CP Woodchip Cars Painted and Lettered


Last week I finished painting and decaling my pair of CP woodchip boxcars which are now numbers CP 31181 and 31202. On Saturday I was able to deliver them to the club layout, where they will enter service for now with some other modified cars.

The two cars were sprayed Pollyscale freight car brown and lettered primarily with CDS dry transfer sets, with some additional details (including Plate C markings, ACI labels, re-weigh dates, end reporting marks and numbers and some additional small data) from various Microscale and Black Cat sets.

Once the decaling was completed, I gave the cars a quick coat of Dullcote to seal the lettering and then a general spray of “grunge” using a thinned mixture of various weathered blacks.

That’s one project off the workbench that’s been there for a while!

Chip Doors Completed

While I was away travelling this weekend I managed to stop off at a hobby supply store and pick up some of the raw materials I needed to keep my current projects moving forward. A little work this evening and the doors on the two wood chip boxcars are completed.


Compared to the previous post, the hinge and locking bar details have been added with .025″ rod and .010x.020″ strip to catch the overall impression and look of the prototype photo.

The two cars now just need a minor touch up of body and underframe details, and they’ll be ready for the paint shop this week.

A Pair of CP Extended Side Woodchip Boxcars

Earlier this week I took the chance to take another look at an older project on the shelf. I’ve already documented one CP woodchip boxcar build on this blog (see Part 1, Part 2 here); both of these projects were originally started quite some time ago.

My second woodchip car project represents an earlier rebuild, converted in the late 1960s for service in Maine and Atlantic Canada and rebuilt with side extensions. As they were rebuilt for Atlantic service, all of the early cars were Pullman-Standard boxcars lettered for CP’s International of Maine Division, which was an early approach under customs regulations for assigning certain groups of American-built cars to international or US domestic service. At first, these rebuilt cars kept their original car numbers, with notes made in equipment registers identifying the modified cars.


This photo of CP 269941, courtesy of Jim Parker, was taken in 1972 in Brownville, Maine, and shows the car in it’s original context, still with it’s original number and in Atlantic Region service.

By the end of the 1970s, many of these cars were randomly renumbered into the 31175-31374 series, at the same time as CP was beginning to convert more randomly selected old boxcars to woodchip cars through the early 1980s by the simple expedient of cutting away the old roof. Later cars however did not receive the extensions to the sides.

I built the side extension on one car quite some time ago, and then the car ended up on the side burner waiting for doors. Earlier this week I hauled out a second car that I had prepared for side extensions at the same time and finally built the side extension on that car, and then started the doors on both cars.


Here’s my two cars in their current state posing on my little switching layout.

I need to obtain a few sizes of wire or styrene rod in order to finish the hinge and door locking bar details, so the cars will unfortunately have to be set aside again for a little bit until I can acquire some needed materials, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that soon, and then finish up the doors and get this pair into the paint shop.

Like my previous CP woodchip box, this pair will eventually end up in service at the club layout. As far as I can tell, in reality these cars primarily ran between sawmills in White River or Chapleau to the Domtar pulp mill at Red Rock, on the north shore of Lake Superior, but we’ve used some modeller’s license to run these through Sudbury to other local paper mills. I’m not sure if these cars actually did that, photos of freight equipment in 1970s is harder to come by, particularly in remoter areas of northern Ontario, but there is definite proof of pulpwood travelling around in the late 1960s and 1970s in CP gondolas, and some evidence of woodchips as well, so there’s a certain plausibility to it, and these two extended height cars should mix in nicely with the half-dozen other cars we have in service.

CP 31236

Taking advantage of the long weekend at home to work on a few projects on the bench.

First up is completing some basic weathering on this Canadian Pacific woodchip boxcar:


This car was built from an Intermountain 40′ PS-1 boxcar kit, with scratchbuilt chip doors, custom painted and lettered mostly with CDS transfers, with some Microscale sets to fill in some of the detail lettering and the U-1 inspection dot. Weathering was done with artist’s pan pastels.

This car will probably wind up in service over at the club layout; woodchips were shipped from Dubreuilville on the ACR to Terrace Bay on the Canadian Pacific using cars supplied by CP, but the best information I have suggests that this particular service was mainly in 52′-60′ gondolas, not boxcars, and it’ll be a few years yet before I have anything running, so this can join another 5 or 6 similar cars in a chip service pool on the club layout.

CP Woodchip Boxcar – 6′ Chip Doors

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Canadian Pacific converted several hundred old 40′ boxcars into woodchip gondolas via the simple expedient of cutting away the roofs of the cars. While there were some variations (including some older International of Maine conversions that had the height of the sides extended and doors widened to 8′) the standard conversion in the 1980s was a simple 40′ boxcar with standard 6′ door with the roof cut away and the original sliding doors replaced with a two-piece hinged wooden door.

Source cars for these conversions were drawn from various different original series, and there’s a lot of variation in these converted cars.

The mill at Dubreuilville shipped out large amounts of woodchips in cars supplied by Canadian Pacific to pulp mills along the Lake Superior north shore at Marathon or Terrace Bay. So I can use a collection of CP woodchip service cars for this traffic. The ACR would have handled these cars just the short distance between Dubreuilville and Franz. Extra empties were apparently typically stored in the siding at Wanda, between Dubreuilville and Franz.


This car is a Intermountain kit for a Pullman-Standard “PS-1” 40′ boxcar. (“PS-1” was actually Pullman-Standard’s catalog designation for ANY boxcar they produced, although model railroaders have (somewhat erroneously) come to associate the term with just Pullman-Standard’s earlier post-war designs.) The body details are assembled pretty much as according to the kit although the roof and doors are left out.


The main visual feature of the car (apart from the missing roof) is the new chip doors, which necessitated the scratchbuilding of said doors from styrene.

The new door is a piece of .020″ styrene sheet cut to fit the door opening, trimmed with .010″x.060″ strip for the edges of the door panel. The horizontal door locking bar and the “mounting pads” under the hinges are pieces of .010″x.040″ strip. The flat parts of the door hinges are represented by pieces of .005″ styrene, basically eyeballed and cut with a razor blade, and the actual hinge parts at the edge of the door, and the vertical locking bar at the top of the door are bits of thin brass wire.

The bottom hinge plate at the foot of the door is a piece of .015″x.156″ strip with a .020″x.020″ trim piece along the top.


Because the car is open, and thus has little or no way to hide any weight, I inserted a styrene false floor into the car which hides a thin layer of sheet lead flashing to give the car weight.


The roofs on most of these cars were removed simply by torching out the panels in between the roof ribs (carlines). Most of these cars kept these ribs in place to hold the car together, but over time these got banged up and damaged and cars would be missing many of them. I used T-section styrene shapes to make a representation of these remaining roof ribs, leaving several out as “missing”.

This pretty much completes the major details of this particular car; next step is painting.