Thursday, August 5, 2021

CP 40-foot Appliance Boxcars

CP 41000-41029 comprised a series of thirty rebuilt excess-height, double-door 40-foot boxcars. With an internal height of 13'4", these excess-height cars were distinctive, exceeding Plate F. Built in 1952 by Canadian Car & Foundry in the 299600-299799 series, their second service life extended from about 1980 to 1990, after rebuilding for appliance service. Usually loaded at the Camco West appliance plant in Hamilton, ON. Double doors were six- and eight-foot, for a total opening of 14 feet. Sheet steel was added to achieve extra height on the ends. The sides were cut and spliced with welded steel sheet, and doors were also welded together to gain the required height. These cars operated in CP Rail action red paint, and are one of the few examples of a re-proportioned, non-uniform multimark, scaled vertically to reach the car's excess height. CP 41010 was alone on the Queens CN-CP interchange in 1982 (top photo).

Camco (Canadian Appliance Manufacturing Company) was incorporated in 1977, and became the largest Canadian manufacturer, marketer, exporter, and service provider of home appliances. The company's brands included GE, Hotpoint, Moffat and McClary. Camco also produced and serviced private brands for major Canadian department stores. The Camco West plant, built in 1913, was formerly owned and operated by Westinghouse, and was served by CP Rail. 

During a 1981 visit to Bayview Junction, this Hamilton-bound CP run-through train behind CP 5909-5908 at dusk (around 2000 hours on an overcast June 22) had CP 41021 in the consist, sandwiched between script covered gondola and covered hopper:

These cars were a response to the cube out vs. tare out business model. If a lightweight product is being shipped, a lot of  air is taking up space in the car. Think of woodchips - a big enough car could never be designed to haul the maximum capacity of woodchips due to their light weight. What's inside a clothes dryer or washing machine? Air! Same with a refrigerator, once the compressor, motor, wiring et al is taken into account. So, if we cannot make a heavier cargo, let's build a bigger box to put it in! CP 41012-41011 at Bayview Junction in 1987 (online auction site photo). Note "No Running Board/Excess Height Car" lettering in white-painted patch at end of car:

CP 41013 at Hamilton in 1984 (Peter Macdonald photo via Liz Reid, Trackside Treasure collection):

CP 41020 open door (above) and CP 41009 (below) both taken in Winnipeg in 1980 kindly shared by Jim Parker.

These CP cars must be scratchbuilt by modellers. Tangent Scale Models makes nice appliance boxcars, dedicated prototypes with single doors built years earlier in the Sixties. I have Burlington and BN versions by Athearn that appear at MacCosham Van Lines on my HO scale Hanley Spur layout.

Lots o' links:
Running extra...

Speaking of oddball freight cars, a recent online survey yielded the following results. Respondents have the following oddball cars on their layouts. Not asked - do you have two of the CN billboard rainbow  covered hoppers? (Only one on the prototype!)

- track-cleaning car: 81
- CN billboard rainbow cylindrical covered hopper: 52
- Sclair covered hopper: 22
- missile car/searchlight car: 7
Thanks to all those who have ordered my just-released book, Stories on the Waterfront: A Curated Collection of Memories and Photos of Kingston Harbour. One customer even drove all the way from North Carolina for a copy. During a pandemic! Let's hope the only thing infectious was my enthusiasm! Other copies have zinged out to Manitoba, Toronto, Ottawa Delaware and of course the Kingston area.

Part Two of my Rails & Lakes series on railways on South Frontenac County is now in the August edition of Our Lakes e-magazine. This month's topic (starts on page 32) is the 'other' railway north of Kingston, Canadian Northern then CN, though the more familiar one is the Kingston & Pembroke - the Kick & Push.


Brian said...

Those are some tall boxcars, Eric. Was the idea that they could be loaded with refrigerators stacked two high, or other appliances stacked three high?

Eric said...

Great question, Brian. I guess it would all be based on the height of the crate with appliance inside. I did not dive that deep into their cube-shaped cargoes! I have seen photos of water heaters double-stacked, though.

Regardless, I think your suggested loading sounds doable! I don't think any of the cars included damage-free interior devices, so probably the tighter they could be packed in, the less shifting and potential damage en route.

Thanks for your comment,

Michael said...

Those are odd looking cars for sure. I saw quite a few of the high cube cars in auto parts service in Sarnia in the 1980s and 1990s, but nothing like these. I would be interested to know the rationale behind the excess height for this type of service. Was it simply to stack things higher, as Brian suggested. Hmm....

Eric said...

Hi Michael,

It's the same principle as trucking. It's preferable to weigh out a trailer (or boxcar) before it cubes out. If not, you're hauling air around when you could be loading more cargo to meet your weight limits. So, if we can't load more into a box, we make a bigger box! Same rationale as auto parts boxcars, intermodal containers, wood chip trailers etc.

The US road appliance cars had zippy paint schemes like the auto parts 86-footers. SP!

Thanks for your comment,