AC 2915

Here’s another AC 40′ box I finished some weathering on last night.


Like the others earlier this week, this was a TrueLine Trains Ontario Northland boxcar with some custom painting (the large patches over the logo were done by hand to try to simulate how the logos were painted over with a paint roller, and smaller patches over the reporting mark and number masked and airbrushed) and then weathered with a combination of pan pastels and a bit of grime airbrushed along the lower edge of the car and on the car ends.

Interestingly, Ted Ellis has an early 1990s photo of this car on his site where it looks like the number on the car end actually reads 2907. So it appears that this car has changed identities along the way. It looks like it may have been acquired from the Ontario Northland as AC 2907, possibly renumbered into a 10000 series work number and then reassigned back to the general pool and renumbered 2915, possibly replacing a different car that was the original AC 2915. (Dale Wilson sent me an older photo of 2915 that shows a completely different pattern of paint patching, and it’s the same side as Ted’s photo, so it’s clearly not the same car.) I reproduced this confusion on my model as well. Like Ted Ellis’s photo, the numbers on the ends of my car read 2907, but on the sides on a prominent black patch it’s no. 2915.

A trio of (almost) finished 40′ AC boxcars

Enjoying a weekend at home by myself to get back into a few projects. One project that received a fair bit of attention today was finishing off the paint, lettering and weathering on a few of the Algoma Central 40′ boxcars I’ve had in progress for a while. Three cars are now basically complete, with three more in various stages of lettering (included the 9′ door rebuild which will become AC 2917. It’s now on the workbench in green and yellow and half lettered. A little ways to go on that one yet.) When all six are complete, I’ll have four 2900 series general service (but still non-interchange) boxcars and two 10000 series work supply/tool cars.

Here’s a few roster shots of the three finished cars. They’re all TrueLine Trains Ontario Northland NSC 40′ boxcars with custom paint patches and lettering. Weathering is a combination of airbrush and pan pastels.


AC 10352, tool/supply car. The prototype car also has turbine style roof vents and a step below the door which will have to be added. The step won’t be a problem, but I’m not sure how to solve the ventilator detail yet.


AC 10364, tool/supply car. Like 10352, it just needs the addition of roof vents (although a different sort) and a stirrup step under the door to finish off.

The photo loses some of the detail and character of the weathering, and this car actually ended up a fair bit dirtier than the prototype photos of this specific car that I was working from, but it’s not atypical of other cars in the series, and I actually like the final look, so I think I can live with that.


AC 2906, general service boxcar. I sanded the paint patch a little to let some of the original “Ontario’s Development Road” logo show through a bit.

Like the other two cars this car received a general grunge with the airbrush and streaking and detail work with pan pastels. I also tried to get a bit of rust splotching going on in the door using a little bit of acrylic paint and pastels. The weathering isn’t quite to the level of some other things I’ve seen online (some of which will blow your mind) but it’s serviceable and I’m still learning and getting the hang of it.

(This is post #200 published to this blog!)

40′ ex-ONT Boxcars Progressing

This pair of ex-Ontario Northland boxcars has also been receiving some attention lately, with new stencil reporting marks and numbers applied, and some basic weathering with pan pastels. The weathering still has a ways to go, and they also need a little touch up in some areas yet (like some minor patching in the data and re-weigh information to properly date the cars and vary things up a bit more) and the ladders and end details to be re-installed.


As on the model, the real cars were purchased second-hand from the Ontario Northland and just crudely patched out with AC markings. Both of these cars specifically follow the patch patterns of the prototype numbers they represent.

The 2906 is one of roughly 15 former Ontario Northland boxcars put into a series of general service cars; now when I say this, these cars were still basically non-interchange and captive to the ACR, and mostly commonly used for company materials and local wayfreight deliveries.

The 10352 has a work service number, and was likely a tool or work materials storage car. The real car has a pair of turbine style ventilators on the roof which will also still need to be added at some point.

I also have a couple of brown Ontario Northland cars in the wings which will also soon become another 2900 series car and probably another 10000 series work storage car.

Incidentally, this is the 100th post published to this blog!

AC 2902-2915 series ex-ONT boxcars from TrueLine Trains’ 40′ NSC boxcar – Part 1

In the late 1970s to early 1980s the Algoma Central acquired some secondhand equipment from northern Ontario’s other regional railroad, the Ontario Northland Railway. This consisted of about 30 open hoppers acquired in 1978 for general service (basically meaning sinter from Wawa) and a number of old 40′ boxcars. Quite a number of former Ontario Northland boxcars ended up with 10000 series work service numbers as tool and storage cars, and a small handful received standard fleet numbered in the 2902-2914 series. These cars were used for the railways own local on-line freight service, hauling company supplies and materials, express and less than carload traffic to various remote places along the line, for which the railroad was the only way to bring in any sort of supplies or building materials. The railway used to run a weekly wayfreight for this service. I consider it highly unlikely that these cars ever left AC rails.

These boxcars were originally built in 1947-48 for the Ontario Northland by National Steel Car in Hamilton, ON. A few years ago, True Line Trains made modeling these cars easier by producing a ready-to-run model of this car, which was exclusively rostered (as original purchasers) by Canadian National and Ontario Northland.

These cars did receive a few modifications though, so a little bit of work to the model is required.


Here’s AC 2915 at the Steelton shops in 2004. The car’s running boards have been removed (a common modification as roof running boards on boxcars were banned from interchange service on all railways in the 1970s) and interestingly, the brake wheel on the end of the car has also been relocated to a lower mounting.


The first step obviously is to remove the running board (roof walk) from the car. It’s best to shear the mounting pins as you do this, or once removed, cut off the mounting pins and glue them back into the body mounting holes to plug them up. On the left side of the picture above, you can see how the mounting pins are located in the middle of several of the running board supports molded into the roof. While good for hiding the mounting pins when the running boards are installed, it’s a little visible when the running boards are removed. So I used a needle file to file the rounded housing around the mounting pin off into a flat running board support like all the others on the car.


The next step is to similarly (and *carefully*) remove the ladders and end hardware details from the car, since the ladders will need to be cut down in height, and the brake wheel mounting reinstalled at the lower height. I cut the ladders off after the 5th rung from the bottom, following reference photographs.


While I had everything removed, I didn’t like how far away from the side of the car the tack boards were mounted, so I trimmed the back off the tack board so that when I glue it back on using CA glue, the tack board is much more snug to the end of the car.


While most of the cars in this series were in the Ontario Northland’s early brown paint scheme (like the 2915 at the top of this post), this particular car will be given the road number AC 2906, which was in the Ontario Northland’s jade green colours. I have several more of the True Line Trains cars in both jade and brown, so more of the brown cars will join this one.

The patching out of the former Ontario Northland name and logo was clearly done with a paint roller on the prototype cars, so I took out some mineral brown paint and hand painted the patchwork with a small brush.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far; the next step will be to remount the ladders and brake hardware, renumber the car with stencil decals and weather it. All in all, a pretty straightforward job however, made easy by TrueLine’s ready-to-run Ontario Northland models.