40′ flatcar 2204 on the house track at Oba in November 1976 with track material (a switch frog). This car is from a 50 car group numbered 2201-2250. These cars appear to show up in equipment registers around 1942 according to Ian Cranstone’s roster index page and were likely built by Canadian Car & Foundry.
Photo courtesy Paul O’Shell.
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.
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.
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.
These two cars represent a series of pulpwood cars currently in service hauling logs from the former Algoma Central to mills in Michigan or Wisconsin. A close look at the car shows that these were rebuilt from older V-deck pulpwood cars with extended bulkheads and side stakes for handling larger logs.
The top photo was taken on September 30, 2013 at Hawk Junction, while the photo below is at Sault Ste. Marie on July 12, 2015. The above cars would have been set off at Langdon siding just south of Oba, where a significant loading operation was going on.
The AOK reporting mark officially belong to the Arkansas-Oklahoma Railroad, but in this case marks these cars as being leased to the railway from Greenbrier Leasing.
These two cars represent a brand new (built in February of 2015) series of bulkhead flatcars operated by Essar Steel Algoma with their own reporting marks (ESAX). The first example above, ESAX 25, was photographed in the Huron Central yard in Sault Ste. Marie on July 12, 2015. Almost an entire track appeared to be filled with these empty cars.
The second example below, ESAX 38, was photographed with a load of steel in a westbound Canadian Pacific train at White River on July 15, 2015. Presumably this car (and several other steel loads, mostly coils, next to it) were interchanged from CN at Franz.
AC 10590 is a company service assigned flatcar of unknown origin with rather simple spartan “Service” lettering. Seen here behind the Steelton engine shops with salvaged truck frames from a scrapped SD40.
1993 photo courtesy of Blair Smith.