Saturday, May 26, 2012

Postscript: Manitoba Covered Hoppers

I posted photos of Manitoba's leased covered hoppers that I took during my trip to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba in 1980.  Interestingly, some of the cars of the same number series soldier on, still in service today.  As time marched on, the weld marks where the Manitoba crest was attached are still visible, although the rust marks have diminished somewhat.  PTLX 34494 lettered for NFO Grain is shown in 2009.  Can you see the six characteristic rust marks to the left of the 'G' in Grain?
I searched some online photo sites to see if I could find any ex-Manitoba cars in the same number series as the ones I'd seen, to add to the list of cars that Manitoba had leased.  Especially cars that I'd recorded but hadn't photographed, probably assuming they'd always be there to photograph. Plain vanilla cars CRDX 7219 in 2004 (above) and CRDX 7364 in 2007 (below) also show weld marks. CRDX 7215 is shown in its builder photo:

NFO Grain and Pillsbury were the largest lettered fleets I observed.  PTLX 14296 Pillsbury is one of the cars I saw in 1980.  In 1986, original reporting marks are still visible, as are weld marks surrounding the 'u':
PTLX 14316 in 2008 shows how the Pillsbury lettering and logo have faded significantly in the intervening years, and reporting marks reapplied on a patch.  Rust marks around the 'u' as well:
Doug Stark got a nice look-down photo of PTLX 14305 in Galesburg, IL on July 8, 2006: 
By 2011, some of the PTLX cars had been given new reporting marks: AEQX 14305 of ATEL Corporation. Another rusty 'u':
INTX 7617, relettered for Interstate Commodities Inc., also has a rusty 'u' in Chicago in September, 2014.  Likely previously lettered for EEC. Shared to the Freight Car Photos group by Dennis DeBruler.
TLDX 5712 is a P-S 4427 that was still running around with weld marks on its side, photographed in London, ON in 1993 and kindly shared by Doug Stark. Thanks, Doug! I'd seen fleetmate TLDX 5711 back in 1980! Unlike the larger-capacity Pillsbury cars, this has a rusty 'b' not a rusty 'u' (below). Doug also sleuthed another unknown/unobserved by me P-S 4427 car series including Agway-lettered TLCX 19027, 19066 and maybe more showing weld marks into the 1990's!
One of the smaller fleets was the lease fleet lettered for Tri-County Grain of Cynthiana, Indiana. Here's the builder's photo of PTLX 34168:
In service - a fresh image of PTLX 34168 taken by Gary Zuters (Andy Fayreweather collection - thanks, Andy!) in Toronto on May 1, 1980, shield and all!
Weld marks are centred around the 'N'. These cars are wearing AEQX reporting marks in 2020 - actually in 2012 as well. Original lettering still visible in 2009:
PTLX 34477 in its builder's photograph from 1974 was six years prior to my sighting at Portage.
Brothers PTLX 34493 (top) and 3454x (below) show more weathering effects.  Ryan Laroche shared this photo taken in North Dakota in 2006.  Ryan tantalizingly reported a similar car still bearing its crest in potash service a couple of years earlier. I observed NFO Grain-scheme Interstate Commodities INTX 23325 on CN's Kingston Sub on January 16, 2016, with weld marks visible!
Aha! Brian Schuff kindly shared these photos of PTLX 34469 NFO Grain (looks more like FO AI) still bearing its battered shield in the mid-90's in CP's Winnipeg 'G' Yard:
A survivor!  This proves that some car(s), so far just NFO Grain, retained their shields much later than most.
Here's one of the few HO-scale models Manitoba cars I've seen - from the Red River Prototype Modellers meet in July, 2022. Coincidentally, it's PTLX 34469 and with matching weathering:
Remarks-only PTLX 34480 has small weld marks still visible in 2008 above the graffiti:
New reporting marks PLCX 16339 cover original USLX 7500-series reporting marks on Wellens & Company/Gold Country in 2007.  Regardless, weld marks around the '&' indicate that this is one of the cars that Manitoba made use of during its short-term lease program in 1980, with the original Wellens lease beginning in 1974:
Looking considerably brighter and snazzier in its builder photo showing its original reporting marks, here's USLX 7570 which I later saw in 1980:
Who says you can't go home again? Jim Burnside shared this photo that he took of PLCX 16334 back where it began - CP's Winnipeg yard. This photo that Jim took in August, 2015 clearly shows the rusted weld marks, indicated by black arrows are still visible. This car is from the same series as PLCX 16339 (two photos above). July 2016 UPDATE: Shaun Judge photographed PLCX 16334 at Smiths Falls, ON on CP, and the car is still extant, photographed in Minnesota in July, 2018!
Fred Shannon shared three photos of former Wellens & Company cars. First, this April, 2022 photo of PLCX 16341 at Emerson, MB:

Also, PLCX 16329  in June 2021 (above) and PLCX 16337 in June 2020 (below):
Acord Grain Co. Illinois, Kansas TLDX 9000-series cars that I saw two of, here's a vintage shot of TLDX 9064:
Here's TLDX 9067 in 1986 and TLDX 9068 in 2006 with weld marks. Jim Merrick kindly shared this photo of HS 1482, still lettered for Acord in 1996 with weld marks showing:
And although I couldn't find a modern-day  photo of Evergreen Hatchery USLX 5900-series cars that I saw two of, this Surface Transportation Board scan of the original 1973 lease agreement between USLX and the Hatchery including specific lettering to be applied, show that there were five cars leased, later leased by the province of Manitoba.

January 2013 - Chris van der Heide found two more cars online with the characteristic rust marks: TLDX 5703, PTLX 14297 and PLCX 18667.  These are cars from the same series as some I saw in 1980, but are additional car numbers.  Thanks, Chris!

May 2020 - Andy Fayerweather shared two photos online. PLCX 18665 and PLCX 16339

June 2021 - TLCX 19066 fallenflags photo by Dave Krumenacker. New PS-4427 cu.ft. car series to me, in Manitoba lease service! David Smith kindly shared this photo of TLCX 19027 showing its weld marks in 1988 in California:
The majority of the above photos were saved from online photo sites with dates but without photographers' credit information.  If you're the photographer, please let me know and I'll add credit information. Subsequent photos requested from photographers are credited.

Running extra...

The first post on these unique cars garnered a lot of interest, and may represent the first primary research on this subject undertaken anywhere in print or online.  This is certainly a first for Trackside Treasure, and possibly the post with the longest gestational age!

Kingston's own Knorr Brake Limited manufactures computer-controlled locomotive braking systems, and recently added an 8,000 sq ft expansion to its 22,000 sq ft facility on Development Drive, just north of CN's Kingston Sub and just west of Gardiners Road. CP Rail recently signed a contract with the plant, which originally opened in 1974, most recently renovated in 1998.  Many finished products are sent to Watertown NY-based New York Air Brake, and both plants are owned by Germany's Knorr-Bremse AG.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Manitoba Covered Hoppers

The Province of Manitoba leased covered hoppers for grain service in 1980.  In February 1979, Premier Sterling Lyon's provincial government did not join a federal-provincial grain car study.  Manitoba believed responsibility for providing grain cars lay with the federal government.  Instead, it budgeted $2 million for a 'one-year, one-shot' deal to lease 400 covered hoppers capable of moving 38 million bushels of grain.  That worked out to $500 per car per month. Purchasing like cars would cost $50,000 per car! By leasing, Manitoba believed box cars would be freed up for shipping grain via Churchill.

Two factors that made covered hoppers available were: a U.S. trade embargo on grain sales to the USSR, as well as lessened demand for cars to ship Saskatchewan potash. Both these factors freed a number of leases, with those cars finding their way into Manitoba. The cars were actually sub-leased from companies that had already committed to them. The market situation allowed Manitoba to have cars available during the months of highest demand - June to November.

The decision to lease broke new political ground, yet there was little Opposition objection to the passing of the measure in the provincial Legislature. By leasing, the province was not committing to own cars that would not always be needed for grain shipping.
A March 8, 1980 Regina Leader-Post clipping shows the cars ready for use:
By leasing the cars, Manitoba succeeded in decreasing grain inventories.  Fifty percent of 1979's harvest was stored due to a shortage of cars.  By the end of 1980, inventories had been reduced to zero, turned to cash for Manitoba's farmers. The 1980 crop year was expected to be one with record grain exports, a majority to be handled through West Coast ports rather than Eastern ports and the Lakehead.

While the other prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were each buying 1,000 new cylindrical covered hoppers to contribute to the western grain car pool, Manitoba looked to car leasing companies such as North American Car, Pullman Leasing and United States Railcar Leasing to form a fleet for farmers' use, in place even before the other provinces' cars were built. Two Rivers, MB elevator managers made the news in a Canadian Press story decrying the use of lower-capacity, worse-condition boxcars for their Cargill and UGG elevators. They observed that CN left 51 cars sitting in a quarry near Rivers for two weeks, including five of the 400 cars leased by the Manitoba government!

Although Manitoba's leased cars were a variety of manufacturers, capacities and reporting marks, they had one thing in common - the provincial armorial bearings (crest) surmounted by "Manitoba", on a steel plate with a green or red background, welded high in the centreline of the carbody.
Though I was in Manitoba again in 1981 and 1982, I didn't see any of the Manitoba covered hoppers while trackside.  With most of Manitoba's harvest sent to terminal elevators at the ports of Churchill and Thunder Bay, a co-operative arrangement between the Manitoba and federal governments resulted in Manitoba's better-known fleet of grain cars - the Buffalo boxcars beginning in late-1985.  Here's an example of these former CN boxcars with 8-foot doors, CN 429004 at Portage la Prairie in 1986:
Although very little has been written about Manitoba's temporary covered hopper fleet, that's not to say that I'm the only one who remembers them.  Bill Whitfield kindly supplied this photo of TLDX 7766 which he took in Pecos, Texas in March 1983:
Though the fleet didn't last long, some of the cars apparently did. Here's a photo of a considerably grubbier sister, TLDX 7888 from an online auction site, undated.  The crest has been removed, but its former location is clearly visible by the lighter yellow paint: These weld marks denote Manitoba cars years after the crests have been removed, and will be featured in the following post...survivors still in service.
A few years later! Check out this Doug Stark photo of fleetmate TLDX 7875 in London, ON in January, 1995 with those weld lines still showing but the TLDX logo plate gone:
I photographed two Manitoba covered hoppers at the Trans-Canada Highway crossing of CP's Carberry Sub in Portage in June 13, 1980.  On the head-end CP 5514-5522-5668, CN's former Pleasant Point Sub trackage is in foreground:
From left: TLDX 9066 Acord Grain Co., PTLX 14322 Pillsbury, and USLX 5900, one of only five Evergreen Hatchery cars leased by Manitoba, of which I was lucky to see two.  Note: Evergreen Hatchery car above on CN lines - green paint on the welded plate; Evergreen Hatchery car below on CP lines - red paint on the welded plate:
This 19-car eastbound CN freight is coming down the Gladstone Sub at West Tower behind CN 4303-4327 at 0847 on June 17, 1980.  Its first car is Manitoba covered hopper TRNX 500290, with reporting marks only, but likely leased to Pillsbury.  CP Carberry Sub in foreground:

USLX 5904 was spotted at Portage's United Grain Growers elevator in June 20, 1980 (top photo).  This car had been unloaded in Thunder Bay at Saskatchewan Pool's Elevator 7A six days earlier.

The following list includes the cars I saw in Manitoba from June 11-23, 1980 on both CN and CP lines.  I also saw many Manitoba covered hoppers in Thunder Bay while eastound and westbound aboard VIA Rail to Portage.  

Since the cars were seen on both CN and CP trains, it's unknown to me how they were assigned to each railway.  Either equally, based on total provincial rail mileage or on each railway's percentage of total grain shipped.  My current working theory: green shield background for CN-assigned cars, red crest background for CP-assigned cars.  The list includes specific cars of larger groups of leased cars, listed by reporting mark, builder, capacity, car number including paint scheme if known.  P-S 4427 cu ft cars were produced 1963-71, 4740 cu ft cars were produced 1966-72, and 4750 cu ft cars produced 1973 and after:

CRDX Pullman-Standard 4750 cu ft:
7203, 7209, 7303, 7316, 7322, 7330, 7334, 7350, 7356, 7358, 7369.

NAHX Hawker-Siddeley cylindrical 4550 cu ft:

NAHX other builders cylindrical:
465420, 465429, 465430, 465438, 465439.

PLCX P-S 4750 cu ft:

PTLX P-S 4750 cu ft:
Pillsbury 14269, 14274, 14289, 14292, 14296, 14307, 14314, 14322 
Tri-County Grain Cynthiana, Indiana 34164, 34166, 34168
NFO Grain 34477, 34491, 34503, 34513, 34528, 34535, 34535, 34537, 34546, 34552, 34554, 34556, 34557, 34558.

TLDX P-S 4427 cu ft:
2733, 2813, 5064, 6991, 7001, 7827, 7942, 7844
Transport Leasing 5398, 5640, 6966, 7716, 7758, 7788, 7875, 7878, (3)7885
Pillsbury 5680, 5686, 5702, 5711

TLDX P-S 4740 cu ft:
Acord Grain Co Illinois, Kansas 9065, 9066

TRNX Trinity 4750 cu ft, likely leased to Pillsbury:
500105, 500110, 500206, 500237, 500290, 500327, 500397, 500415, 500657.

Evergreen Hatchery Dysart, Iowa
5900, 5904


Wellens & Co. Gold Country
7570, 7571, 7575, 7585, 7586

Jim Parker kindly shared three of Bill Grandin's photos taken May 13, 1980 showing three of the leased cars in service:
USLX 7564
TRNX 500397 - unusual squared, black reporting marks
PTLX 34488 NFO Grain

Special thanks to Monica Ball at the Manitoba Legislative Library for her assistance.  Here's a follow-up  post that shows some of the above car series still in service today.

Proto 2000 PS2CD HO scale model of a TLDX yellow car lettered for General Grain:
April 2018 update**** Marc Simpson reported a photo of Manitoba lease car TLDX 5670.

Running extra...

Just finished Between You and Me - A Memoir by CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace.  A fascinating career and unique style, including saying "Forgive me..." immediately before a difficult question, especially during his famed interview with the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.  (This was not the "Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla" referred to by Stitch Jones in Clint Eastwood's movie Heartbreak Ridge.)

After reading the editorial in the October 2011 Railfan magazine that sparked a record number of letters to the editor, Trackside Treasure launched its own poll on freight car graffiti.  Though a minority of respondents thought it was artful self-expression, and some wished Kilroy Was Here and Bozo Texino would re-appear, the vast majority thought of this scourge as visually-destructive vandalism. Certainly makes me long for photos from the 1980's and before - not an empty spray can anywhere trackside.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Millhaven Spur Update

Millhaven's former Celanese plant, served by CN's Millhaven Spur, has weeds growing up between the rails as the demise of the factory seems certain and imminent.  There is some acitivity on the spur, however.  While driving along Taylor-Kidd Boulevard and the deserted factory, what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A shortline Geep seemingly about to cross the east-west arterial road!
Cando Contracting GP9 1000, formerly Barrie-Collingwood Railway 1000 'The Pride of Barrie and Collingwood', onetime star of a Tim Hortons commercial, now reposes just north of the road on March 18.  This unit once shared track with CP AC4400CW 9626 at Utopia, Ontario during BCRY's opening ceremony on October 23, 1998.
More recently, the Geep was lettered for the Orangeville Brampton Railway, operating between Orangeville and Streetsville Junction, Ontario. But now the Geep sits by its ZIM 20-foot container/engine shop/office/maintenance base. Note the hydro line strung from the roadside power line, garbage container and gated road access to keep the unit secure.
Just to the north, the CoCo Paving asphalt-unloading spur curves west, joining the spur as it leads north to the CN Kingston Sub interchange. Contributor Ron Barrett (see photos below) mentioned that the rails in the final curve to the interchange tracks were regularly replaced due to excessive wear to the inside of the outer rail, with the rail head eventually completely worn away.

View to the north (above) while to the south (below) tracks KN01 and KN02, also gated, are full of tank cars being unloaded.
Some of the cars being unloaded were PROX 74801, 74518, 76185, 76451, 74172, 76179, and GATX 89071.
A teasel-filled view of the cars from Jim Snow Drive:
Ron Barrett kindly sent these photos in March, showing Bombardier's new test track/unloading facility on County Road 4 in use.  A crew was unloading the first new Toronto subway car constructed in Thunder Bay.  The cars are tested here before being trucked on to Toronto.  
***2017 UPDATE***A turnout was installed from the Millhaven Spur to the Bombardier plant over the winter of 2016-2017, to allow flat cars handling articulated light rail vehicles to be unloaded and finished at the plant.
The Bombardier Trackmobile prepares to pull the car from the trailer to the test track.
Interestingly in the 1960's, CP used flat cars to transport TTC Can Car/Hawker-Siddeley H1 cars from Thunder Bay to Toronto (first photo, below).  Constructed from Glen-series sleepers, or possibly baggage-express cars, the 83' 10" flat cars were rebuilt by CP, initially numbered 313000-313007 and intended for long dimensional loads weighing less than 145,000 pounds.  Three cars with non-revenue numbers - CP 418103, 418124 and 418125 were used to transport 75-foot MLW M1 cars from Montreal (second photo, below):
CP 418125 is carrying MLW-built M1 class car 5300:
An empty CP 418125 at Toronto, September 1963. Peter Cox photo via MAP:
These passenger car-to-flat car conversions are not to be confused with the N- and S-series sleepers converted to 4000- then 520000-series container cars used on CP's Atlantic Limited between Montreal and Saint John, New Brunswick.  Interestingly, CP 313005 was involved in a collision during a drop switch on the Neebing Lead in the West Fort William joint area while being pulled from the Can Car plant in Thunder Bay, July 1977.  The flat car sideswiped a CN switching movement, and the TTC car being carried flew off the car into a ditch. A standard CP flat car carries a SIG-manufactured TTC Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) on December 29, 1977:
An aerial view of the C-I-L plant(below), as built mid 1950's.  Ammonia plant (top of photo) with 1,000-ton capacity sphere, of which only the maintenance shop (later CANDO enginehouse) and part of compressor building still remain.  The  main polyester plant was supplied with raw material in boxcars, as well as tank cars...glycol in, methanol out.
from Historical Glimpses of Lennox & Addington, 1964.

Fellow railfan and drone pilot captured these two awesome views of the area in April, 2024: 
Looking southwest towards Alstom/Bombardier with the Millhaven Spur in foreground (above) south along the spur (below):
Running extra...

While checking my e-mail at Starbucks, VIA sent me an email about their latest 50% seat sale.  I looked up to see a display of VIA coffee products - the name of Starbucks' new ready-brew, including one flavour named Veranda Blend. Starbucks must be using 'VIA' for the same reasons CN adopted the three-letter brand in 1976: it's multilingual, mysterious and slightly pretentious.  Wonder if Starbucks is working on a VIA Vestibule Blend, or perhaps VIA Dutch-Door Donut Delight?

While travelling through VA and NC, I noted road signs for Halifax, Rockingham and Bridgewater.  I thought I was in NS! Tantalizing view from the Selma, NC I-95 overpass of a multi-unit NS military extra. (Hope all y'all are enjoyin' my blogging from the South).

Speaking of unique dialects, Anglo-Texan Hollie Cavanagh checked out of the American Idol mansion this week.  Hollie was outvoted, robbed by souled-out Joshua Ledet, Phillip Phillips (Idol's Sirhan Sirhan?) and in-it-to-win-it sinewy songstress Jessica 'BB Chez' Sanchez.  Dawg, am I channelling Randy Jackson or what?  That's what I'm talking about!!