Friday, September 16, 2016

Hi-Cube Boxcars Haul Peat Moss

Who ever thought you could fill a boxcar with peat moss? Sure, you can! You might think auto parts but you'd be wrong. As the use of 86-foot high cube boxcars waned, replaced by parts built closer to auto assembly plants, use of containers and trucking, these cars found other cargos, such as NADX 7018 (ex-Ann Arbor) on CN No 309 at Rigney St in Kingston on March 11, 2006 (top photo). Peat moss shipments originated at Bathurst NB - big business on Caraquet Peninsula and one of the few ladings originating on CN's Caraquet Subdivision! Also in Miramichi at the transload facility west of the yard and handled west on CN No 403 and east on CN No 402. Interestingly, peat moss 'cubes out' before it 'tares out' due to its low density, so the larger the car carrying it, the better. I observed these cars  on CN's Kingston Sub between 2001 and 2008.
Ex-CP Rail WHCX 86011 is on CN No 309 at Rigney Street in Kingston on June 3, 2006 (above). WHCX reporting marks represent Western Hay Corporation (above). HLMX 86183 (Helm Financial Corporation) is shown at Collins Bay, ON on CN No 309 March 28, 2005:
HLMX 86179-NADX xxxx-HLMX 86042-HLMX 86011 on CN No 309 at Rigney St. on April 30, 2006:
In 2006, Darrell Sawyer kindly shared some 86-footer sightings on the other side of the country, in Huntington and Chilliwack, BC:
  • CPAA 206026 red
  • CPAA 206200 brown
  • HCSX 8031 (ex-CR class RR34, brown)
  • HLMX 86037 (ex C&O 493337 blue)
  • MILW 4799 brown
  • NADX 7009 brown
  • PHRX 26608 and 26620 (ex DT&I light blue)
  • WHCX 86008 (ex-CPAA 206210)
I received this interesting input from Stuart Thomson: in the late 1980's, he consulted on shipping peat moss from New Brunswick in 40-foot boxcars. In an attempt to increase the amount of lading, an open stock car was used. After a rainstorm passed through, the car weighed in excess of 300,000 lbs and barely made it over a bridge in Kenneth Square, PA - the mushroom CAPITAL of the U.S.A.! Perhaps the peat moss shipments to Chilliwack were also for mushroom farming, since BC is Canada's second-largest mushroom-producing province. Business is indeed mushrooming! I've also read reports of 86-footers being used in paper towel service, such as Scott Paper in Washington state.

Here are a few photo links of some peat moss boxcars I observed:
And here are my peat moss boxcar observations by date, reporting marks, colour and CN train on:
Jun 30/01 HCSX 8001 blue on No 309
May 27/02 NADX 7011 brown on No 309
Aug 3/02 HCSX xxxx westbound
Aug 24/02 HCSX 8020 plus three others on No 308
Sep 21/02 HCSX 8001 
Sep 7/03 HLMX 86062 on No 309
Nov 2/03 HCSX 8028 on No 306
Apr 17/04 HCSX 8040
Jun 6/04 NADX and HCSX 86-footers on No 309
Jul 5/04 HCSX xxxx on No 306
Jul 11/04 four HCSX on No 309
Jul 15/04 HLMX and HCSX on No 309
Aug 7/04 HCSX 8036 blue on No 309
Nov 19/04 HLMX on No 309
Nov 25/04 HCSX on No 306
Feb 3/05 HCSX and ex-CP on No 309
Mar 11/05 HCSX 8029 on No 309
Apr 3/05 NADX 7014 orange, HLMX 86179 green, HCSX 8023 blue, HCSX 8027 blue, NADX 7020 orange, HLMX 86062 blue
Sep 3/05 HLMX green on No 309
Sep 9/05 WHCX 86016 ex-CP and four HCSX on No 309
Oct 1/05 HCSX 8039 blue, HLMX? 86177 on No 309
Oct 23/05 NADX 7005 and two others on No 309
Nov 6/05 HCSX 8015-8017 blue, HLMX 86089 on No 309
Nov 7/05 WHCX 86014 ex-CP
Mar 11/06 NADX 7018-7019 ex-AA, HLMX 86114 ex-L&N on No 309
Mar 24/06 HCSX 8043 red, WHCX 86005, HCSX 8003 blue on No 308 and HLMX 86173 blue, HCSX 8012 blue on No 309
Mar 25/06 HLMX 86072 blue on No 308
May 22/06 HCSX 8025 blue, HLMX 86186-86174 blue and NADX 7005 brown on No 309
Jun 3/06 HLMX 86011 red-HLMX 86136 blue on No 309
Jul 1/06 HCSX 8010 ex-B&O! blue 'Cushion Underframe' on No 309 
Jul 19/06 HLMX 86174 blue eastbound
Jan 28/07 HCSX 8014 blue, NADX 7011 red on No 309
Mar 4/07 NADX 7014 red, NADX 7013 brown, HLMX? 86036 blue on No 309
Sep 22/07 NADX 7009 brown, HCSX 8029 blue on No 309
Jan 11/08 HLMX 86181 orange on No 309
Mar 14/08 HCSX 8015-8017 blue on No 368
May 3/08 HLMX 86153 blue on No 309
Nov 4/08 HCSX xxxx on No 369

Nowadays the same car type is in use 2016 by Premier Horticulture in Carrot River, SK also for peat moss shipping. Saskatchewan Railways FB photo posted July 2016 showing PHRX 4794 (ex-Milwaukee Road) and 4787 there. Mark David Zulkoskey photo. Thanks, Mark! Interestingly, Dan Dell'Unto had photographed then-MILW 4794 at the north end of CP's Toronto yard in May, 2008 with other MILW and HLCX hi-cubes! PHRX 4792 is out there, too!
***December 2018 update: CP selling  MILW 4799, 4800, 4806 built 1977, via their webpage, stored at Cartier and Chapleau, ON

Running extra...

You can plant tubers in peat moss or you can be a Youtuber. Here are a few of my Youtube videos made during a recent sojourn to northern Ontario:

Trackside Treasure blog posts are like buses - there's always another one coming along. Ever-helpful Facebook Memories reminded me that I posted a photo of Kingston Transit bus 1253 one year ago. I would only take a bus photo at this location for one reason - I was picking up some pies at Pizza Hut. 
What are the chances that a year later I'd be taking part in Pizza Hut's 5 Bucks offer? This year it was KT's only non-Kingston Express NOVAbus 1502 at the same location at the Gardiners Town Centre transfer point: 
It's been three years since I became a charter daily Kingston Express commuter. The success of this service has led to 2016's debut of 10-minute peak service. And the buses are well-patronized. And 1253 is now advertising Diamond & Diamond injury lawyers in its flat-sided flanks!


Jeffrey said...

The ex-AA car in the first photo may have also later been used by Indiana Hi-Rail, accounting for the square white patch above the reporting marks, where the IHRC logo would have been.

Eric said...

Thanks very much for that additional information, Jeffrey. Much appreciated.

Unknown said...

I live less than ten minutes from Kennett Square, mentioned in the blog. Loads of peat moss were a regular sight here for a number of years, I'll ask one of my friends who worked for the local short line if he remembers more details.


Eric said...

That sounds great, Randy. Please do!