Freight Car Friday #58

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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.

Freight Car Friday #56

Today’s “Freight Car Friday” post is linked to a scan I received of an empty car waybill for the movement of an empty Canadian Pacific boxcar. The waybill shown below is for the movement of empty boxcar CPAA 208554 from Canadian Pacific’s Sault Ste. Marie yard to the CP yard at Schreiber, ON, via the Algoma Central from Sault Ste. Marie to Franz.

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Note a few interesting things about the waybill: there’s no actual shipper or consignee other than CP Rail itself. The notes at the bottom where the load/commodity information would be for an actual loaded shipment indicates a particular assignment number.

Presumably, based on its destination, this car is most likely a car assigned to woodpulp loading (which I’ve written about before) and was returned empty from SOO Line to CP Rail at Sault Ste. Marie, and there it received this billing for movement up to Schreiber where it will be reassigned for loading at one of the pulp/paper mills at Red Rock, Marathon, or Terrace Bay.

The car referenced on the waybill, CPAA 208554, is one of a grouping of cars built by Berwick Forge & Fabricating for the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad (MPA) and acquired secondhand by CP Rail in the early 1980s. Later in the late 1980s-early 1990s many of these CPAA cars were renumbered CP by removing the “AA” from the reporting marks. I caught CP (ex-CPAA) 208558, part of the same group and just four numbers away from the car on the waybill, at CP Guelph Junction (Cambellville, ON) in February 2004:

Freight Car Friday #55

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For this installment of Freight Car Friday we turn the clock way back to May 6, 1957 to look at one of the Algoma Central’s 48’6″ drop-end mill gondolas in its original 1947 as-delivered paint and lettering.

The lighting is a little dark and the image is of course in Black and White, so it doesn’t convey colour information, but this early spartan scheme (dressed up with the bear logo towards the right-hand end of the car side) features a black car body with white lettering – except the rings encircling the bear logo are in red. This paint scheme was typical of all AC steel gondolas from the late 1940s and was also applied to the home-built 39′ and 40′ gondolas in the 4601-4804 series.

While the billboard lettering with the ALGOMA CENTRAL name spelled out across the car side in 24″ tall letters and the bear herald in the centre is more familiar to most fans and modelers, and was applied to these cars n later years, the original delivery of these cars predates the first use of that lettering in 1958 on the new 52’6″ cars. (Also note that the familiar image of the billboard lettering is of a black car with white lettering, the original late 1950s version of this scheme had the car body painted brown. This only lasted a few years, and early 1960s repaints were in black.)

Photograph by Walter E. Frost, City of Vancouver Archives collection. (ref. no. CVA 447-1680)

Freight Car Friday #54

Earlier this week I received a package in the mail with a collection of new-old stock Atlas tank car models from the very early 2000s that I managed to scare up on eBay. Among other things, included were a few of these ACFX chlorine service tank cars with the orange band that I’ve been looking for for a while, as it’s really something that places a setting as “post-1980 Canadian railway”.

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The car is in a generic ACF lease scheme but that orange band tells a story – a specifically Canadian and ‘eighties one. During the 1980s, there was a short-lived Canadian government regulation requiring pressurized tank cars suitable for carrying hazardous compressed gases (both flammable and toxic inhalation hazards) to be painted with a bright orange horizontal band around the middle of the car as a very visible marker to first responder crews in the event of an incident. Non-pressurized cars did not receive these markings.

Although I can’t find a particular written source at hand, the common telling is that this regulation was one of the measures instituted in the aftermath of the infamous 1979 Mississauga wreck. Several factors however led to the eventual dropping of this requirement after a few years: a lack of universal adoption (as this was not a requirement in the United States, and it takes a number of years to apply the new lettering standards to an entire fleet of existing cars) and the eventual realization that when the paint burned off in a fire the visual cue wasn’t all that useful…

So the orange stripe was dropped, but even today if you’re lucky you can still come across older tank cars built or repainted in the 1980s that haven’t been repainted since and still show the stripe, although 30 years of repaints and retirements have seriously thinned their ranks.

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I photographed the CGTX car above in a CN train at Copetown, Ontario in March of 2007 and the Procor car below was photographed just outside Sarnia in October 2014. Even 10-15 years ago in the early 2000s you could see the orange stripes a fair bit more often still on CGTX, CITX/DCTX and PROX cars and while fewer and farther between now, there are still survivors out there today that make for a splash of interest in a passing train.

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