I have been thainking that I need a side project while completing the heavy shop. Most nights, I’m not able to make progress on the woodworking as it’s too late to run the table saw. Casting about for a little diversion, I thought about making some flat cars.
The first step is to get the information organized, and so I pulled some old pages over to my Canada Atlantic Railway site, and started to look through resources that might help. Most of the data comes from the Official Railway Equipment Register, which I photocopied at Stanford University Library almost twenty years ago. As I recall, I showed up at the library with something like a dollar in change to drive the photocopier; I had to be selective with my choices! Even so, a little bit of analysis tells a brief and not altogether uninteresting story – well not uninteresting to me and the other student of the Canada Atlantic.
First off, we can see that by Pembroke’s 1905 era, 1/3 of the flat cars were 20-year old cars from the 333 series. This is good, because we happen to have a photo of one! These were followed by the 855 series and the 600 series, which made up 1/5 and 1/6th of the fleet, respectively.
A surprising note is that, even in 1905, half of the CA flat cars were 33 feet long. The other half were evenly split between 34 footers and 40-foot mammoths. Those 40-footers were the first to get pulled into the Grand Trunk when they assumed operations at the end of 1905.
Speaking of the GTR, they also had a weakness for cars with higher capacity. They immediately snapped up those that the CA had upgraded to carry 40 tons, leaving the older lighter cars for lumber service on the what had been the Canada Atlantic. Note the line downgraded the capacity of some older cars to 15 tons as they neared the end of their lives.
Photo credit: Bytown Museum.