Saturday, July 28, 2012

CN North America Paint Scheme

CN introduced its 'CN North America' paint scheme in mid-1992.  Intended to trumpet CN's continental reach, by way of its Alaska-Prince Rupert barge and BN-FNM partnership into Mexico, the signature element of the scheme was CN's wet-noodle logo superimposed on a stylized map of North America.  CP also designed an ill-fated logo of its own in 1993, the CP Rail System 'dual flags' scheme.  The CNNA scheme lasted longer on locomotives, with SD40u 6000 being the first to receive it.  One visual distraction of the scheme was the appearance of the map as a large patch of peeling paint.  In November-December 1992, 25 new Dash 8-40CM 2400's were delivered in the CNNA scheme.  Many SD40-2W's received the scheme:
CN 557115 is one of CN's combination-door boxcars, built by National Steel Car (NSC) in 1973.  Originally painted in an overall brown scheme, the plug door was brown and the sliding door was green.  A very attractive scheme, these cars carried lumber for years. With the CNNA scheme, CN made its cars the wallflowers of the freight yard, using drab, grey tones to make the cars seemingly disappear into the mists.  The reporting marks and dimensional data would disappear under the plug door if it was open, but the map (not the CN) would remain visible.  CN 557115 is eastbound, passing through Queens in September, 2002:
CNIS 413028, an International Service newsprint car with 10-foot plug doors, was the only other boxcar to receive the CNNA scheme.  Built by NSC in 1980, it's eastbound on CN train No 310 at 1955 on March 7, 2000 with its brown brethren.  Like CN 557115, graffiti has been covered by repainting the lower part of the carbody grey:
Trying to photograph CN's other CNNA scheme cars, covered hoppers, proved to be an elusive quarry for years.  In March, 2004 our upstairs window and binoculars provided a fine view of CN train No 321.  I blinked twice when a CNNA-painted covered hopper slid across my view.  We were heading to Napanee for a shopping trip anyway, so I was soon driving west, camera in hand.  Likely unable to beat the train, 321 slowed for a signal at Bath, allowing us to stop at the Napanee River bridge.  NSC-built in 1974, CN 371897 graffiti'd but not repainted, appeared in its overall light grey, with dark grey map and black CN logo and lettering, also without a numbering block around the reporting marks:
CN 371897 is still wearing the CN North America scheme, recently observed near Biggar, Saskatchewan. 
Jul 2016 UPDATE: CN 371897 at Edmonton
Nov 2016 UPDATE: CN 371897 in phosphate rock service between Agrium Redwater, AB and Neptune Terminals, BC. 
Jul 2017 UPDATE: Spotted again by AJ. Thanks Ben and AJ!
A slightly different scheme appeared on a fourth car, 1979 NSC-built CN 383381, which came to CN from shortline service in the US in 1986.  An unusual 4650-cubic foot notched-end design with trough hatches, this car received overall light grey, dark grey map and white CN logo and lettering.  
OCTOBER 2020 UPDATE: Barry Silverthorn photographed CN 383381 in Belleville, ON.
NOVEMBER 2020 UPDATE: Henry Nye photographed CN 383381 in Neenah, WI:
and Henry's closeup shot of the logo:
CNLX 9405 received a similar scheme, and until unearthed recently, was like the little-known 'fifth Beatle'.  These two cars have eluded me.
The map logo was applied selectively to maintenance-of-way equipment not as widely travelled, including a CN caboose.   CN transfer van 76673, one of the last two of 210 such vans built received a repainted red side with TEST - ATCS/SAMT lettering, a light grey map and white CN as shown in this Peter Mumby photo (above).  Used for Advanced Train Control test trains in Southwestern Ontario in 1993 and equipped with a variety of test equipment, 76673 was normally 'wired' to CN 9565 or 9566.  The map logo was also applied to CNRU containers, and small logos were still visible in 1998 on CN 59345, Montreal auxiliary sleeper.  It would be interesting to know if  any of these cars still make their way around CN's system.

Running extra...

David Letterman celebrated his 30th anniversary on the air earlier this year, but I just saw the rerun last night.  Longtime staff members Barbara Gaines and Biff Henderson (whose Top 10 Thing I'd Like to say to Dave on his 30th Anniversary was "Finding a way to kill you [Dave] and make it look like an accident."  Strong irony has always been Dave's comedic style. Remember Dave's morning show on NBC from 1980?  Dave's bandleader at the time was Frank Owens, replaced on Dave's nighttime show in 1982 by Thunder Bay native Paul Shaffer. (Bermuda!)

Blogging away here on Saturday morning, I'm enjoying a cup of coffee in my midnight blue Late Show with David Letterman china mug, a souvenir of a visit to the Big Apple by my son.  That reminds me of a joke...Q:  What did the mother buffalo say to her child when he left home?  A: "Bye, son."

I walked on Paul Shaffer's 2006 Canada Walk of Fame star while in Toronto this week.  Paul was inducted alongside cool Canadians Alex Trebek (sharp as a tack) and Pamela Anderson (both of her).  GO Transit whisked us to-and-from Union Station.  The GO Don layover (formerly CN) yard was full of GO trainsets when we arrived, and I caught a nap on the 00:13 departure east, after thousands of Jays (lost to the A's 7-2) and Coldplay fans had funnelled out.  


BArailsystem said...

I caught CN 371897 on a siding close to Biggar, SK a couple weeks ago! I think Wil is going to put it in CRO next month. Really enjoyed this read!

Eric said...

Thanks, BA, good eye on that covered hopper in Biggar. Is CN 371897 that car is as graffiti-covered as when I saw it? Or maybe moreso. Glad to know at least one is still in service. I wonder if we'll notice these unique CNNA cars if/when they ever received a CN brown dip paint scheme?

Thanks for your kind comments,

BArailsystem said...

Oddly enough the side I saw had no graffiti. I couldn't get close enough to inspect the other side though, there was a half mile of summer fallow between me and the siding.

Eric said...

Thanks, I've added your observation to the post, and good to know it's visible without the usual covering of graffiti so often seen these days!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Great article as usual, Eric. I thought of you when I was reviewing my shot of CN 2438 with the CNNA scheme, taken a week ago.

Eric said...

Hi Steve,
Thanks for your comments about the CNNA post. Nice to see those GE units still out earning their keep, peeling paint, er, map logo included. Any sightings of any of the cars recently?

Saintjohnrailfan said...

Excellent write up. Personally, I'd love to see those early "Dash-9's" with the 4-window cab (2500-2522) get a fresh coat of paint, including the North America Scheme.

Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Matt.

I didn't delve too far into the CN North America motive power (as you know, I'm more of a freight car guy) but around here, CN units generally look pretty grubby, so a new coat of paint would help.

I suppose the is easier and cheaper to apply nowadays. All we need now is some CN heritage units a la NS!


Unknown said...

some of the CP engines looking pretty grubby as well