My scratchbuilt model of bucket car AC 10591 has continued to make some good forward progress this weekend. Both this car and boom car 10588 now have a styrene floor, and basic bolsters and a piece of lead sheet glued in for weight, and this evening I made some additional progress on a basic interpretation of and underframe for 10591. The second car is yet to be done, but will be similar.
The cars were rebuilt from flatcars, so in addition to the interesting fish-belly side reinforcements, the cars have a heavy fish-belly centre sill underframe as well. I just have a few more pieces of bracing to fabricate, and then adding brake detail to the underframe.
Also on one end of the 10591 is this large boxy structure. I’m not entirely sure of its purpose but suspect it to be an oil tank of some sorts. Most of the photos I have of the car are all from the end with the box, making visual inspection of the inside face of it difficult. What can be seen from any angle, however, is a large vent on top, and what appears to be a lifting ring in the middle of the top surface (possibly attached to an access or filling hatch?). This 1981 wreck photo from Ted Ellis shows the railway’s wreck crane in action, with this bucket car included in the train, and provides a partial view of the inside face of the box. From what is visible here, the face appears mainly plain, with no doors (so it’s does not appear to be a storage cabinet), although a short drip strip across the middle third of the top edge is interesting. Perhaps there is a drain valve or some sort of access hatch to such at the bottom?
I’m hoping to find some ex-ACR guy that might remember this car and might be able to confirm those details, but in the meantime I’ve progressed with fabricating the box structure itself and the top vent. I’ll continue on with other details for now, but if I don’t find any more information I’ll just have to go with my best guess for the details to apply.
Here’s the second gondola car in progress. This one will end up becoming AC 10588, which is one of several cars modified as a boom car for one of the ACR light diesel cranes.
Completed sides for 10588
Rebuilt from one of the cars in the AC 4804-4850 series, the additional unique features of this car include the angled cut offs at each end which allow the crane’s boom to clear and swing over the car. Also, slightly hidden inside the car’s side walls appears to be several equipment lockers as well as a support frame for the crane boom to rest on in transit.
AC 10588 with crane 10215 at Steelton yard in the 1990s. Blair Smith photo.
This evening I managed to assemble the sides of this car with low ends, and also applied the basic end bracing to both cars. Major parts still to be done on both cars is the entire underframe and floor (obviously) and the finer details like grab irons. Then of course the additional equipment storage lockers for both cars.
Both bodies assembled (sides and ends). Still needs floor and under frame.
This unique looking car is outfitted as the south end road repair car. Due to the remoteness of the railway, if a car had to be set off in a siding somewhere due to a defect, this car would be sent in to help rescue it and effect any basic running repairs. Equipped with storage for some extra wheelsets and a light crane boom at each end and tool supply storage and a small bunk in the central structure, this car would provide the means necessary to perform the basic repairs in order to get the stricken car moving again.
Built on the underframe of one of the older retired ex-D&RGW heavyweight coaches, AC 10053 was the repair car assigned to the south end of the railway. A smaller sister car, built on a 40′ flatcar body and numbered AC 10052, served as the north end repair car.
In the 1970s this car was painted in maroon and grey colours matching the railway’s passenger cars, with a large version of the road’s black bear logo on the side. A rather attractive scheme when fresh, late 1970s photos show it to be getting rather rusty at that point and in 1980 it was repainted into this simplified silver and yellow scheme, which was also used on at least two other bunk cars rebuilt from ex-GM&O coaches.
Most similar repairs today would likely be done using a large hi-rail truck.
Photo by Blair Smith at Steelton Yard, August 1996.
Here’s another pair of water tank cars photographed in the mid 1990s at Steelton Yard (Sault Ste. Marie) by Blair Smith.
The age and origin of these cars is unknown, but these exhibit the typical silver paint on the AC’s water tanks. Note the interesting lack of ladders and running boards to actually access the dome on AC 10652 above, and the additional piping on the end of the car frame for supplying water to coupled accommodation cars.
Unlike the ex-Canadian National cars featured last week however, these cars show no obvious signs of any sort of insulation or heating. Not sure how that works in January in northern Ontario.
AC 10654 below has clearly reached the end of its service life and has been retired as it’s seen here off its trucks at Steelton shops.
Other confirmed car numbers of similar silver water tanks include AC 10648 and 10655 (the latter also lacks ladders and running boards, like 10652).
This pair (actually a trio, with AC 10656) of interesting little tank cars were acquired secondhand from Canadian National, likely somewhere around 1990(?). These cars store potable water to supply accommodation cars in work trains.
Lending to the unique appearance of these cars is the coating of spray-foam insulation on the body of the tank and small heater to prevent the tanks from freezing in the winter and that huge vent(?) fashioned from an old caboose smokejack.
Both photos courtesy of Blair Smith.