A trio of (almost) finished 40′ AC boxcars

Enjoying a weekend at home by myself to get back into a few projects. One project that received a fair bit of attention today was finishing off the paint, lettering and weathering on a few of the Algoma Central 40′ boxcars I’ve had in progress for a while. Three cars are now basically complete, with three more in various stages of lettering (included the 9′ door rebuild which will become AC 2917. It’s now on the workbench in green and yellow and half lettered. A little ways to go on that one yet.) When all six are complete, I’ll have four 2900 series general service (but still non-interchange) boxcars and two 10000 series work supply/tool cars.

Here’s a few roster shots of the three finished cars. They’re all TrueLine Trains Ontario Northland NSC 40′ boxcars with custom paint patches and lettering. Weathering is a combination of airbrush and pan pastels.


AC 10352, tool/supply car. The prototype car also has turbine style roof vents and a step below the door which will have to be added. The step won’t be a problem, but I’m not sure how to solve the ventilator detail yet.


AC 10364, tool/supply car. Like 10352, it just needs the addition of roof vents (although a different sort) and a stirrup step under the door to finish off.

The photo loses some of the detail and character of the weathering, and this car actually ended up a fair bit dirtier than the prototype photos of this specific car that I was working from, but it’s not atypical of other cars in the series, and I actually like the final look, so I think I can live with that.


AC 2906, general service boxcar. I sanded the paint patch a little to let some of the original “Ontario’s Development Road” logo show through a bit.

Like the other two cars this car received a general grunge with the airbrush and streaking and detail work with pan pastels. I also tried to get a bit of rust splotching going on in the door using a little bit of acrylic paint and pastels. The weathering isn’t quite to the level of some other things I’ve seen online (some of which will blow your mind) but it’s serviceable and I’m still learning and getting the hang of it.

(This is post #200 published to this blog!)

ONT 9′ Door Boxcar Rebuild (AC 2917)

A while back I stripped the paint on a handful of True Line Trains 40′ Ontario Northland boxcars in preparation for modifying and repainting them as cars acquired second hand by the Algoma Central for LCL and company service. Naturally, these then sat on the workbench for a while awaiting detailing and painting while I tackled other projects. Last night I pulled these back out in order to start finishing off the details and get them ready for painting.


First up is this car which will end up representing AC 2917. This car was built in 1947-48 by National Steel Car for Ontario Northland and rebuilt by the ONR in the early 1960s with a 9′ door opening. This rebuild required reinforcing of the side sill below the door opening and new door tracks. Note that the new doors used were taller than the original doors, being meant for a 10’6″ interior height car while the Ontario Northland boxcars were older cars with a 10’0″ interior height, so the door tracks in addition to being longer to accommodate the larger size of the door are mounted lower down.

The doors on the True Line model are unfortunately molded as part of the car body, so the first step of the major modification was to cut this opening out entirely. The side sills also had to be carefully cut off along the bottom edge of the car body so that new side sills and door tracks cut from styrene strip could be added. I don’t really recall where the doors came from originally, I pulled them out of my parts box where they’ve been for a while.

After removing the ladders and brake detail, original mounting holes were filled in with round styrene rod and the ladders were shortened and reattached. Tackboards on the doors and ends are original parts from the model relocated. The brake wheel housing was also remounted lower down.

This car just requires a few more of the brake detail parts to be re-applied on the “B” end of the car, and also the addition of a new horizontal grab iron on each end (I couldn’t find my small diameter brass wire last night) to complete the detailing. Then it should be ready for the paint shop.

I have a few more cars that basically just need all of the ladder and brake detailing work done which I hope to complete over the next week and then I should have a small fleet of about half a dozen ex-Ontario Northland boxcars for work and wayfreight service.

Freight Car Friday #21 – ONT 7908


Photographed by myself in Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004, ONT 7908 is the last of a 109-car group of cars on Ontario Northland’s roster in the 7800-7908 series and acquired in 1983. While official equipment registers and therefore most other compiled roster information for the ONR lists these as a singular series due to their similar dimensions and features (from a usage perspective), there are actually at least three distinct sub groups involved:

ONT 7800-7844, built by Evans Products /197x?, ex-NSL ?
ONT 7845-7899, built by Berwick /1978, ex-MNJ 120565-120599
ONT 7900-7908, built by Evans Products /1979, ex-NSL 155150-155194

* While 7800-7844/7900-7908 are both by Evans, they are from different years of production and have differences in the side sills, so each of the three groups are different from each other.

These cars are classed with an AAR mechanical designation of “XP”, indicating special features or assignment to particular commodities. Notes in the equipment register indicate that these cars are intended for metal refinery products, so these would be used hauling processed or semi-processed nickel and copper products such as ingots or anodes from Timmins or Rouyn-Noranda. Some movements destined for the western/mid-western United States could be routed via Cochrane-Hearst-Sault Ste. Marie over the ACR.

In addition to the 7800-7908 series cars, Ontario Northland also rostered a few other groups of former St. Lawrence Railroad (NSL) boxcars, which were given ONTA reporting marks and unlike the 7800 series cars actually kept their original NSL numbers and paint, with the original lettering just patched out, which adds a little additional colour.

Series ONTA 150550-150574 and 150775-150824, comprising a total of 75 cars, were Plate C cars built by Berwick in 1979 and acquired by Ontario Northland in 1981. ORERs seem to last list either of these series around 2003.

Series ONTA 102381-102399 and 151000-151010, comprising a total of 30 cars, were Plate B cars built by Golden Tye using Berwick kits/components and also acquired in 1981, although by 1984 the 102300 series cars were off the roster and in my 1986 ORER only five of the eleven 151000 series are still listed.

Another group of 16 cars, also built by Berwick in 1980 but from an unknown original owner, were acquired in 1989 and numbered in the ONTA 3000-3015 series. These cars were painted a plain brown and also listed as assigned to zinc/copper refinery products. This series disappeared from ORER listed in the mid 1990s.

Aside: The centre-beam flatcar at right in the main photo at the top of this post, with the wrapped Tembec lumber load, likely also came from the Ontario Northland at Hearst.