Freight Car Friday #40 – WC 62630

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A bit older than the modern CN and CP cars recently pictured, although still a little outside my personal targeted mid-1980s modelling era, is this Wisconsin Central gondola for coil steel service.

Originally built for the SOO Line and acquired during WC’s startup in 1986, this car has unusually deep sides and covers to protect the coil steel load.

Similar WC covered gondolas would have been a common sight in Sault Ste. Marie during the 1990s.

Photo taken by myself in Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004.

Freight Car Friday #39 – GTW 187977

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

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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.

Freight Car Friday #38 – FURX Coil Steel Gondolas

Today’s post features additional coil steel cars leased to Canadian Pacific, and commonly seen carrying steel coils eastward from Essar Steel Algoma over the Huron Central to interchange with CP at Sudbury.

These cars with FURX reporting marks are part of a group of 100 cars leased to Essar Steel Algoma from First Union Rail, the rail leasing and financing arm of First Union Bank. These cars were originally built by Alstom in 1999 as part of NOKL 380601-380850 series.

Officially the NOKL reporting marks are registered to the Northwestern Oklahoma Railroad, but in reality cars with the NOKL reporting mark are owned by First Union and leased to other railroads. Some of these NOKL (like these three here) have been re-marked to FURX and SMW (another First Union managed mark). I’m not sure why First Union sometimes transfers cars between their various marks (FURX, NDYX, NOKL and SMW) but I’m sure there is a organizing system to this in their accounting department and may or may not have something to do with whether a railroad or private operator is leasing the cars.

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Three photos taken by myself on two separate visits in 2013.

Recently, a group of these FURX/NOKL cars have been rotating through Ontario Northland Railway’s car shops in North Bay for inspection and repairs prior to lease return; they seem to be largely being replaced by the cars leased from CIT Group featured last week.

Freight Car Friday #37 – CIGX Coil Steel Gondolas

A lot of the rail traffic handled in the Sault Ste. Marie area has always been steel products from the Algoma Steel (now Essar Steel Algoma) mill. With the decline in forestry products from northern Ontario and the closure of the St. Marys Paper mill in Sault Ste. Marie (previously served by the former ACR), the Essar traffic is truly in the majority.

Essar produces many types of steel products including plate, pipe, beams and of course thin sheet steel (which is shipped in large coils). These CIGX marked cars represent a large proportion of the cars currently carrying steel coils eastbound over the Huron Central and Canadian Pacific.

These particular cars are leased (presumably by either CP or Essar Steel Algoma) from CIT Group, and these number series appear to have materialized in 2012-2013. These are all second-hand cars from a few different sources.

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Our first example, CIGX 803021 was actually originally built in 1999 by Thrall Car as part of series CP 346300-346499. It was re-marked CIGX in late 2012 or early 2013.

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CIGX 803049 was built by National Steel Car in 1999 or 2000, and is likely ex-TR. TR translates to Tomahawk Railway, but this is likely one of those “marks of convenience” actually used by one of the large leasing companies like CIT, First Union or GE for cars leased to railroads as TR is one of those reporting marks that’s disproportionately common for a 6-mile long shortline railroad. I’m not entirely sure which company actually owns TR marked cars though.

I used to see these cars in their original markings running on CP here in southern Ontario fairly regularly in the early 2000s; it’s possible these were leased to CP back then as well, and the lease conditions or ownership has changed.

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CIGX 802979 is drawn from another series of former TR cars, also built by National Steel Car around 1999-2000 and remarked to CIGX in 2013.

A fair bit of this coil traffic ends up at a transload/distribution operation alongside CP’s former Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Abderdeen Yard in Hamilton, ON.

Freight Car Friday #12 – CP 344702

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This Canadian Pacific gondola is one of a series outfitted with coil steel bunks and normally has a protective fiberglass cover applied to it to protect the steel coils (you can see some similar covered cars in the background) but here the cover is missing and you can see into the interior and see how the coil bunks and bracing are designed.

CN and CP both supplied a lot of cars for steel loading at Algoma Steel, so covered gondolas like this would not have been an uncommon site in the Algoma Central yards in Sault Ste. Marie, and CP traffic to western Canada would have been interchanged at Franz.

This car was photographed on July 30, 2014 in the CP yard at Sudbury so it would actually be on the way to Sault Ste. Marie for a load of steel coils.