Freight Car Friday #60

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BR 50222 is an interesting woodpulp service boxcar with a storied history. The car was originally built for the Southern Railroad (SOU) by Pullman-Standard. The “waffle” pattern of the car sides accomodated load tie-down attachment points on the inside of the car. Southern acquired a large number of these “waffle-side” boxcars from Pullman-Standard, and this design would become a real signature car on that railway. Only a few other identical examples were built for some of the “Family Lines” railways which later became part of CSX.

This particular car was sold by Southern to Helm Leasing (HLMX) and was reconditioned for woodpulp service with end reinforcement and carbody vents in the corners and then saw service on BC Rail as BCOL 850222. When BC Rail let the lease expire, they were renumbered BR and dropped the leading 8 from the car number. Currently these BR cars are commonly seen in woodpulp service for Canadian Pacific.

At Hawk Junction, July 19, 2017.

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 #49B

A bonus extra post for today’s Freight Car Friday feature.

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These cars bearing HS reporting marks are also common mixed in with the CP wood pulp service boxcars. These cars are leased to CP for wood pulp service by GE Railcar Services. These cars are a wild variety of seemingly random small sub-groups of cars from various builders (the above car is an FMC, while the bottom car is built by Berwick and coupled on both ends to other HS cars built by ACF) making any sort of even basic guesses as to their heritage impossible.

Most of these cars are older (early 1970s built) “plate B” cars rebuilt to raise the roof and extend the inside height from 10’6″ to 11’0″. All feature the distinctive carbody vents marking their assignment to wood pulp service. The Berwick car below also has reinforcing panels added to the car ends, as does a CP car coupled to the left of the HS 61554 above.

The top photo of a freshly shopped HS 61554 was taken in July 2015 at Hawk Junction, while the below photo of HS 61213 is at Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004.

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Additional leased cars bearing short line reporting marks SLGG, OAR, BR and YVRR (the former two being more common in 2004 and not so much seen now, and the latter two coming on the scene more around 2012 or so) are also commonly mixed in to the wood pulp fleet.

Freight Car Friday #49

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A pair of modern examples of Canadian Pacific boxcars in wood pulp service at Sault Ste. Marie on July 12, 2015, arriving back in Canada from Michigan to head back to CP via the interchange at Franz.

The top car was built new for CP in 1998 by Greenbrier’s Trenton Works in Trenton, NS. The bottom car’s history is a little more obscure. An early 1970s design from Pullman-Standard, the car’s original owner before coming to CP is unknown. It would have been repainted and renumbered into its current identity in 2001 (and probably rebuilt to raise the roof and add an additional 6 inches to the interior height of the car at the same time).

The flat plates on the sides of both cars are protective covers for vents in the carbody. These vents are typical on modern cars in wood pulp service to allow moisture in the product to escape.

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Woodpulp Traffic on the ACR

Not to be confused with raw products like pulpwood logs or woodchips, wood pulp is a semi-processed intermediate step in the paper production. While some paper mills, like the Abitibi (later St. Marys) paper mill in Sault Ste. Marie are integrated mills covering the entire paper-making process from logs to pulp to finished paper, some mills are only pulp mills, producing market pulp which is sold to other mills for turning into other finished paper products.

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Boxcars in the transfer track at Franz will likely be in wood pulp service. Late 1990s, WRMRC collection.

While there weren’t any pulp mills on the Algoma Central, this was a very common form of bridge traffic from pulp mills on along the north shore of Lake Superior served by Canadian Pacific at Marathon, Terrace Bay and/or Red Rock to finishing mills in Michigan and Wisconsin. Some pulp may have also been delivered to the mill in Sault Ste. Marie, but I believe most of this traffic actually crossed the border into Michigan.

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Switchlist at Franz showing several loads of woodpulp, mostly bound for export via Sault Ste. Marie; note one car for Kapuskasing to be lifted by northbound train to Hearst. c1991

This switchlist at Franz also shows that at least some of this traffic went north to mills east of Hearst on the Canadian National (now Ontario Northland) as well. The switchlist shows one car of woodpulp being forwarded to the Spruce Falls Power & Paper mill at Kapuskasing, which produced newsprint.

Wood pulp continues to be an important source of bridge traffic on the former ACR. My recent visits have resulted in spotting quite a number of pulp service boxcars owned or leased by CP on the ACR: at Sault Ste. Marie arriving in the daily freight train from Michigan, at Hawk Junction in the regular CN freight, and in the siding and transfer tracks at Franz (as seen from my ride on the Tour of the Line in 2013).

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Modern example of a CP wood pulp service boxcar at Hawk Junction, July 2013. Plates at top and bottom of car are covers for vents, common on modern cars assigned to pulp service. My photo.