Wednesday, October 9, 2013

CN's Environmental Mode Logo

CN added a new logo to some of its covered hoppers promoting the growing interest in the environmental movement. "Rail - the environmental mode / Le train - la mode ecologique" a green and red-lettered slogan over a road-to-rail design was applied to selected covered hoppers at CN's Transcona Shops in Winnipeg from June to December 1991. In this era, CN seemed a bit 'at sea' for covered hopper paint schemes: large and small, black and red CN logos were being applied to various car series, all with an overall grey.

I usually recorded numbers of these unique cars as I observed them on CN's Kingston Sub. Sightings have certainly dwindled in recent years (destination and other information when known, shown in brackets):

1992: 377440 (DuPont), 377320, 370786, 377223, 377550, 371346, 370269, 371296, 370407.
1993: 371059, 370999, 370786.
1994: 371254, 370944, 370890, 377731 (DuPont), 377136 (DuPont).
1995: 377590, 370819, 371255, CNIS 368373, 377089, 368629, 377875.
1996: 377896, 370819, 370481.
1997: 371618, 377590, 371190, 377484, 371296, CNIS 368283 (Windsor, ON empty), 377875, 377377, 371018, 377613 (East Edmonton, empty), 382628, 370481 (Goderich, ON empty), 370638.
1998: 370935, 370819, 370387, 370950, 377440, 371190.
1999: 371626, CNIS 368373, 377808.
2000: 371677, LSMX 8644 (Louisville Scrap Material - The Andersons, stencilled over ex-CN).
2001: 371677
2002: 377449.
2003: CNLX 7431

These covered hoppers operated in various services including potash, salt, cement and even adipic acid to Kingston's DuPont plant (top and below, in February 1992). Perhaps lesser known was another series of CN cars that received the Environmental Mode logo...
and here's a vestige of one still roaming the rails in October, 2016: CN 377531, I think!

In 1964, New York Central's Despatch Shops (DSI) built single-door cushioned underframe boxcars with an Interior Length of 60'9" and internal height of 10' 9" in the NYC 53179-53654 series. Renumbered by Conrail in the CR 218000-219000 and 279000 series, CN acquired 150 cars from Conrail in 1988.  The cars occasionally operated in eastern Canada, with several cars including CN 599073 spotted in Ottawa's Walkley yard in July 1991.

I had seen CN 599119 in Belleville on January 8, 2000 waybilled to Montreal East QC, but didn't get a photograph. Apparently the logo was still in place in 2005 in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the movement to Montreal East must have been a one-off, because I wasn't able to track or observe further such movements to eastern Canada in the new millennium.

I was able to trace this car's movements using CN's public trace system. The movement pattern for these boxcars, in 2000-2001:
-loaded with copper anodes at Hudson's Bay Mining and Smelting at Flin Flon MB
-CN handled Flin Flon-The Pas-Winnipeg MB-Fort Frances ON
-interchanged to Wisconsin Central at Stevens Point or Mellen WI
-unloaded at the refinery in White Pine MI in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

My earlier observations of these unique boxcars:
Dec 17/93 CN 599097
Mar 17/94 CN 599079

Dave Minshall kindly shared several photos of the cars in service in Manitoba. Two views of CN 599055 in April 2002, Winnipeg:

CN 599078, March 1998, Winnipeg Fort Rouge:
CN 599012, October 1994, The Pas:
More photos of these cars show that CN converted at least some of these cars from double-door plug cars to 12-foot Superior sliding doors.  CN 599079, taken in April 1990 shows the Conrail wordmark and logo painted out, with CN reporting marks applied prior to repainting.  Notice that the words in green and red on the covered hoppers were reproduced in white on the boxcars. Why were these boxcars selected to wear the Environmental Mode logo? Perhaps because of their large, non-exterior post sides that allowed the same stencil as the covered hoppers to be used.

Marc Simpson blogged about a Flin Flon derailment that occurred in 2000. In his photos in this post are CN 599133 and an Environmental Mode boxcar!

Running extra...this time all Trackside Treasure housekeeping items...

This is the first of an irregular series that I'm calling CCFC: Classic Canadian Freight Cars. Watch for uniquely Canadian rolling stock rostered by CN, CP and other Canadian car owners. Thoughts of using the series name CCF (political overtones) or CFC (environmental overtones) were shunted from my train of thought onto a sidetrack.

Watch for a Sceneramic Scequel. I've been accumulating some more (more!) information on the Sceneramics since the posts on the cars in CN and VIA service, plus their tiny lettering VIAnigma. These cars spawned stories as numerous and large as their dome window panels! More history, more rumours, more photos to come.

Javascript void(0) programming issues have necessitated a move of my welcome message and blog header photo details to the top of the right sidebar. I'm actually liking the move, because the 'front page headline' blog post title is more visible upon loading the page. Publishing day has moved mid-week due to allow for more traditional Saturday morning activities involving strong coffee and a thick newspaper!


Michael said...

Interesting post, Eric. I just stumbled across one of my photos of one of these cars in Sarnia yard in 1992. Good to know the back story behind this scheme.

Marc said...

Thanks Eric, I model the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting operation so having a trace for the Copper shipments will be a great help in car routing for these cars. Much appreciated.

Eric said...

Michael and Marc, thanks for your comments.

It's possible the car in Sarnia was serving the auto industry, or perhaps some smelting in that area?Any photos, and did the car have the Enviro logo?

In the reading I did on the White Pine smelter, it was played out but reopened to handle some reclaimed material not previously deemed worthwhile.

I really miss the CN public was very handy for a freight car fan.


Michael said...

It was a covered hopper, so I'm guessing it was a chemical commodity. They used these hoppers for carbon products and waste byproducts from the Chemical Valley, if memory serves.

Eric said...

I see, Michael. (I was thinking boxcar.) Definitely a busy spot, that Chemical Valley, generating lots of traffic for CN.


BArailsystem said...

Good read Eric. First I have seen/heard of the environmental mode boxcar. I always love the techincal and numerical details in your posts.

CN Public Trace System? Was this another victim of post 9/11 terrorism paranoia?


Eric said...

Yep, it was Ben - another victim of increased security.

This was so long ago that after trainwatching, I would look for phone booths (1-800-CAR-TRAC) - it was a free call to the automated attendant, to trace cars before they arrived in Toronto or Montreal, to ascertain which train just went by! Also available online (probably just online now, but with sign-in)

I had some cars that I followed that I checked daily to see their current location - subject of some future posts.

Thanks for your comments,

Robert in Port Townsend said...

As I under stand the short lived history of this logo, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 required Federal government agencies identify and consider the social, economic, and natural environmental impacts of proposed actions as part of their decision-making processes.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for the Canadian National Railroad Grade Separation Project.

The Grade Separation Project logo was, as shown, the intersection of rail tracks to highway pavement.

Like so many other ill-conceived logos, without saturated public education, "Rail - the environmental mode" and the sweeping architecture of the logo, means nothing to a motorist watching a train zooming by at 50 miles per hour.

For a logo to be effective, it has to be immediately recognized and attached to a fact or function.

Like the Nike "Swoosh."

Eric said...

Good one, Robert. Neither the logo nor the slogan 'Googles' well. I guess it will remain in the Trackside Treasure memory bank - I hesitate to use the word 'repository'.

Thanks for your comment and additional information,

JDL56 said...

Congrats on the 250th post! As a fellow blogger, I know how hard it can be sometimes to come up with new and original material. You do a good job; your blog doesn't disappoint.

John Longhurst, Winnipeg

Eric said...

Thanks, John. As always, I try to maintain a balance between CN and CP, passenger and freight, east and west, prototype and model. This keeps me, and hopefully readers, happy, engaged and interested to see what will come next.

I also like to keep ten to fifteen draft posts in various states of readiness at all times.

It's fun.
Thanks for your comment,

Unknown said...

Another one of your posts saves the day! I recently picked up a Bachmann HO CN hopper with the Environmental Mode scheme, and I wanted to find out more. This post had almost everything I needed! Thanks for sharing! Although, I'm not sure if the real 371375 had the scheme…

Eric said...

Glad to help, Braedan. It's certainly possible that the real CN 371375 bore the scheme. Perhaps the manufacturers work with prototype photos, hence the number.

Either way, it's plausible based on some of the cars I did see in Enviro paint in the 371-series.

Enjoy your new Bachmann with confidence!