Thursday, May 9, 2024

CN Aircraft Parts cars

CN's original aircraft parts flat cars were manufactured by National Steel Car as series CN 667925­-667949 in 1975. The cars were 62"6" in length, cushioned under frame topped by removable steel lids. My brother kindly shared the top photo showing what is likely CN 667945 taken at Jasper, AB on August 12, 1990. The car appears to be on the head-end of what was a westbound CN freight switching at the west end of Jasper yard. Photos showing the CN aircraft parts flat reveal that the 'CN 9xx' stencilled at both ends of the side of the car lids matched the last three digits of the car number, i.e. CN 945 on lid = CN 667945 on the flat car.

The flat cars were designed to move aircraft components and used in various assigned service. This series of CN cars moved DC­-9 components and DC­-10 wings built in the Douglas plant at Pearson Airport to the Douglas facility in Long Beach, CA beginning around 1970. Later, Bombardier parts were moved from their plant in Dorval to a new business jet assembly plant in Downsview.

Freight car enthusiast Doug Stark noted that the car's loads were varying Boeing subassemblies originating at Canadair, later Bombardier, production facility at Mirabel outside Montreal. Since at least the 1960s Boeing and previously others subcontracted some of wings, forward/mid/aft fuselage sections, tails, stabilators etc. to other firms and they were transported to the home plant for assembly.

Unfortunately, with the few observations and no photos I have of these cars, the photo that got me looking up my notes for these cars was published in the Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders' October 2023 Interchange newsletter, as modelled by Bernie Goodman. Bernie photographed CN 667928 at CN's Belleville yard on August 11, 1198 and added that the aircraft plant in Malton was owned by McDonnell Douglas, before being purchased by Boeing in 1997. The Malton plant was making wings for McDonnell Douglas in 1998. At the time, fifty sets of wings were to be made in Canada before production shifted to Korea.

Marc Simpson kindly shared his photo of an CN aircraft parts flat car on a BNSF train at Mud Bay near White Rock, BC in September, 2001. It's likely coming from Boeing in Everett, WA.
My observations of CN and BN aircraft parts cars including date, car and CN train on, with any remarks:
Sep 14/96 BN 614243 on TE of WB
Jan 31/97 CN667927
Jun 7/97 CN 667940 on HE of EB
Jul 24/98 BN 614293? on CN No 367
Jul 3/00 CN 667929, BN 614218 on CN No 204 

The handling of these cars on (at the time) CN express freight Nos 204/205 indicated their priority. Otherwise they were handled on regular CN freights heading just north of Montreal such as No 366/367. Routing for these from Mirabel (Montreal), QC to Boeing in Renton or Everett, WA was CN/GTW thence BN. CN and BN cars were billed to St Laurent, QC for loading. BN had various classes of aircraft parts flats in various series: 610xxx, 614xxx, 630xxx and 635xxx. The 614-series were ex-GN 61'6" cars (later renumbered BN 614200-614299).

I have two of the LBF aircrafts parts HO models, both GN. One has a boxcar red cover, the other is in the bright yellow Boeing scheme.

Lots o' links:
Running extra...

Things on wheels! Nik Delja kindly sent this photo of Bytown Railway Society's hi-rail Pontiac CN 10, basking in the sun outside the Canadian Science and Technology Museum large item display space. New tires and all!
Things on wings! Making its nearly annual appearance in Kingston's aerial airspace recently. Tiger Moth C-FDGC "4830", owned by the Williams family since 1969, based in Dunnville, ON did several circuits today. As hoped, landing final Runway Two-Five at Kingston airport during our visit to the park.
Things wish wraps! Kingston Transit 1901's ad wrap hopes to sell the houses it drives by. Read carefully. It does not say Your Home iS Old!


Marc Simpson said...

I shot one of these cars heading north on BNSF at Mud Bay near White Rock BC in September 2001. I can't get a car number but it is a CN flatcar under the cover. Probably coming from Boeing in Everett. It's the only one I photographed but you do see them occasionally here on the west coast.


Eric said...

Thanks very much for sending that photo along, Marc. Perhaps I thought the aircraft parts cars were a series 'that would always be around here'. My very few observations and zero photos show that wasn't true, so I appreciate your kind addition to this post.