Work Car Wednesday #2


These two interesting gondola cars are support cars that would be paired with one of the railway’s light diesel hoist to carry buckets and other attachments and supplies for the crane.

The above car, AC 10588, is a boom car; it carries crane supplies and a clamshell bucket, and would be coupled directly to the crane while in transit, with the crane’s boom positioned and tied down over this car. Notice how the corners of the car have been cut off at an angle to allow the crane boom to swing over the car. AC 10587 has been identified as an almost identical car.

The second car below, AC 10591, is labelled simply as a bucket car. Loaded with no less than four different clamshell buckets, it also features a storage area at the close end for related supplies. The yellow car coupled at the far end is bunk car AC 10607, which was assigned as a crane operator’s sleeping car.


Both of these two cars are also rebuilt from older Algoma Central gondolas from the series AC 4601-4803 or 4804-4850, which were (re)built by the AC’s car shops in 1946-1948 from older 40′ flatcar underframes.

Both photos courtesy of Blair Smith.

Freight Car Friday #45 – AC 10715

ACR from Blair 027

This interesting car is a former gondola from the series AC 4804-4850, (re)built in 1948 from older 40′ flatcar underframes.

Equipment register information indicates that these unique cars had a 40’10” inside length and 4’0″ inside height, and some lasted in active service into the early 1970s.

The open side above the dropping reinforced sill really cuts a unique profile on these cars, and would certainly be an interesting addition to a layout set anytime between 1947 and 1970, and as proved by this 1956 Jim Parker photo in Toronto, these cars definitely travelled across country, so almost any Canadian modeller could make an excuse for wanting to scratchbuild one.

AC 10715 bears a work service number, and for some reason has had about two thirds of the sides cut away, turning most of the car back into a flat car. I’m not sure why this was cut back the way that it was or how the railway was using this car. Shown here in Sault Ste. Marie off its trucks, this car is clearly about to be scrapped.

Photographed by Blair Smith in the early 1990s.

Freight Car Friday #42 – GLMX 1023


This gondola, seen on October 1, 2013 being switched out in the Ontario Northland yard at Hearst, bears markings indicating its ownership by Legault Metal of Val D’Or, Quebec.

Legault is a local scrap and metal products dealer serving the area around Val D’Or and Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec. They apparently own their own small fleet of about 30 assorted secondhand gondolas for steel scrap. On my northern Ontario trips in 2013, I saw several of these in various places on both the Ontario Northland and former Algoma Central railways. These appear to route over the ONR from Noranda to Englehart, then via Cochrane and Hearst to interchange to CN and travel down the former Algoma Central, likely delivering local scrap metal to Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie for recycling.

For more information on Legault Metal, see their website.

Net Storage Boxes

These storage boxes are a simple detail, but due to their position right at the top centre of the door (yep, the box is actually mounted right on the door itself) makes for a prominent feature on the A end of the car.

These boxes were used to stow mesh netting, which would be used to cover a load of woodchips to (try to) prevent the contents from blowing out of the car while in transit.


The boxes of course are straightforward simple construction, with a front cut from .020″ sheet and sides and bottoms cut from pieces of .020x.100″ strip. Of course the one wrinkle is that the box does come over the top frame of the door, so the top corners have to be carefully notched .040x.040″ to clear the frame but not leave any visible gap when finished.

The lids (installed after the assembled boxes were cemented to the end assembly) are pieces of .010x.080″ strip.


Here’s one of the partly completed ends with the storage box installed.

Apart from grab iron and ladder details, my stack of parts is really starting to look like something now.

AC Woodchip Car Progress and Doors


Over the could of weeks I’ve been continuing to make some progress on my scratchbuilt Algoma Central woodchip gondolas. I’ve completed some more sides so that I have enough for three cars currently and I’ve also been getting some work done on the door ends of the cars.

These took some careful laying out, but other than that have been going together fairly well. Like the other parts of the car so far, this mainly consists of a .020″ sheet forming the backing of the main door with .040″ square styrene strip for the vertical ribs on the door. The corner posts are .060″ square and the top beam is .080″. These parts of the frame are glued to the edges of the .020″ door sheet, not using the surface backing.

The trickiest part actually turned out to be cutting the angles on the bottom sheet representing the reinforced end sill on theses cars (since the majority of the end isn’t structural, but a top-hinged door that can open up like a dump truck). I had to throw out a few attempts that weren’t quite symmetrical.


The hinge detail was also a little tricky to manipulate due to the extreme small size of the pieces, but otherwise the design is pretty straightforward.

The vertical parts of the hinges attached to the door are .010x.040″ strip while the hinge mounts were carefully cut out of bits of .010x.080″ strip.

There’s still some additional detail to add (ladders, grab irons, latches and a storage box attached to the door for mesh nets used to contain loads and prevent chips from blowing away in transit), but otherwise I have all the major pieces now to complete three bodies except for the next major project: the underframe/floor.