Freight Car Friday #55 – AC 3809


For this installment of Freight Car Friday we turn the clock way back to May 6, 1957 to look at one of the Algoma Central’s 48’6″ drop-end mill gondolas in its original 1947 as-delivered paint and lettering.

The lighting is a little dark and the image is of course in Black and White, so it doesn’t convey colour information, but this early spartan scheme (dressed up with the bear logo towards the right-hand end of the car side) features a black car body with white lettering – except the rings encircling the bear logo are in red. This paint scheme was typical of all AC steel gondolas from the late 1940s and was also applied to the home-built 39′ and 40′ gondolas in the 4601-4804 series.

While the billboard lettering with the ALGOMA CENTRAL name spelled out across the car side in 24″ tall letters and the bear herald in the centre is more familiar to most fans and modelers, and was applied to these cars n later years, the original delivery of these cars predates the first use of that lettering in 1958 on the new 52’6″ cars. (Also note that the familiar image of the billboard lettering is of a black car with white lettering, the original late 1950s version of this scheme had the car body painted brown. This only lasted a few years, and early 1960s repaints were in black.)

Photograph by Walter E. Frost, City of Vancouver Archives collection. (ref. no. CVA 447-1680)

4 thoughts on “Freight Car Friday #55 – AC 3809

  1. I have a memory, probably from the early 1960s, of being driven down Don Mills Road in Toronto, looking west as we crossed Eglinton, and seeing a row of black gondolas sitting on the railway overpass. On the sides was written “ALGOMA”, which I took note of because it seemed like such a strange word to a ~7yo Toronto kid.

    Apparently, I was fated from an early age to become an ACR fan ;-).

  2. BTW I didn’t mention this in the posting above, but these cars can be modeled in HO scale using the Westerfield Models kit for a CN 48′ gondola which is identical to the AC cars and custom decals for the original 1940s/50s lettering or CDS dry transfers (now available from Ozark Miniatures) for 1960+ billboard repaints.

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