Saturday, July 22, 2017

ZCAX Covered Gondolas

The Zinc Corporation of America operated a unique fleet of shorty gondola cars in the series ZCAX 89100-89183, rebuilt in 1976 by Midwest Freight Car. I would often observe these cars on CN's Kingston Subdivision (see 1995-2003 observations below). Second-last reporting marks alphabetically, just ahead of ZVBX! ZCAX 89122 was at Belleville on CN No 303 at Belleville on April 3, 1999 (top photo).

These cars were 2200 (or 2420) cu ft, with 9'8" external height to car sides and up to 13'8" external height overall, including cover. Originally SP 333500-334399 42'-6" IL 2420cf covered gondolas built by Gunderson Brothers Engineering Co. (GBEC) 3-65 as SP class G-100-7. Rebuilt with smooth sheet metal replacing original corrugated sides, and cover added for zinc service. One home point for these cars was Bartlesville, OK - historical site of three different zinc smelters, including one that changed hands in 1987 from Engelhard to Zinc Corporation of America, and served by M-K-T and AT&SF!

Initially, these were on CN train No 395, a manifest that originated in Montreal Taschereau Yard, bypassed Toronto's MacMillan Yard thence interchanging directly with UP in Chicago. It's possible these loads originated in New Brunswick - or Quebec. It looks like the ZCAX cars were replaced by newer 52-foot MHFX grey covered gondolas.

An online auction site photo of ZCAX 89139 in January, 1990 passing Bayview Junction:

Link: Top view of ZCAX 89133 and its cover.

My Kingston observations: date, car reporting marks, CN train on and remarks:

Dec 19/93 ZCAX xxxxx on tailend of westbound
Dec 13/95 ZCAX 89137
Feb 15/97 ZCAX 89178
Jun 12/97 ZCAX 89154 and 2 others to UP interchange at Yard Centre, IL
Dec 6/97 ZCAX 89154 and 2 others on No 395
Feb 28/98 ZCAX 89107 Dest Bartlesville, OK empty on No 395
May 15/98 ZCAX 89101, 89155 on No 395
Apr 3/99 ZCAX 89122 on No 303 (photo above)
Sep 19/99 ZCAX 89180 on No 303
Mar 24/00 ZCAX 89111
Jul 15/03 ZCAX 89124, 89161
Dec 6/07 MHFX 5683 and 1 other, No 369
Feb 18/08 10 covered grey gondolas
Jul 19/08 MHFX 5769, 5753 and 8 others
Nov 26/08 MHFX 5638, 5717, 5753
Apr 24/10 MHFX 5752-5632
Jan 15/12 MWCX 202294 and 4 black covered gondolas
Jan 29/12 MHFX 5301 and 2 grey covered gondolas
Jan 25/12 MHFX 5250, 5266 on No 368
Apr 6/12 MHFX 5280 and 4 grey covered gondolas on No 368

Thanks to Doug Stark for additional information on these unique cars.

Running extra...

CNTL and OOCL take it to Highway 401:
A trip to Toronto this week aboard VIA Nos 651 and 48 began with breakfast - coffee, bagel and two cream cheese. Passed on the banana bread.
 And a view of Geddes Station in Belleville:
Upon arrival in Toronto, it was time for No 651's consist to GO to the Toronto Maintenance Centre. Watch for an upcoming post!


Steve Boyko said...

Interesting gons! I don't recall seeing any like that in New Brunswick. Brunswick Mines / Smelting used brown CN covered gondolas and the ex Great Slave Lake blue cars for carrying the zinc concentrate.

Eric said...

Good point, Steve. Wish I had better data on their destination back-in-the-day. Perhaps a Trackside Treasure reader will enlighten us both!

Thanks for your comment,