Though I was in Manitoba again in 1981 and 1982, I didn't see any of the Manitoba covered hoppers while trackside. With most of Manitoba's harvest sent to terminal elevators at the ports of Churchill and Thunder Bay, a co-operative arrangement between the Manitoba and federal governments resulted in Manitoba's better-known fleet of grain cars - the Buffalo boxcars beginning in late-1985. Here's an example of these former CN boxcars with 8-foot doors, CN 429004 at Portage la Prairie in 1986:
Though the fleet didn't last long, some of the cars apparently did. Here's a photo of a considerably grubbier sister, TLDX 7888 from an online auction site, undated. The crest has been removed, but its former location is clearly visible by the lighter yellow paint: These weld marks denote Manitoba cars years after the crests have been removed, and will be featured in the following post...survivors still in service.
I photographed two Manitoba covered hoppers at the Trans-Canada Highway crossing of CP's Carberry Sub in Portage in June 13, 1980. On the head-end CP 5514-5522-5668, CN's former Pleasant Point Sub trackage is in foreground:
USLX 5904 was spotted at Portage's United Grain Growers elevator in June 20, 1980 (top photo). This car had been unloaded in Thunder Bay at Saskatchewan Pool's Elevator 7A six days earlier.
The following list includes the cars I saw in Manitoba from June 11-23, 1980 on both CN and CP lines. I also saw many Manitoba covered hoppers in Thunder Bay while eastound and westbound aboard VIA Rail to Portage.
Since the cars were seen on both CN and CP trains, it's unknown to me how they were assigned to each railway. Either equally, based on total provincial rail mileage or on each railway's percentage of total grain shipped. My current working theory: green shield background for CN-assigned cars, red crest background for CP-assigned cars. The list includes specific cars of larger groups of leased cars, listed by reporting mark, builder, capacity, car number including paint scheme if known. P-S 4427 cu ft cars were produced 1963-71, 4740 cu ft cars were produced 1966-72, and 4750 cu ft cars produced 1973 and after:
CRDX Pullman-Standard 4750 cu ft:
7203, 7209, 7303, 7316, 7322, 7330, 7334, 7350, 7356, 7358, 7369.
NAHX Hawker-Siddeley cylindrical 4550 cu ft:
NAHX other builders cylindrical:
465420, 465429, 465430, 465438, 465439.
PLCX P-S 4750 cu ft:
PTLX P-S 4750 cu ft:
Pillsbury 14269, 14274, 14289, 14292, 14296, 14307, 14314, 14322
Tri-County Grain Cynthiana, Indiana 34164, 34166, 34168
NFO Grain 34477, 34491, 34503, 34513, 34528, 34535, 34535, 34537, 34546, 34552, 34554, 34556, 34557, 34558.
TLDX P-S 4427 cu ft:
2733, 2813, 5064, 6991, 7001, 7827, 7942, 7844
Transport Leasing 5398, 5640, 6966, 7716, 7758, 7788, 7875, 7878, (3)7885
Pillsbury 5680, 5686, 5702, 5711
TLDX P-S 4740 cu ft:
Acord Grain Co Illinois, Kansas 9065, 9066
TRNX Trinity 4750 cu ft, likely leased to Pillsbury:
500105, 500110, 500206, 500237, 500290, 500327, 500397, 500415, 500657.
Evergreen Hatchery Dysart, Iowa
Wellens & Co. Gold Country
7570, 7571, 7575, 7585, 7586
Jim Parker kindly shared three of Bill Grandin's photos taken May 13, 1980 showing three of the leased cars in service:
|TRNX 500397 - unusual squared, black reporting marks|
|PTLX 34488 NFO Grain|
Special thanks to Monica Ball at the Manitoba Legislative Library for her assistance. Here's a follow-up post that shows some of the above car series still in service today.
Proto 2000 PS2CD HO scale model of a TLDX yellow car lettered for General Grain:
Just finished Between You and Me - A Memoir by CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace. A fascinating career and unique style, including saying "Forgive me..." immediately before a difficult question, especially during his famed interview with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (This was not the "Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla" referred to by Stitch Jones in Clint Eastwood's movie Heartbreak Ridge.)
After reading the editorial in the October 2011 Railfan magazine that sparked a record number of letters to the editor, Trackside Treasure launched its own poll on freight car graffiti. Though a minority of respondents thought it was artful self-expression, and some wished Kilroy Was Here and Bozo Texino would re-appear, the vast majority thought of this scourge as visually-destructive vandalism. Certainly makes me long for photos from the 1980's and before - not an empty spray can anywhere trackside.
Great posting ... Don't think I've ever seen this information in one place before.
Cool stuff. Have never heard of these anywhere but your blog. Thanks for the post!
Thanks for your comments, Jason and A. So far I've only heard of one other fan who has a (single) photo of these cars. I think we all assumed that they'd always be around, which they turned out not to be.
To make things more interesting, watch for the ensuing post which will include some modern-day sightings of these cars. And keep your eyes peeled trackside and one might roll past you...32 years later!
An excellent post on a little-covered topic. These cars were before my time rail fanning, and because they were leased there is little documentation about them. Thanks for preserving a small piece of Canadian grain car history.
Great to hear from you, Ian. Since I'm no expert on car leasing, I found it interesting that the province of Manitoba was able to lease (perhaps sub-lease is the correct term?) these already-leased cars on relatively short notice. That likely accounted for the far-and-wide nature of the cars lessees, which in turn led to my interest in them. My quest for records of the cars Manitoba leased showed that it was indeed little-documented.
I can't really recall why I became so interested in the cars at the time. I guess they appeared to be something different, and the variety of paint schemes was certainly eye-catching. Perhaps I'll find out more now that this post is published... But if not, it took me quite a while to get the information together and get it ready to go, so I'm glad it is interesting so many other rolling stock enthusiasts.
Thanks for your comment,
This was really great. I've always been interested in Canadian grain trains. I have model trains of the newer Canadian wheat trains along with the CP locomotives. My cars are Canadian Wheat Board, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta and other logo'ed covered hoppers. I also have CN locomotives and many cars with the Maple Leaf. I am American but I love Canadian RR history. Thanks for the posting. Grandtrunkbob
Thanks for your kind comments, Bob, and good to have you aboard. Having seen many a grain car roll by, I share your interest in these trains of any era. Stay tuned here for more posts on Portage la Prairie and other western Canadian operations that I've photographed. There is definitely a movement afoot towards greater interest in Canadian railroading.
Here's a Manitoba buffalo boxcar I found in Nordegg Alberta in 1997. This car was destined to be put on display at the Brazeau Collieries historical site, but at the time of my visit, was sitting in the last section of track remaining along the abandoned CNR line.
Thanks for the photo of that 'Buffalo' boxcar, Chris. I also enjoyed exploring your blog.
While that boxcar was never used to haul coal - such cars were likely 6-foot door cars - by the time preservation comes to mind, the cars actually used are no longer available for preservation.
Interesting to see that car looming out of the woods, nonetheless!
Thanks for your comments,
Post a Comment