Saturday, June 10, 2017

CN Nova Scotia Gypsum Shipments to Ontario

A fleet of CN open triple hoppers carried Nova Scotia gypsum to Woodstock in southwestern Ontario for several years. My observations were in the ten years 1993-2002. It's possible that CP carried this business pre-1992. The cars were usually seen on Halifax-Toronto train Nos 307-308, singly or in small groups. CN 328215 was eastbound at Belleville, ON on CN train No 308 August 4, 2001 (above).

Built by Hawker-Siddeley in Trenton, NS in the summer of 1964, these cars were 39 feet long with a 3000 cubic foot capacity. Previously numbered in the 326000-series, and originally in the 111100-series, the cars were renumbered into the 328000-series in 1985-86. An interesting survivor from an online auction photo site, captioned as 1996 in Belleville, ON:
The CN logo always looked a little higher than usual on these diminutive cars, and the lettering block font was unique. As the CN cars aged out, reaching the end of their service lives, Illinois Central hoppers were in use. The gypsum traffic ended in 2006.

An article by Craig Dunn in Canadian Railway Modeller Train 13 Track 5 (December 2004-January 2005) profiles the gypsum rock discharge pit that these cars were destined for - north of the CN mainline between Woodstock and Ingersoll. The pit operated from May to October, with four cars being spotted by CN at night. The gypsum was dropped into the pit, from which a front-end loader transferred the gypsum to waiting tandem trucks. The author notes that any cars he noted being unloaded entered service in 1964. Visible in an article photo is CN 328045 and three others.

CN 328208 at Rockingham/Halifax NS July 28, 2002 Matt Keoughan photo:
  • A CP covered hopper on the unloading track, on the north end of Tecumseh Street near the overpass in Woodstock, now filled in.
  • CN 328085 interior view of gypsum dust
  • Later life as CN 91302
My Kingston observations, with date, car number, CN train on, remarks:

Jun 23/92 CN 328592, 328609, 328620 **black hoppers (ex-C&O purchased in 1988)
Jun 26/92 CN 328623, 328614, 328638, 328651 **black hoppers
Aug 9/92 CN 328523, 328556, 328519 **black hoppers
Mar 25/93 CN 330011, 330181 new hoppers
Oct 14/93 CN 330159, 330226 white covered hoppers
Aug 17/97 CN 328081 and 3 others, No 307
Sep 13/97 CN 328213, 328208 No 308
Sep 21/97 CN 328227, 328177 Dest Woodstock, ON ,No 307
Feb 8/98 CN 328225, No 307
May 31/98 CN 328004, 328178, 328120, 328230 Dest Windsor, NS empty, No 308
Jul 29/98 CN 328004, 328230, 328110 and 1 other, No 307
Aug 1/98 CN 328178, No 308 and CN 328037 on No 307
Aug 16/98 CN 328029, 328209 and 2 others, No 307
Jun 24/99 CN 328209 and 5 others, No 305
Jul 18/99 CN 328213, 328010, 328183 Dest Woodstock, ON
Aug 14/99 CN 328118, 328124, 328110, 328227, No 308
Dec 12/99 CN 328188 on No 321
Mar 13/00 CN 328209, 328128 on No 311
Mar 24/00 CN 328199 eastbound
Apr 9/00 CN 328290, 328124, 328110 on No 321
Apr 23/00 CN 328136
May 20/00 CN 328215, No 308
Aug 27/00 CN 328227, 328278, 328199, 328203, Dest Windsor NS, No 306
Jun 24/01 CN 328208, 328037 on No 307
Aug 4/01 CN 328215, 328027, 328177, 328186, 328201, No 308
Aug 25/01 CN 328110, 328230 and 4 others, No 307
Jun/02 CN 328178, 328180 and 2 others
Jul 28/02 CN 328194, 328215 and 7 others, No 307
Sep 30/06 IC 387027, 387221 and 2 others, No 308
Aug 3/08 IC 389289, 389529, No 305

I painted up a no-longer-justifiable former Ontario Northland Playart hopper as CN 328157 in HO scale:
Thanks to the ebullient Bob Fallowfield for his assistance with this post! Bob took a trip out the disused gypsum pit site and captured the site as it is today. Nature takes over the scene quickly! Thanks, Bob!
The unloading area (above) with safety railing.
 Looking in both directions along the CN mainline (above and below).
  The grown-over dumping pit, showing the same safety railing as above.

Running extra...
VIA's CANADA 150 wraps program may be complete, but now the hustle to hostle has begun. This past week, a quartet has been running the length of the Corridor in Ontario: 6437 leading anagramatic 3476 with coaches 3357 and 3343, with Ren coach 3332 trailing. Thanks to heads-ups from Jesse and John, I caught the consist on June 5. Railfans, to the ramparts! Tally ho trackside!

The City of Kingston's K&P Trail Urban Launch is today. This recently completed rail-to-trail extension runs from downtown Kingston to Highway 401. Parts of CN's Hanley Spur and CP's ex-Kingston & Pembroke line into Kingston are now under pavement. A May pre-launch stroll past Quattrocchi's Produce at Montreal and Railway Streets gave me pause for a before-and-after:
Where once San Luis Central carloads of spuds were spotted, now a black drainage pipe and trail roadbed run. When I transit the trail, thoughts of lone engine-led several car consists switching these spurs are top-of-mind. Highly modellable!


MrDan said...

That SLC car is an interesting specimen, formerly an REX Railway Express Agency express reefer, equipped with the usual express trucks those cars had.

Eric said...

Those were cool cars...did you hear the part about how some of their express trucks went under some Amtrak Material Handling Cars?
Thanks for your comment, Dan!

Canadian Train Geek said...

In 2002 I noted that cars in the CN 1984xx series were being loaded at the Milford National Gypsum mine in Nova Scotia... different cars than these. By 2004 they were augmented/replaced by NGCX xxx cars (many of which were named for employees) and the CN 198xxx cars were used to ship gypsum rock to the wallboard plant in McAdam, NB, and later to load synthetic gypsum from the Belledune, NB power plant.

I don't recall seeing these particular cars but I didn't pay as much attention to freight cars back then.

Eric said...

I don't pretend to know about gyp shypments in the East, Steve. Glad you do! I have seen one of the 198xxx series cars here - in scrap tie service, but even then, not recently. These plucky little hoppers were in a very specific service and I'm glad I can add something to the gyp traffic puzzle of years gone by.

Freight cars greatly outnumber locomotives and as you know, I feel the latter get waaaay too much attention!

Thanks for your comments,

Andrew said...

Curious if these weren't the "Federal White" cars that used to come off the Windsor and Hantsport. They were loaded at the mine at Mantua. There were also occasionally gypsum loads lifted out of Milford headed west.

Eric said...

I have heard of those Federal White cars. I'm unable to confirm these are those cars, but I can't confirm they aren't, either! Until I have more infomation on the loadout site of these cars, I'm pleased to have your additional information here.

Thanks for your comment, Andrew.