bright yellow colour. (This and hoistman’s bunk 10607 are the only cars I’ve seen photos of repainted all in yellow.)
10668 is a service bunk car rebuilt from one of the Algoma Central’s 9501-9520 series wooden cabooses. Several such conversions were performed in the late 1970s after new steel cabooses were purchased in 1976 to replace several of the older wooden cabooses, although a few older wooden cabooses remained on stand by service for when extra cabooses were required.
At Steelton Yard, March 1981. Photographer unknown, slide in my collection.
AC 10607 is one of the railway’s older bunk cars built from old 36′ wooden boxcars. Once the railway had several very similar or identical bunk cars all around the 1060x number range, but 10607 definitely appears to have been the last survivor from this era.
This car was assigned to the diesel hoist operator as a sleeping car. Photographed in the early 1990s at Steelton yard by Blair Smith, it was freshly repainted into this eye-catching bright yellow in 1982.