National Steel Car built 105 61'6" IL woodchip cars in Hamilton ON in September-November 1987. The cars were 163 gross tons, with a 6,600 cubic foot-capacity, painted light green and numbered QOPX 100-204, with the reporting marks signifiying the Quebec & Ontario Paper Co. The cars were Leased from General Electric (GERSCO) by the Donohue Paper Company. Known for producing newsprint for major U.S. newspapers like the Chicago Tribune, Donohue's newsprint mill
in Thorold, ON
received woodchips from Northern Quebec and Ontario. The mill's location was on CN's Thorold Sub, at Mi 3.65 of the Coniagas Spur. Interestingly, in 1987 Donohue was acquired by Quebecor, and in 2000 by forestry giant Abitibi-Consolidated. The mill now uses recycled newsprint as a feedstock. Chris Wright remembers CN, CV and DWC paper boxcars, and kindly shared his photo of Abitibi (ex-CN) switcher 1324 handling tarped QOPX cars in the early 2000's:
Scott Mathieson contributed the following fascinating comment:
I was the Woodlands Superintendent for Ontario Paper Company (AKA Quebec&Ontario Paper) in Hornepayne Ontario through the 1980's. I was involved with the leasing of that fleet from GE Capital. I was present for the "first load" at Levesque Lumber in Hearst Ontario in '87. We loaded in Hearst, Hornepayne, Ostrom and Cochrane, in Ontario. Senneterre Quebec later (Donohue). In the '90's and later, I was at the Thorold mill looking after the receiving of all raw materials. We could dump and process one car per 40 minutes. (37-38 ODT). Have seen the odd one later in my travels. We returned the fleet to GE in the early 2000's when the mill went 100% recycled.
Jeremy Plant kindly shared this photo taken by his brother Jeffrey. It shows Algoma Central Geeps with a QOPX car in the consist at Jogues on the ACR, just south of Hearst in 1990:
In late 1999, the cars were being loaded at Donohue's mill in Senneterre QC, on CN's track AT46, routed to Thorold via Garneau-Montreal-Toronto, thence Thorold by trains 365-449 over CN, returning on CN Nos 338-366. Some cars were also loaded at Ostrom, ON at Mile 69 of CN's Ruel Sub, and routed Ostrom-Capreol-Toronto-Thorold via trains 336-450, returning on 451-337. The Ostrom mill was owned by Gogama Forest Products and had a contract to supply spruce chips to Thorold. The mill was later owned by EACOM.
While riding ONR's Northlander in March 1994
, we met CN No 450 which included some QOPX cars. Some cars were also interchanged to Ontario Northland at North Bay, destined Cochrane, ON. Mike Lockwood kindly shared photos of QOPX cars on No 336 at Brechin East behind 9455-9421 (above) and another 336 at Udney behind 9416-4731 (below):
The thing about wood chips is that they 'cube out' before they 'tare out'. In other words, woodchip cars are built big because they can be overdfilled withoug reaching their rated capacity in thousands of pounds. In BC and the US, nets are used, placed on the loaded cars to facilitate such over-loading. Mike's pictures show the cars with blue tarps. Randy O'Brien of Niagara Falls sent three photos of the cars passing through there:
This photo that 'LJ' posted to Facebook shows an eastbound Niagara-bound freight entering St Catharines yard with two SD701's and a DW&P SD in the spring of 1998. Six QOPX cars are on the head-end:
Gary Kostiuk shared this series of three photos on Facebook, showing QOPX 179 being dumped at the plant, awash in chips, with others in the background:
When the cars operated over the Kingston Sub, untarped, it was common to walk the Kingston station platform and find many fragrant, stray woodchips every few feet! Like I said, over-loaded! At least once, we collected a paper Tim Horton's donut bag full of the piney pieces. The cars ran in groups of two to eight, likely based on the car capacity of the loadout track and the frequency with which CN switched the mill.
Here are some QOPX woodchip gondola observations at Kingston - cars shown in my photos are empties. Date, CN train on, remarks:
July/99 No 366 5+4 cars
Aug/99 No 366 148, 136, 154
Aug/99 No 365 199, 130, 192, 111
Aug/99 No 366 128, 168, 136, 142
Aug/99 No 366 105 (top photo), 156, 100
Sep/99 No 367 136
Nov/99 No 365 178, 107, 116
Nov/99 No 365 115
Dec/99 No 366 199, 132, 171, 125, 111, 118 123
Jan/00 No 366 147 (above), 192, 161, 141, 200 +3 cars
Jan/00 No 366 104, 112, 165, 122, 172
Jan 16/00 No 365 121, 117, 180, 100 with blowing wood chips!
Jan 20/00 No 365 200, 146 on tailend
Jun 30/00 No 365 123, 129, 134, 183
Aug/00 No 366 137, 135, 171, 183, 103, 130, 129
Aug/00 No 366 139, 182, 133, 124
Aug/00 No 366 (below) 154, 195, 123, 106, 112
Aug 24/00 No 365 192, 138, 188, 134, 201
Mar/01 No 366 103, 113, 147, 137, 156
Aug/01 Tarped QOPX cars with CN and CV paper boxcars south of Thorold, ON Abitibi-Consolidated paper mill.
Earlier, aboard VIA Rail, I had observed QOPX 168 at CN's Turcot yard in Montreal's west end on August 22, 1996.
These cars have been renumbered into Steelwheels LLC STWX 100-204 series in 2005
, then 88 cars went the AEX 9703-9790 series, in service with The Andersons. In 2010, 15 more cars went to the Andersons as AEX 17665-17679. On June 6/09, I observed AEX 9770 and 12 other former QOPX gons at Kingston. Other than that, they seem to be operating elsewhere, mainly in the US Midwest and West
, most often tarped when loaded. A 2004 STB recordation
lists 88 cars. STWX reporting marks cars in Minnesota in 2010
. Imagine my surprise when, doing a drive-by of the Norfolk Southern yard in Selma, NC in May 2013, one of these cars was in the yard, bearing reporting marks AEX 9708. That's a long way from Northern Canada to North Carolina!
Leaving no stone unturned....start at 1:18 mark
...SEE the Herzog PLUS train
dropping ballast...TASTE the ballast dust...HEAR the stream of rock stop just before a level crossing!
No more free Chill magazine! Previously available for free at The Beer Store, it's now available either by The Subscription or The Online Edition
. I will miss the use of the the words "Chillosopher" and "Guy'd" in article titles like The Chill Guy'd to Grilling.
Chill was a good read - free magazines are getting as rare as free beer!
Why are brewers and marketers messing with beer? Now there's maple beer, cranberry beer, strawberry lager, apricot ale, raspberry ale, and even Bumble Berry Honey Blueberry Ale
. I can't grin and beer it! I'm at lagerheads with the industry! Let beer be beer. Ich bin ein bier!