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CP GP38-2 3105 has just departed Winnipeg Yard and crossed McPhillips Street crossing, heading up CP's Winnipeg Beach Sub for the trip east out of town for Selkirk, Manitoba. In tow is a single 65' gondola followed by a long cut of CN "Buffalo Boxcars" interchanged to CP, all heading to their final fate at Mandak Metals to be cut up for scrap.  The old 40' boxcar was the standard for transporting grain in Canada for decades until the introduction of covered hoppers, and the build-up of large fleets by CN, CP, and the provincial and federal governments in the 70's and 80's to modernize Canadian grain transportation. Unfortunately, not all branchlines were up to handling those new 100-ton cars, and the aging 40- and 50-ton 40' boxcars, shrinking in number, still soldiered on on many prairie branchlines whose light rail couldn't handle heavier cars. One line in particular that posed a problem was the CN's Hudsons Bay line north to the port of Churchill, Manitoba, that was restricted from using covered hoppers but home to an important government arctic seaport.  Often it was more cost-effective for railways to overhaul the aging boxcars rather than upgrading unprofitable grain-handling branchlines, and governments were willing to invest in new fleets and overhaul programs to help the railways move Canadian grain to market. In the mid-80's, CN undertook a rebuild program using provincial and federal government funds to overhaul a fleet of 40' boxcars for continued service transporting grain to the port in Churchill. Hundreds of these refurbished cars were repainted in a special livery with Canada and Manitoba government lettering (including Manitoba's provincial buffalo logo, hence the nickname). They were restricted from interchange service, and lettered "For Thunder Bay and Churchill grain service only": in the warmer months they shuttled grain from Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan up the Hudson Bay line to the port in Churchill, and in the colder months when that port was closed, they headed east to the lakehead elevators in Thunder Bay.  It's interesting to note they were all rebuilt with new 8' doors, but kept their old 6' door openings behind them (likely to accept standard grain doors that were sized to fit 6' doorways).  Dwindling fleets of 40' boxcars continued to haul grain for CN and CP into the 90's, but quickly shrinking in number due to age and as prairie branchlines were either upgraded or outright abandoned. Prior to the takeover by Omnitrax, CN lifted the ban on covered hoppers on the line to Churchill in late 1996, and that spelt the end of the Buffalo Boxcar fleet, and the final end to hauling grain in 40' boxcars in Canada. Many were rounded up and sent to Mandak Metals in Selkirk MB for scrapping, where the cut following CP 3105 will ultimately end up.  Bill Linley photo, Dan Dell'Unto collection slide.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Bill Linley photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. all rights reserved.



Caption: CP GP38-2 3105 has just departed Winnipeg Yard and crossed McPhillips Street crossing, heading up CP's Winnipeg Beach Sub for the trip east out of town for Selkirk, Manitoba. In tow is a single 65' gondola followed by a long cut of CN "Buffalo Boxcars" interchanged to CP, all heading to their final fate at Mandak Metals to be cut up for scrap.

The old 40' boxcar was the standard for transporting grain in Canada for decades until the introduction of covered hoppers, and the build-up of large fleets by CN, CP, and the provincial and federal governments in the 70's and 80's to modernize Canadian grain transportation. Unfortunately, not all branchlines were up to handling those new 100-ton cars, and the aging 40- and 50-ton 40' boxcars, shrinking in number, still soldiered on on many prairie branchlines whose light rail couldn't handle heavier cars. One line in particular that posed a problem was the CN's Hudsons Bay line north to the port of Churchill, Manitoba, that was restricted from using covered hoppers but home to an important government arctic seaport.

Often it was more cost-effective for railways to overhaul the aging boxcars rather than upgrading unprofitable grain-handling branchlines, and governments were willing to invest in new fleets and overhaul programs to help the railways move Canadian grain to market. In the mid-80's, CN undertook a rebuild program using provincial and federal government funds to overhaul a fleet of 40' boxcars for continued service transporting grain to the port in Churchill. Hundreds of these refurbished cars were repainted in a special livery with Canada and Manitoba government lettering (including Manitoba's provincial buffalo logo, hence the nickname). They were restricted from interchange service, and lettered "For Thunder Bay and Churchill grain service only": in the warmer months they shuttled grain from Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan up the Hudson Bay line to the port in Churchill, and in the colder months when that port was closed, they headed east to the lakehead elevators in Thunder Bay.

It's interesting to note they were all rebuilt with new 8' doors, but kept their old 6' door openings behind them (likely to accept standard grain doors that were sized to fit 6' doorways).

Dwindling fleets of 40' boxcars continued to haul grain for CN and CP into the 90's, but quickly shrinking in number due to age and as prairie branchlines were either upgraded or outright abandoned. Prior to the takeover by Omnitrax, CN lifted the ban on covered hoppers on the line to Churchill in late 1996, and that spelt the end of the Buffalo Boxcar fleet, and the final end to hauling grain in 40' boxcars in Canada. Many were rounded up and sent to Mandak Metals in Selkirk MB for scrapping, where the cut following CP 3105 will ultimately end up.

Bill Linley photo, Dan Dell'Unto collection slide.

Photographer:
Bill Linley photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. [772] (more) (contact)
Date: 01/27/1997 (search)
Railway: Canadian Pacific (search)
Reporting Marks: CP 3105 (search)
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: CP Winnipeg Beach Sub (search)
City/Town: Winnipeg (search)
Province: Manitoba (search)
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Photo ID: 46983

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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