A cut of CN insulated boxcars with 8-foot Superior and 9-foot Youngstown plug doors in CN's Belleville Yard on February 17, 1992 included billboard 'big apple' CN 283032. Ironically, this car was one of four billboard cars that debuted during railway week in Belleville in July 1971 behind Century 2335 and restored CN steam locomotive 6218. Since much of CN's Great Lakes Region track gang equipment was based in Belleville in 1992, wintered there and was sent afield each summer, it seemed the presence of these 1965-68 built insulated cars indicated their impending conversion to maintenance-of-way house cars, some with roll-up doors.
Photographed in Armstrong, Ontario the car has indeed been renumbered, to CN 73728, with its new number stencilled higher than its previous reporting marks near the underframe.(Gerald Harper photo):
CN 73726 has its 'Insulated Car' designation painted out, with its new AAR code MWM stencilled near its number, in March, 2000:
Some cars such as 73737 and 73723, also 73743 seen at Belleville in April, 1996 had been equipped with roll-up doors in place of their plug doors, and new Home Hardware doors for crew access. Equipment is being loaded for the upcoming trackwork season.
CN 73723 in service in 2005 in London, Ontario with steps and handrails for the crew door, hydro hookup on the 'B' end and DANGER placards clearly visible (Peter Mumby photo):
Although this car series included CN 73600-73773, CN car tracing records on CN 73700-73745 in October, 2001 showed many cars still in MOW service from Quebec to Alberta:73703 to CPRS 16/8/01*
73711 Redditt track RE66 27/7/01
73712 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73714 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73717 Jasper-Hinton-Edmonton 8-9/01
73718 to Selkirk via Paddington 7/01*
73722 Bethnal-Oatland-Capreol 8-9/01
73723 Hornepayne track HO60-Argolis-Agate 8-9/01
73724 Edmonton track TH01 10/01
73725 Capreol 8/01
73729 Riviere des Prairies-Fitzpatrick 7-9/01
73731 Joffre track JF13-CN train No 309-arr Winnipeg 28/9/01
73732 Capreol 8/01
73734 Bethnal 8-9/01
73735 Capreol 8/01
73738 Agate track RC39-Hornepayne-Longlac-Fort Erie
73741, 73743, 73744 Belleville 18/7/01
73742 Foleyet track FL72-MacMillan Yard Toronto 9/01
73745 Agate track RC39-Hornepayne-Longlac-Fort Erie
Note that four (*) cars are heading to Selkirk, Manitoba, likely for scrapping at Mandak Metals. Perhaps CN 73741 is making its last trip midtrain in a westbound freight at Kingston on June 9, 2002:
Tonight's report from Brian Schuff in Winnipeg just in: VIA No 1 with 6451-Ren 6434 and Tremblant Park on the tail end. It's been quite a while since the Canadian had a yellow-nosed, non-Ren F40 on the point. CN hogger Mark Perry was in the cab of CN engine 2600 heading for Melville as the Canadian passed.
Christmas specials abound this time of year. Last night it was the Polar Bear Express, with Tom Hanks and his young passengers sloshing across a cracking, ice-covered lake before they reach the shore and safety. Kind of like Saving Private Ryan on ice. To paraphrase Zuzu in It's a Wonderful Life, "Every time a bell rings at the crossing, it means a train is coming."
Merry Christmas to all Trackside Treasure's readers! May this festive season bring lots of relaxation, time with family and friends, a break from work, enjoying festive food and drink (bring on the fruitcake!) and reflecting on 2011 as we look forward to 2012.