Friday, June 3, 2016

CN Woodchip Car Project Needs Men Like You!

On many occasion, I posted about my endeavour to make a credible model of a prototypical Canadian National woodchip gondola. Particularly the most iconic of them - the CN 1982 Transcona-built gondola... Yep, the CN RAIL one (series 878XXX).

A Mari Usque Ad Mare

This model is one of those the most iconic modern canadian freight car ever built (this list include the celebrated cylindrical grain hopper indeed). For nearly 40 decades, it has run on canadian rails from East to West. This car is at home in the Rockies, in Central Canada, along the St. Lawrence River and in the Atlantic area.

A typical CN Transcona woodchip gondola (credit:

Not only it is iconic, but it is a car that plays a central role in the paper industry, one of the largest rail customers not so long ago.

Take a look at any sizeable canadian layout out there and chances you run into a paper mill are high... very high! I can't count how many times modellers told me about these CN Rail cars and how it's a shame no decent woodchip cars are available.

Over the last months, it became clear to me the demand for such a car was far bigger than I thought. Since a few years, we have been lucky by seeing RTR prototypically correct newsprint boxcars, now it's time to move forward by taking the next step...

We Need You!

Unfortunately, there's a limit to what a single man can achieve... Yes, I did my homework and made quite accurate drawings and 3D models of the car using official data from CN Freight Equipment Catalogue and pictures.

So far, the substructure is done at 90% and only need some minor refiment. However, I have absolutely no data about the underframe and other hidden details.

My 3D printed prototype. Note the incorrect decals.

The catch is that we need that data to make sure the car is good enough to see the light. Whatever knowledge you have about these cars, let me know. Every bit of information can help make it better.

Also, CN also had another set of woodchip cars built by NSC in 1975 (series 879XXX). They are very similar to the Transcona ones. If you have data about these ones as well, I'll gladly take the challenge and make a decent 3D model.

A typical NSC woodchip gondola (credit:

No, we won't build the Intercolonial Railway again or the Canadian Pacific main line in the Rockies, but don't forget trains are getting trendy again. So it's a golden opportunity for you to help us to bridge a gap in Canadian railway modelling once for all!

You can contact me on the blog or at


  1. A few poor photos sent via email :) Good luck in your endeavour!

  2. Thanks Steve. Poor? Not at all. For once, I have a picture showing the coupler and lower body in broad daylight.