Freight Car Friday #41 – CN 618212


This flatcar with a load of steel plate from Essar Steel Algoma and the unusual end braces has an interesting history on CN.

Originally built in the early 1970s as a rather standard 60′ flatcar, it was rebuilt in 1991 for assigned service hauling large aluminum ingots. The wood decking was removed and deck risers and the end braces were added. These cars remained in this service until 2011 when they were replaced by new cars built by National Steel Car and leased from Helm-Pacific. Once they were bumped from this service, CN removed the deck risers, replaced the mesh grating with solid steel decking and allowed these cars to return to general service, although they still retain those distinctive end braces from their time as aluminum ingot cars.

There were a bunch of these cars kicking around on the former ACR when a friend and I rode the Tour of the Line in the fall of 2013. Apart from a couple of loaded cars in a northbound freight that we passed at Hawk Junction, one passing siding had about a dozen empties stored in it and the night before we watched the southbound freight into Michigan head over the International Bridge with quite a few flatcars.

Photographed at Hawk Junction on September 30, 2013 from the vestibule of the northbound passenger train.

Freight Car Friday #26 – AC 3907



These unique 3 car sets have got to be one of the most unusual cars on the Algoma Central.

I’m not sure of the total number and extent of these cars, but I have photos of 3903, 3907 and 3908. (AC 3903 (below) and 3907 (above) shown here.)

These cars were constructed for steel plate service between Algoma Steel’s main mill and the Welded Beam Division mill on Conmee Avenue, just north of the Steelton yard. Because these cars were in dedicated service between these two points, which are both within the Steelton yard limits, these cars don’t appear on any Official Equipment Register listings.

Each “car” is made up of three units, which are themselves all former Algoma Central equipment from other series. The base of the car is a former 3501-3850 series gondola with a heavy steel frame made up of welded I-beams extending well out beyond the length of the central car, and a 40′ idler flatcar permanently coupled at each end. Note the “B” end car appears to be a cut down 2300 series flatcar with part of the end rack remaining and the brake wheel lowered. The “A” unit is likely formerly from the 2200 series of 40′ standard flatcars.


These two cars photographed on August 18-19, 2004 at the Welded Beam Mill and Steelton yard respectively.