Photographed at Sault Ste. Marie in August 2004, WC 21648 is a typical example of the modern high-capacity 50′ boxcar design built for paper service. This particular car is part of series WC 21550-21649 built by Greenbrier’s Trenton Works in 1997.
The second car coupled to the left of 21648 is WC 26010, an older ex-SOO Line car also commonly still in paper service at the time. Both of these types of cars would have been the typical sight at the St. Marys Paper mill during the 1990s and 2000s.
CN 557636 is one of several of these double door CN boxcars shots in the same train in August 2004 at Sault Ste. Marie.
Part of series CN 557440-557739 built in 1974 (and identical sister series 557300-557439 built the previous year), these 52’6″ I.L. cars were built for lumber and forest products service and when new had the main sliding door painted green as a colour coding to indicate this assignment. (Here’s one in 2006 with the original paint including the green door intact.) With modern computerized systems this indicator is no longer needed and most of these cars gradually had the doors repainted the same brown as the rest of the car.
For modelling in HO scale, Kaslo shops produced (produces?) a resin kit for this type of car. (I have two on my shelf to be built up and put into service.)
This car and many other double door boxcars in the train are likely loaded with either plywood or OSB from mills at Hearst or Limer.
A bonus extra post for today’s Freight Car Friday feature.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.