More SDs coming from Bowser

New announcements from Bowser today with good news for ACR fans, including a second run of new road numbers on their popular SD40-2 from last year, and a new model of the GMD specific versions of the SD40, including Algoma Central in the list of paint schemes.

SD40-2 (second run – new road numbers)

Road numbers 185, 186, 188 (first run had 184, 187)

Product Listing

Pre-order deadline: April 13, 2018  Expected delivery: January 2019

SD40 (new model)

Road numbers 180, 181, 182

Product Listing

Pre-order deadline: April 27, 2018  Expected delivery: February 2019

Early Samples of Bowser’s HO Scale Canadian SD40-2 Displayed

This week Bowser posted photos on their website (and also emailed out to various contacts) of pre-production sample models of 11 different variations of their upcoming Canadian SD40-2 HO scale model.

All of the models are patterned after the versions built by General Motors Diesel Division in London, ON and represent the distinctly Canadian features that were unique to units built in Canada (vertical style ladder steps and modified handrails to match) and typical to Canadian railways (headlight in nose, cab front bell, class lights in single or 3-light groups above the number boards, single rear back-up headlight on most versions, railroad specific plow/pilot and ditch light configurations, snowshields (on certain versions) etc.).

Railways and versions represented by the 11 variants include Canadian Pacific (multiple variants), British Columbia Railway (at least 2 versions), Ontario Northland (non-dynamic brake), Quebec, North Shore & Labrador (with extra large fuel tank) and last but not least, Algoma Central. (I foresee an order for six units in my future…)


Pre-production sample, HO scale Algoma Central SD40-2. Bowser Manufacturing Company model and photo.

This appears to be the AC version, with a pair of CP versions in the background. (Specific features: single class lights on numberboards, snow plow, RR-specific M.U. electrical connection stands, pilot lift rings, pilot mounted ditch lights, snowshields, flat-top radiator and dynamic brake fans, electrical contact access doors on side of dynamic brake housing, straight turbo exhaust, wire radiator grilles, single rear backup headlight.)

Check out the photos of all 11 versions on Bowser’s web site here:

SD40-2 Page 1
SD40-2 Page 2

Atlas 2014 Catalog and Announcements – HO AC GP38-2

Earlier this week, Atlas Model Railroad Co. posted their 2014 All-Scales Catalog. Inside the HO Scale Announcements section is an interesting item for Algoma Central fans: Algoma Central is one of the roadnames in the next upcoming release of their TrainMan series GP38-2.


AC 201 at Sault Ste. Marie in September 1982. Francis J. Wiener photo, Chris van der Heide collection.

Several years ago, Canadian Hobbycraft had sponsored a custom run of GP38-2s in various Canadian paint schemes including less common shortlines like RaiLink and Algoma Central. These were produced using the Life-Like Proto2000 GP38-2. Of course this limited run has long been out of production, and while one or two might pop up on the secondhand market occasionally, new ones just aren’t available anymore.

The new Atlas model is in the TrainMan series, which is Atlas’s more “entry level” line; the model will have the same proven drive train as Atlas’s higher end “Master Series” but the body may have less of the fine detail, and it most likely won’t have the road-specific details like snowplow, nose headlight, cab front bell, single rear headlight, Canadian-style vertical steps etc. However this will still be a good enough stand in for most, and a good starting point for detailing for many others.

They currently list road numbers 200 and 202, although this could potentially still change before production. The prototype locomotives were built in 1981 by General Motors Diesel Division in London, ON as series AC 200-205. Most or all of them are still operating today (just not in ACR colours) as WC 2001-2006.

ACR From Blair 007

WC 2001 (ex-AC 200) at Steelton Yard before repainting into WC colours. Blair Smith photo.

Part of the ad copy in the catalog indicates matching cabooses will be available, and indeed, further down is a section with new paint schemes on the TrainMan series “steel cupola caboose”, including Algoma Central. Of course this model is based on a small north-eastern US prototype that isn’t remotely similar to any ACR cabooses. The catalog outline artwork shows a caboose numbered AC 9607; this number would correspond to one of the three ex-CP vans acquired in 1992-93. Rapido Trains produced a model of this caboose several years ago. Highball Graphics also has some ACR caboose decals that can be used to custom paint something a bit better than the TrainMan caboose into ACR colours.

One other announcement in the catalog which will be of significant interest to most Canadian modelers is not too much of a surprise: a new version of their 50′ NSC boxcar matching the features of cars owned by Canadian Pacific and Ontario Northland. (Previously they have run Canadian National and British Columbia Railway versions.)


CP (ex-CPI) 85718 newsprint service boxcar. Jurgen Kleylein photo.

The first run of this version contains three paint schemes: Ontario Northland (7700-7799 series), Canadian Pacific (CPI 85635-85734 series) and Quebec Central/CP* (QC 75100-75299 series). All of the paint schemes represent original factory paint jobs, and future releases of other CP repainted cars are likely in subsequent runs.

* Note: The outline graphics in the catalog show the QC cars as an apparent ex-CP patch job; I checked with Atlas and this is not how the actual cars will be decorated. They will properly represent the as-built appearance of the QC cars, which were built new with QC reporting marks and CP colours. (Quebec Central was a CP subsidiary absorbed in the 1930s. CP re-used the marks in the late 1970s as a method to have empty paper service boxcars routed back to eastern Canada by other roads.)

Build dates for the prototype cars represented by the model are as follows:

Series Build Date Qty. Note
CPI 85635-85734 * # 9-10/77 100 re# CP /78-/83
ONT 7600-7629 11/77 30
ONT 7700-7799 * 9/80 100
QC 75000-75099 11-12/79 100
QC 75100-75299 * 7-8/80 200
QGRY 75000-75299 $ 11-12/79, 7-8/80 81 ex-QC /98

* – Series represented by Atlas
# – Previous series CPI 85500-85634 (Built 3-5/75, 135 cars) are similar but have 10′ wide doors (vs. 9′ doors on all of the other above) and non-cushioned underframes
$ – QGRY series is non-inclusive.

Some woodpulp/paper traffic from mills on the CPR line on the north shore of Lake Superior routed over the ACR from the interchange at Franz (that’s a subject I may attempt to cover in more detail sometime in a dedicated post), and there’s evidence that some paper from the Ontario Northland (from mills at Iroquois Falls, and likely from Kapuskasing and Smooth Rock Falls following the takeover of the ex-CN Kapuskasing subdivision) so any of these cars would not be out of place on a period ACR layout. I’ll be getting a couple of these cars for sure to mix into my CP woodpulp/paper fleet.

True Line Trains CC&F Snowplow Announcement – Including AC


This past Friday, True Line Trains made an announcement for their next rolling stock model: a HO scale Canadian Car & Foundry snow plow, based on a common design that was owned by Canadian National, Pacific Great Eastern (later British Columbia Railway), Ontario Northland and Algoma Central. (Apparently they will be doing CP versions with different details next.) A fall 2014 release is currently projected.

Some of the features of the model include DCC controlled operating lights and wing blades, and even sound (air horn, and I’m guessing air noises for the pneumatically operated moveable equipment on the plow). While fascinating to have all of these operating features, I wonder how many people actually model a winter layout and would actually make much use of these, and as I’m modeling a summer period it seems a little excessive for something that will sit on a side track in Hawk Junction yard and essentially be little more than a scenic item (non-DCC/sound versions are not listed as going to be available). But I guess this is still better than trying to track down some long out of production brass model of a CN plow to custom paint. And even with the fancy electronically controlled operating features that probably won’t get used much other to test them out and say “Hey, that’s pretty neat!” this is still probably cheaper than the alternative.

The product list includes Algoma Central: plow AC 10105 and two paint versions are listed: a black scheme, and a red scheme. The black scheme would be the “true” AC colours; the ACR’s two plows, AC 10104* and 10105, were painted black into the 1990s when the ACR was acquired by Wisconsin Central in 1995. Sometime shortly after the WC purchase, the two plows were both repainted into the WC’s maroon and gold colours; this would be the “red” scheme mentioned and pictured (at bottom left) on the TLT ad copy.

(* Note the body details of AC 10104 are slightly different than the 10105, so the 10105 is the only one that this model is truly accurate for.)

Here’s a prototype photo of AC 10105 in the Algoma Central’s black paint for reference:


Note that the prow above the curved plow blade has at some point been modified with a sheet metal extension. This type of modification is extremely common on these plows to help deflect rocks and debris back downwards.

Here’s a later shot of the 10105 repainted into WC maroon and gold:


(Both photos above courtesy of Blair Smith.)

And finally here’s the AC 10105 at Steelton Yard in summer 2013, still in service and waiting for the heavy snows of winter. (My photo.)


More love from Walthers for Algoma Central – 65′ Gondolas

Well this is interesting.

I was skimming over the product announcements in the latest Model Railroad Hobbyist online magazine and prominently displayed under Walthers was an announcement for several new paint schemes on their 65′ Thrall mill gondola – including Algoma Central.

A little bit of searching managed to turn up the product listing on Walthers’ site.

Of course these aren’t remotely accurate – the real cars from Algoma Central series AC 1001-1400 are 61′ (not 65′) inside length cars with riveted side construction (not welded like the model) and distinctive bulkhead ends.

ACR from Blair 039

AC 1014 at Steelton shops. Blair Smith photo.

On the other hand, the lettering style and font matches that used on the 61′ cars and looks well rendered, and if you’re careful and can touch up the paint cleanly, it could be possible to take a decorated car, shorten the end panels and scratchbuild the end bulkheads to come up with a pretty reasonable representation of one of these cars, which could be a huge advantage to modeling these cars as a decal set matching the font used on these cars doesn’t actually exist (the CDS dry transfer set is for the 52′ gons, matching the lettering font on the AC 601-875 which is a bit “blockier” in the curved letters like O and C) and adding a scratchbuilt bulkhead end to an existing model is easier than scratchbuilding the entire car, particularly with all of the side rivets.

Of course, since you’re chopping up a modern welded car to represent a prototype that was actually of riveted construction, this is still only a general representation, but with 400 of these cars rostered, they were actually more numerous and wide ranging than the 52′ gondolas and any serious ACR modeler really needs a fleet of these cars. Their large size and bulkhead ends made them particularly useful for everything from pulpwood logs to steel products, and loaded with steel from Algoma Steel these cars ranged all over North America, which means modelers of other Canadian railways can definitely also justify running one of these.

I might just pick up at least one of these to try the conversion and see how I like it.