Friday, December 27, 2013

CV White Boxcars

Central Vermont's newsprint-service boxcars CV 50000-50099 included a few cars painted in a unique paint scheme. Built by Berwick Forge & Fabricating in the former American Car & Foundry plant in Berwick, PA in 1974, the last five 100-ton boxcars were painted with white sides and roof, green lettering, black ends and underframe. CN thought highly enough of these five unique cars to have them photographed for posterity, including them in the photo collection passed on to the Canada Science and Technology Museum.
Does this look like Vermont to you? It didn't to me. In fact, the photos are credited to Don Shiner of Berwick, PA, taken in August 1974. This is not a train - it's just the five cars posed for builder's photographs - notice the photogenic new ballast! A little retro research revealed that the cars are under the Berwick-Nescopeck bridge probably on the Erie-Lackawanna line along the Susquehanna River in Berwick, just east of the Berwick plant. The bridge no longer stands, having been replaced by a newer structure.
(CSTM photo collection CN005319, CN005317, CN005318, top to bottom)
The white paint scheme did not seem to weather the years and miles terribly well. Here's CV 50097 being switched in an undated photo, though the last shop date is stencilled as CV 8-84. (G. Burridge photo, purchased at train show in 1999):
Here's an undated online view of CV 50098:
I was able to catch road-weary CV 50019 and white CV 50098 running through Kingston on March 9, 2001 on CN train No 306, a prime purveyor of Toronto to New Brunswick-bound traffic at the time (since truncated to CN regional freight 406):
Paul Charland kindly shared his photo of CV 50098 at St Albans, VT in September, 1980:
Duane Hall photo via Marty Bernard of CV 50098 in May, 1984:
Jim Hediger included the white cars in his Paint Shop article in Model Railroader in the early 80s featuring brown, blue and white CV boxcars explaining, "Herald King also produces a special set of CV decals for a white car that has black ends and green lettering. I checked into this and found there were only five prototype cars painted in this manner. However, I just plain liked the scheme so I added it to my CV car project." 
The paint scheme was popular with modellers, even though it was applied to only these five prototype cars.

I'm sure this photographer was interested in capturing the gon in foreground, but lurking behind was CV 50097 perhaps with end damage, from an online auction site, captioned 1979:
CV 50095 in 1977 (online auction site photo):

CDS Lettering also produced dry transfers for the white cars, as their #226 in various scales.

Weaver Models produced a brown and white car numbered CV 50000, 50025, 50064 and 50099.

Kadee Micro-Trains produced CV 50098 in N scale:
The cars were also popular with trackside photographers. Here are some prototype view links:
CV 50095
CV 50097
CV 50098
CV 50098
CV 50098 BFF builder's decal
CV 50099 as well as this 1984 Bill Grandin photo of CV 50099 shared by Jim Parker:

The cars eventually received the CN 'website' paint scheme with the and small CN logo replacing the large 'CV' but retaining Central Vermont reporting marks and lettering. This change started in the early 2000's, and many such CV 50000's can be found in online photos in 2003 and 2004. (This scheme was different from the non-website, small CV scheme applied to CV paper cars starting in 2002). Some cars survived with large CV's until 2011-2012, though the white cars seem to have been repainted about ten years ago. Here's CV 50095 in 2011

Here's how the remainder of this series of cars originally looked:
(CSTM photo collection CN005313)
I observed and noted many of the cars in this series, not just because of the unique white cars, but also because it was a relatively small, discrete car series. I often saw the cars on CN's Kingston Sub, on their way to Newcastle NB and other paper-loading locations. Here's CV 50058 stopped near Mi 179 Kingston Sub, while CN No 306 is in emergency on July 5, 2004. The cars' brake hoses, due to their cushion underframe configuration, seemed to often strike level crossing timbers resulting in loss of train air pressure:
CV 50000-series observations 1994-2005, showing car number, CN train car was on, date, remarks:
50097        May 24/95 WHITE
50097        Aug 2/97 WHITE
50072 306 5/98
50025 310 3/99
50051 310 3/99
50069 310 3/99
50010 303 3/99
50032 301 5/99
50030 301 5/99
50020 367 3/99
50033 306 8/99
50033 306 8/99
50042 306 8/99
50063 313 8/99
50074 313 8/99
50008 305 10/99
50039 306 11/99
50099 306 11/99 WHITE
50048 306 1/00 Dest. Newcastle NB
50030 311 3/00
50028 311 3/00
50000 306 3/00
50071        3/00
50004        3/00
50051 367 6/00
50036 367 6/00
50044 367 6/00
50042 367 6/00
50018 367 6/00
50070 365 8/00
50067 306 3/01
50098 306 3/01 WHITE photographed
50061 306 3/01
50072 306 4/01
50061 308 5/01
50007 306 6/01 to CFBC
50031 309 6/01
50009 309 6/01
50015 309 6/01
50002 365 8/01
50086 307 9/01
50039 309 10/01
50001 309 10/01
50080 309 10/01
50072 306 10/01
50041 307 3/02
50044 309 3/02
50001 366 4/02
50009 306 6/02
50017 309 9/02
50099 309 9/02 WHITE same train
50095 309 9/02 WHITE same train
50056 309 10/02
50076 305 1/02
50031 305 11/03
50050 305 11/03
50027 308 11/05

Running extra...

Trackside Treasure reader Chris de Vries reports that CV 50028 is currently in Brockville, ON for spotting at Wills Transfer by CP. Thanks, Chris!

***February 2015 update...Chris de Vries reports that CV 50014 is currently in Brockville, ON at the former Clarke warehouse - likely scrap paper for Caraustar. Thanks again, Chris!

Christmas brought a gift subscription for 2014 to The Bytown Railway Society's fine monthly newsletter Branchline. Thanks, David and Susan!

Lots-o-links for your holiday viewing pleasure: CNR 3254 with some spicy stack-talk and winsome whistling, a sweet selection of CN Rail Change Out unit photos, CN and CP auxiliaries co-operate, VIA No 1 departs Winnipeg 24 hours late, and some excellent eastern and western Canada photos by Waldron Young, 


Unknown said...

These Central Vermont 50' box cars were common on the Grand Trunk Western in Michigan during the 1990's. I have several photographs of them. Weaver Models did the Central Vermont brown scheme on their 50' Plug-door box cars but somebody made an error and applied the wrong road number on one of the cars. They put 50099 on a brown box car.

Anonymous said...

Love the header photo but am almost to embarrassed to ask; is that a model or the real thing? I wouldn't have thought the lens technology existed in the early seventies to manipulate a photo like that. Unless it can be done retrospectively to a negative or slide?
What's the story??
Andrew Kerr
Modelling CP Rail in the 80's
Sydney, Australia

Eric said...

Andrew F: Thanks very much for your comments. I'm not sure why these cars caught my eye so much; perhaps it was their 5-digit numbers. Glad you were observing them, too!

Interesting about the Weaver foobie - that must be O scale?

I checked out some of your model videos on Youtube as well as prototype GTW, my favourite being the heavy flatcar with transformer load and a cool cut of CN-predecessor ballast cars (more posts coming up on those here). Thanks for sharing these.


Eric said...

Andrew K: Very keen and discerning eye!

Don't be embarrassed, there's an ego-check here at Trackside Treasure! The original photo by Ottawa's Bruce Chapman. Taken on August 23, 1979 it shows VIA No 1 departing Ottawa. The photo also appears in colour in my Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium book, thanks to Bruce's generosity.

A couple of things that make the photo look model-ish are the lack of backdrop buildings at left, with trees that look like a model and an obvious fire hydrant and light pole, plus the track work. The locomotive consist looks like something a modeler would put together, but lo and behold, a lot of VIA trains looked like that in 1979 - what I call the VIA circus train era (and yes, I'm planning more Trackside Treasure posts on this most awesome of VIA eras!!) Just imagine two CP schemes, two road switchers, one-of-a-kind blue 8558 all in one train.

Ottawans will recognize the station trainshed. Something that looks purely prototype is the MLW smoke, though with photo editing, that can now be added to model photos.

Final answer: it's the website!

Thanks for your questions, and I'm going to keep the answer here, not on the main page. I like the way the photo turned out, so let's enjoy it for a few days!

Happy New Year,

Zartok-35 said...

Glad to see others have found the Waldron Young albums to enjoy! It has lots of my favorite thing ever, 1980s PIGGYBACK TRAINS, and ample coverage of the late "SimpleContinental", as well!

BArailsystem said...

Fantastic post Eric! That shot of the CV box cars under the bridge does look like a beautiful model railroad. They sure were photogenic boxcars, its a shame that only 5 were produced.

Thanks for the great read on a boring nightshift.

Glad to share that Flckr link with you, however I can't be credited with discovering them, my friend AJ forwarded it to me. Funny how we aren't the only people that have discovered that great collection.

Happy new year!

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Elijah and Ben.

Waldron Young = a surprise gold strike; it's good to share this resource which is full of such good stuff. I've revised the Flickr link attribution.

Note that though these cars may not have been Canadian, and perhaps weren't all that Classic, they were freight cars, and Canadian Classics to me, so I've added them to the Classic Canadian Freight Cars list in my sidebar!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I have an original of the the first photo CV 50096 shown above and measures about 16 X 20 in color. As a checker / sealer working for the CV in Italy Yard in St Albans , had to open these cars for customs to check the contents. I believe there is a name printed on the back of the photo but right now it is in the staircase in my house and can only be taken down by bringing a ladder into the house.

Eric said...

Thanks for your unique perspective on these cars, A., both prototypically and photographically. That may be the largest version of the white & green boxcars I've heard of yet, short of the prototype.

What were the cars carrying at the time you checked them, paper?

Snap a picture of the picture sometime, I'd love to see it, front and/or back!
My email: mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca

Thanks for your comment,

Anonymous said...

Great Photos. I relly like the one with the cars under the Bridge. I live in Berwick. Check out my website for some more photos and info on the Berwick Forge and Fabricating.


Eric said...

Hi Andrew,
Great to hear from you!

Thanks for the link to your Berwick Railfan site. Actually, I linked to a couple of photos/pages from your site. I also enjoyed checking out your rolling stock and some vintage shots. I'll link to it in an upcoming post.

I always wondered what those white CV cars were doing in Penna...

Mike McNamara said...

Nice write up. Great proto pics! Pretty cool you linked to my model of the CV boxcar. I like them so much I did 2 of them. They have a bit more weathering now.

Mike Mc.
Delran, NJ

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Mike. I notice that my CV boxcar post was linked on George's White River Junction site.

I also have a soft spot for New England railroading, especially as a modelling prototype. St Johnsbury!!

Stay tuned for more Canadian freight car prototypes.

I checked out your blogs and saw some fine modelling. Nice to see ex-CN wide cabs in Guilford service. I've revised the post to include your name, your blog and your rolling stock projects as links.


Unknown said...

I have a video on YouTube with the O scale Weaver Models CV 50' box car.
Here is the link.

Lionel now can have these O scale box cars produced and painted.

Hopefully they will make the CV white paint scheme in all 5 road numbers.

Eric said...

Thanks for the link, Andrew. Lots of GT goodness in that video, and yes, it would be nice to see the white & green cars more readily available.