Friday, May 20, 2016

CN 'Flatside' boxcars

CN acquired some former Conrail, ex-Penn Central boxcars that had a unique, not-quite-Canadian appearance. Their flat sides led me to dub them, well, Flatsides! Sharp-eyed Steve Lucas noted the Penn Central lettering at top-left, above the reporting marks of CN 410600 at Brockville at Brockville's former Clarke building, now CN's metals facility, likely in ingot service in August 1998 (top photo) and CN 416367 sliding through Kingston on CN No 321 in a rather greasy, roadside pan photo from September 9, 2006 with two sisters:
Here's an online photo of an original Penn Central 229000-229499 X72A built by US Railway Equipment. These were refurbished by Ebenezer Rail or USRE/Itel in Junction City KS, prior to acceptance by CN.  Dimensions: 4140 cu ft, blt 11-72 to 4-73:
These cars were in two CN series. numbered CN 416243-416475 and 416481-416566 acquired May-November 1988 and some are still in service. Another series: CN 410500-410649 150 cars, off CN roster 2010. In CN service, these cars were used primarily in metals service, and possibly by freight forwarders.
Some cars had the Conrail logo and reporting parks patched, some had full repaints. The cars received a distinctly un-CN-like mineral brown austerity scheme with reporting marks and minimal dimensional data only. A freshly-painted CN 416491 and sisters at CN's MacMillan yard in September, 1988. (Photo by John Riddell, from the Bill Grandin collection via James Parker)

My observations: date, car number, remarks and CN train on:
Sep 1/95 416407-416389-416544
Nov/95 416416
Mar 16/96 410619-410508
Apr 4/96 416472-416331
Jun 26/96 410609-410583-410620
Dec 1/96 416352-416293
Jan 31/97 410642
Mar 27/97 416309
May 24/97 410586-410556-410518
Jul 27/97 410592
Aug 20/97 416322
Aug 28/97 410602
Sep 13/97 410516 with heavy graffiti; 410564-410563 lifted by Brockville by No 369
Sep 27/97 410607-410598-410513
Oct 4/97 416458
Oct 5/97 416488
Oct 18/97 410613 on headend of No 306 Dest. Brockville
Oct 25/97 416467
Dec 16/97 416512-416453-416267
Feb 14/98 416565 Dest. Calgary
Feb 21/98 410541-416275
Feb 26/98 416333 Dest. Belledune NB empty-416410 Dest. Flin Flon MB empty
Feb 28/98 416455
Apr 10/98 410510-410649-416354
Jul 17/98 410545
Aug 16/98 416245
Sep 4/98 410583-416407-41x412 Dest. Flin Flon empty, CN No 368
Sep 12/98 CN 410578-410579 Dest. Ottawa empty
Sep 18/98 416267 and 410576 in a Brockville lift
Feb 4/99 410646
Feb 20/99 410596
Mar 27/99 410618
May 22/99 416423-416425
Jun 24/99 410602
Aug 19/99 416257-416483
Aug 20/99 416308
Sep 4/99 410639
Sep 19/99 410504
Oct 16/99 410516-410517-410520
Apr 23/00 410546-410625, CN No 321
Jun 30/00 410581, CN No 321
Jul 29/00 410591-410596-410602-410540-410566, CN No 321
Jul 30/00 416245
Aug 9/00 410534
Sep 24/00 410639-410494, CN No 365
Oct 7/00 416453
Mar 4/01 416490
Jun 24/01 416372
Dec 3/01 416383
Mar 21/02 410593, CN No 321
Jun 9/02 CN 416422-416491
Jul 19/02 416415
Sep 21/02 416332
Dec 22/02 410581
Oct 25/04 416418
Mar 18/06 416437
Jun 3/06 416346
Sep 9/06 416367, CN No 321
Jul 19/08 416257
Jul 3/09 416381
Apr/10 416301, CN No 368
Apr 6/12 416378, CN No 368

Modelling resources:
  • Numerous online forum discussions about kitbashing these cars
  • Model Railroader June 2001 extreme weathering of an MDKX, ex-PC boxcar
  • RailModel Journal January 1990 Car Spotters Guide No. 1
  • TRAINS August 1976 featured a photo of PC 229499 with quickie ConRail (sic) patch paint
Lots o' links: 
  • Matthieu Lachance's modelling conversion, Life-Like model from good to better.
  • Ian Cranstone photo of CN 410559 with Conrail logo peeking through.
  • James Parker photos of CN 410501 (what the heck is hanging off that car ladder?)
  • JS Rybak photo of CN 410568 at Cornwall (Kingston Sub denizens)
  • Bernie Goodman photo of CN 410584 at Belleville
At least two HO-scale manufacturers have produced these cars, either in or out of CN paint: Life-Like and Proto 1000. Life-Like cars famously retailed around $3 for a lower-quality but properly-scaled model.  CN X72's on my Vancouver Wharves layout:
CN 410570 I repainted and decalled, showing clean side (above) other side with graffiti (below):
 Life-Like CN-painted model out of the box:

Running extra...

CKWS-TV in Kingston posted two viewer photos showing a Kingston Transit Route 7 bus at the John Counter Boulevard crossing, which crosses the CN Kingston Sub just east of the Kingston VIA station. Note the south-side gate on top of the bus. That means the front of the bus is already past the gate! The photos were taken earlier this month.

Another view, taken from the station parking lot, with no trains in sight.
Fortunately, a project that will render this, one of the 50 most dangerous crossings in Canada, safer is the construction of our $60 million Counter Street flyover. Preliminary berm work is currently underway.


Canadian Train Geek said...

I'm really enjoying this "year of the mundane" and your focus on specific rolling stock like this! I looked through my files and I did indeed photograph one of these boxcars, CN 416325, with numbers painted on by hand after someone sprayed graffiti all over it. The (poor) shot is from Miramichi, NB in June 2005.
CN 416325

Eric said...

Thanks, Steve. This is my world! Mundane rolling stock and all. I am not really into those mundane locomotives nearly as much :)

Thanks too for sharing your photo of CN 416325. That appears to be during the last years of service for these cars.


Brad said...

hey I have seen those cars a couple times, I even have that same Life-like model running around on the layout.

GP9Rm4108 said...

The 416--- boxcars I have noticed seem to be largely in OCS service.

Eric said...

Brad and Chris - thank you for your comments. Indeed the Flatsides are still in service, and it doesn't surprise me that they're in OCS service having passed their 40-year lifespan. It is amazing how many modellers picked up one of the versions of the Flatsides in HO scale!

When model manufacturers make a good model, sales go up!