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ZM-19 Steam Era Paint Schemes For CNR 8-Hatch Reefers

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:51 pm    Post subject: ZM-19 Steam Era Paint Schemes For CNR 8-Hatch Reefers Reply with quote

Steam era paint schemes for CNR 8-hatch reefers
by Michael Livingston

As we saw in the previous article, constant service and the salty brine mixture were very unkind to paint and steel, meaning that these cars ended up being repainted every 2-5 years into the then current paint scheme. This car is a great example of how much the gray darkened in service. The sill has been repainted as a repair. Notice the reinforcing plates above the door and the painted liquidometer. The paint job on CNR 209712 in paint scheme C is about three years old, and it has been through the ringer! Faded green leaf, patch paint along the sill, and it still...

...doesn’t look as bad as the prototype car seen in Toronto, ON in 1958. My model definitely needs more weathering!

Fading became such a problem with the original mineral red that by 1943 two CNR officials developed a new gray paint that was reported to be “brine-resistant, heat-repellent, prevent corrosion, and add to the life of the car”. While actually not much better than the original mineral brown, the gray cars did seem to go longer between repaints. And as paint schemes changed over time, it was sometimes possible to see two or three different freight paint schemes in greatly varying condition on cars within the same series.

Note: I’ll cover the passenger paint schemes in more detail when new decals are developed.

This table expands on previous passenger and freight paint scheme data from 1939 through the end of service in the late 1980s, showing the dates when a scheme was painted and how late it may have been seen in service (providing the “approximate time periods” in the previous article).

When delivered, the cars were painted in scheme A; “mineral brown in oil” (oxide red sometimes referred to as Red #11, but darker in my opinion) all over with white lettering and no logo.

By the end of World War II, more than the original 500 cars had been built, and a new “red diagonal” maple leaf scheme B (as of August 1943) began the transformation of the fleet into a light gray color that would continue well into the 1960s. Red #11 was now an official CNR color and was used for everything that was under the sill.

Note that the liquidometer was painted black, white, or the same color as the rest if the car.

In November 1946, the maple leaf was changed from all red to green (scheme C) with red lettering and diagonal herald.

While scheme C was seen into the 1960s, variations began to be seen in July of 1954, first by making the herald horizontal for a brief time, then enlarging the maple leaf logo (scheme D) and changing it from a decal to a stencil.

About two and half years later, the lines above and below the reporting marks were removed (scheme E).

In early 1962, the new CNR noodle logo was adopted and for the first time in almost 20 years a new color (aluminum) was used instead of gray for the car body. All lettering and noodle logo were changed to black (scheme F). With slight variations and the doors occasionally being painted (red or blue) to indicate special service, this scheme lasted into retirement in the 1980s.

Some of the cars also began conversion to mechanical refrigeration. With the advent of economical mechanical refrigeration in the 1960s, many of the freight service reefers were converted either to insulated heater cars or to mechanical refrigeration with under frame and door-mounted components. Renumbering occurred several times during the 1960s as these cars became specialized to certain types of service.

Even so, these unique cars were still active (in some form) in revenue service and then later in company service (being renumbered into the 46000-series) until almost 1990, fifty years after the first car was delivered.

So which scheme should I use to paint my reefers?

Overlapping paint schemes can make it difficult to determine how to decorate these reefers in an accurate manner for a particular steam era year. This chart is a fair approximation of paint schemes and general paint condition based on repaint schedules, car availability, seasonal demand fluctuations, pre/post-war economics, and when a new paint scheme came into use.

Look at the chart to see just how complicated following these paint schemes could be for the first 4 builder series (CNR 209500-209999) of the reefer fleet between the years 1939 and 1952. By the end of 1952, almost all CNR reefers were painted in scheme C, that is until scheme D came along in 1954!

Note: This table does not account for any cars being removed from service.

So if we look at the table and use the example of 1948, one of the years I am modeling, three paint schemes are represented, although for scheme A only 40 of the 209600-699 cars would likely be seen and they would be very faded. On the other hand, scheme B was a more robust paint job and was just starting to fade (so to speak) because some cars had been freshly repainted less than year earlier. New orders allowed the last of the scheme A cars to be serviced and repainted by the 1949. Another factor in looking at when paint schemes were used was that all of these cars were probably repainted when they were rebuilt (Series 1 by 1946, series 2 and 3 by 1949 and series 4 by 1952) to correct corrosion issues.

Passenger paint schemes

For passenger paint schemes, only one car is an exact match for this model, although 179 similar cars were built for express service; some as late as 1957. CN 10499 was originally CN 209599, the last car of the series 1 built in 1940. In 1945, this car was refitted with express commonwealth trucks, steam lines, and painted in a paint scheme unique for express cars of the period. Most head end equipment was painted CNR green with black ends and roof, but 10499 was painted all green (scheme P1). Also strange is that it repainted this way at least once.

CNR 10499 after repainting for express refrigerator service in July of 1945 (Scheme P1)

In 1955, the CNR began painting express passenger reefers in green, black, and imitation gold (scheme P2) that matched the new paint on the recently delivered Super Continental passenger equipment. This scheme would begin to be replaced in late 1961 with the CN noodle logo (scheme P2), however many reefers continued in the steam era scheme through the end of passenger express reefer service. This date appears to coincide with the last use of mail cars in Canada (around 1973). However, these cars were still seen in yards well into the VIA Rail era.

Recent updates and more sighting details

Some people have asked for more information about the railroads and trains that had Canadian 8-hatch reefers in their freight consists. Here are a few of examples:
- May 1944: CNR 209636 on a westbound Southern Pacific train between Sparks and Imlay NV, headed to San Francisco (loaded with fish of all things!)
- Apr 1949: At Pittsfield NH on the Suncook Valley Railroad!
- Aug 1949: Near the ferry docks and terminal at Weehawken NJ
- Oct 1949: In a reefer yard near the viaduct construction in Minneapolis, MN (see photo). Though too distant for details, this close up of a photo found on the Steam Era Freight cars Web site clearly shows the Canadian reefer 8-hatch roof and maple leaf logo.

Minneapolis, MN October 4, 1949. The entire picture can be seen here:

- Early 1950s: CNR reefer on a westbound New York Central train near Garrison, NY
- Early 1950s: CNR reefer on an Northern Pacific train in Iron River, WI
- 1955: CNR reefer at Black Rock, NY on a CNR transfer
- 1956: GTW reefer on the Sacramento Northern in Oakland, CA
- Dec 1962: CNR 210263 at a siding in Fort Worth, TX

We want to hear from you! If you have seen a photo of a Canadian 8-hatch reefer in your collection, in a book, or on-line, send us the information. We are also looking for more details about passenger express reefer sightings and the Erie and NYC reefer transfers to NY and NJ.

And more to come. . .

In the next part of this series we’ll cover how to create a Canadian Pacific 8-hatch reefer car design using the CNR model as a starting point.
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