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.

IMG_0572 IMG_8391 IMG_8392

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.


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.


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.


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 #36 – LRIX Pulpwood Flatcars

Also in captive service on the Huron Central is this fleet of leased cars owned by Lake Superior Eastern Rail Industries, with LRIX reporting marks. Like Huron Central’s own cars with HCRY reporting marks, these cars in are dedicated captive service between the pulpwood loading spur at the HCRY Sault Ste. Marie yard and the pulp mill at Espanola, Ontario, approximately 60 km west of Sudbury.

The LRIX fleet was acquired in 2008, and consists of three groups of cars.


LRIX 2700-2708. These cars have a 70′ long loading space inside the bulkheads, and were formerly QGRY 2700-2708. (Before that, ?) The stencilled data on the cars indicate they were originally built in 1975.

LRIX 2709 may be a different type of car not pictured. QGRY 2709 was listed as a 60′ inside length car.


LRIX 2710-2719. These cars are just over 60′ long inside the bulkheads, and their lineage is unknown.


LRIX 2720-2729. These 60’10’ inside length cars were originally built by Hawker-Siddeley in 1970 as part of the CP 304800-304879 series. The Walthers pulpwood flatcar is actually a dead ringer for these cars, as it was actually based on this original CP series.

Freight Car Friday #35 – HCRY Pulpwood Flatcars

For this next series in Freight Car Friday, we’re going to head over to the Huron Central side of Sault Ste. Marie.

Huron Central has a small 30 car fleet of their own pulpwood cars, all 52′ (nominal) inside length cars with side stakes in several variations, from various former Canadian National and Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific (a CN subsidiary) lineages. These cars are in captive service between the Huron Central yard in Sault Ste. Marie, where they are loaded, and the pulp mill in Espanola, ON, so these would never or rarely leave HCRY rails. However, this captive nature of the fleet makes for an interesting treat for the avid freight car enthusiast when visiting the area, and if one were interested in modelling the Huron Central, these would be an important key to representing the correct equipment and traffic.

Here’s a few of HCRY’s hodge-podge of ex-CN flatcars, shot in two separate visits in summer 2013 and 2014.


HCRY 70002, ex-CN 604651, ex-DWC 606350-606849 or 607900-608999 series?


HCRY 70005, ex-CN 613051


HCRY 70007, ex-DWC 605103


HCRY 70008, ex-DWC 606386


HCRY 70013, ex-DWC 606716


HCRY 70014, ex-DWC 606743


HCRY 70016, ex-DWC 608549


HCRY 70019, ex-DWC 608887


HCRY 70027, ex-CN 604068, ex-CN 608000-608349 series