In 1974, Newaygo Forest Products opened a sawmill at Mead (mile 275) on the Algoma Central, one of the major outputs of which was woodchips which were shipped to paper mills in Wisconsin. The Algoma Central purchased 90 60′ woodchip gondolas from National Steel Car in 1974 for this service, adding another 23 cars in 1980. By 1985 however, Newaygo had shut down the Mead mill, and the majority of the AC’s woodchip cars were sold to Newaygo and used in services on other routes.
Here’s NFPX 1511 (former AC 1511, one of the 1980 built cars) at Steelton yard in February 1999 with a load of woodchips from a lumber mill at Calstock, Ontario, on the Ontario Northland Railway near Hearst. (Photo courtesy of Blair Smith)