Freight Car Friday #41 – CN 618212


This flatcar with a load of steel plate from Essar Steel Algoma and the unusual end braces has an interesting history on CN.

Originally built in the early 1970s as a rather standard 60′ flatcar, it was rebuilt in 1991 for assigned service hauling large aluminum ingots. The wood decking was removed and deck risers and the end braces were added. These cars remained in this service until 2011 when they were replaced by new cars built by National Steel Car and leased from Helm-Pacific. Once they were bumped from this service, CN removed the deck risers, replaced the mesh grating with solid steel decking and allowed these cars to return to general service, although they still retain those distinctive end braces from their time as aluminum ingot cars.

There were a bunch of these cars kicking around on the former ACR when a friend and I rode the Tour of the Line in the fall of 2013. Apart from a couple of loaded cars in a northbound freight that we passed at Hawk Junction, one passing siding had about a dozen empties stored in it and the night before we watched the southbound freight into Michigan head over the International Bridge with quite a few flatcars.

Photographed at Hawk Junction on September 30, 2013 from the vestibule of the northbound passenger train.

Freight Car Friday #39 – GTW 187977

Today’s entry looks at a modern CN coil steel car.


Photographed at Hawk Junction from the vestibule of the northbound passenger train, GTW 187977 is an example of one of several batches of modern cars built by National Steel Car for CN from 2006-2008 and assigned the reporting marks of CN’s subsidiary Grand Trunk Western. Currently there are a total of 890 of these NSC built cars from GTW 187400-188289, following 369 similar cars built in 2000-2003 with plain grey markings and CN numbers from CN 187000-187368.

CN 481640

This is a project I pulled out of the pile on the back burner.

IMG_8547 IMG_8549

This boxcar was an undecorated Intermountain model of a 10’0″ interior height boxcar, which I painted some time ago, and started work on the lettering, but then it got left aside.

The model was assembled from the kit as intended, except I also added a small piece of .020x.020″ strip along the botton of the sill tab at the truck bolsters to represent the jacking plate that pretty much all CN 10’0″ cars had at the bolster. The model was then airbrushed with TrueLine Trains “Mineral Brown”.

The lettering is a rub-on dry transfer set from C-D-S Lettering. Using dry transfers is quite a bit different than water slide decals, and there are a few advantages and disadvantages to both. Dry transfers apply just the lettering to the finished model and have no decal film to deal with. You can finish a model relatively quickly with them, and do both sides in an evening since you don’t have to wait for decals to dry. You don’t have the chance to move a dry transfer into position once on the model; it needs to be positioned exactly and held in place while you burnish it onto the model. It helps to apply a small piece of tape to the corners once the sheet with the lettering is located in place. The main disadvantage of dry transfers is in the smallest lettering; the printing process doesn’t allow as fine of detail as can be printed on decal paper. Also multi-coloured graphics (not an issue here with the all-white CN lettering) on C-D-S sets have the different colours printed separately.

I finally pulled this car out and finished off the lettering (except for the last couple of numbers on the Capacity and Load Limit data – that needs to be completed yet). The extra little detail bits (the yellow & black wheel inspection dot, COTS data block and ACI bar-code label) were added from various Microscale data sets.

A little bit of weathering and installation of the couplers, and this car will be just about ready for service hauling various cargos on the remote branchlines of Northern Ontario.