Author Topic: ONR Polar Bear Express (was just the canoe car - now the whole train)  (Read 4144 times)

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craigolio1

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There is a train in Northern Ontario called the Polar Bear Express. It’s a fascinating mixed train which is a real motley crew combination of power and consist. Power is usually a pair of GP38-2 followed by a consist made up of various box cars, flat cars for carrying personal vehicles, ex-CN/VIA passenger cars, ex-GO commuter cars, some classic stainless passenger cars acquired from the BC Rail dinner train (including a Pullman super dome) and finally, a canoe car. Yes that right, a canoe car. How stereotypically Canadian right?

I have plans to model the whole train and have acquired a few Rapido ONR passenger cars, N Scale Kits 89ft flat cars, and Atlas box cars. I also have already modelled their BC Rail dinner train and so I can use the two cars from that train in this consist. The most difficult parts of this train will be the ex-GO transit commuter cars and the canoe car.

This thread was previously dedicated to the building of the canoe car, how ever I’ve decided to put all of the train in now.

I’ve edited the thread here to add an introduction to the prototype with pics.

Power:

Power on the modern consist is usually a pair of GP38-2 but GP40-2 are found from time to time as well. If I want to I can even use an FP9(?).

GP38-2: Atlas offered these factory painted.



GP40-2: Atlas also offered these.


FP?: Intermountain did these but they are REALLY hard to find. Microscale makes decals.



Box cars:

This car is a always in the consist. It’s a 40ft car with a door only on one side, as the platforms they unload to are all on the same side of the track. This car is a bit of a mystery to me. The ends aren’t available on any car I know if and I’ll need to source the taller door. This car will be a challenge.





These 50ft box cars are available from Atlas and there is always at least two of them in the train.



I haven't acquired them yet but these will serve as stand ins for now.




A close approximation of this car is offered by Fox Valley.





Flat cars:

There are a variety of flat cars in the train.

This car is offered in resin kit from Briggs models but as I only planned to do one, I used a couple of Concor flat cars and kitbashed it following and article written by @BCR 570 in a now defunct PGE/BCR quarterly called “The Cariboo”.





These 89ft cars are offered by N scale kits.





Vehicles are available from many manufacturers. One thing is for sure. I need more pickup trucks.



Passenger cars:

The consist is made up of a very eclectic mix of passenger cars. For the most part they are Ex CN/VIA cars and Ex GO Transit single level commuter cars. Rapido Trains offered the Daynighter cars factory painted. As of the time that I write this the exGO cars are available in Shapeways or as laser cut styrene sides from Union Station Products.





I'll need a baggage car as well.  Rapido produced the striped version but there's is more of a hybrid of the two.  The Rapido car is painted with the stripes but is numbered for the white car.  The white car has 4 wheel trucks and end doors, while the striped car has three axle trucks and solid ends. I'll find a suitable car for one or the other and paint it my self.





In 2003 ONR acquired BC Rail’s Pacific Starlight Dinner Train consist. Almost immediately the Pullman super dome was painted in ONR colours, renamed Otter Rapids and pressed into service. Intermountain offered this car.





Two other cars, the Pullman dome Twilight and the observation car Indigo, were left in the BCR paint scheme but used in the train as well. I have already modelled the Pacific Starlight Dinner Train and so can she use these cars here as well. The dome car is a stock Kato model custom painted, and the observation car is a heavily modified Kato business car.











Finally ONR has been refurbishing some modern GO Transit bi-level Bombardier cars at their North Bay shops, so I have a reason to run these too.  Athearn offers these.



That does it for the introduction edit. The canoe car is already covered below so I won't address it again.

Onward with the modelling!


Canoe Car:


Here are some pics of the car that I found on the web.





The prototype is based on a 60ft pulpwood car with the decking and stake pockets removed. The deck is a smooth featureless surface and the side sills are festooned with the bolt holes left over from the removal of the pockets. Then of course there is the canoe racks.

From a modelling perspective this car is a major kitbash/scratch build. Until recently nothing really close to it was available. However that changed when Briggs Models released their 70ft bulkhead flat car. It has quite a few similarities to this car however would still require extensive modification. I emailed Jeff and discussed the modifications needed and he cane through in a major way! A few weeks later the canoe car arrived in the mail with all of the needed modifications performed with the magic of CAD. It included etchings from the 70ft bulkhead kit which I could easily modify to work for this car. All that would be left to me is the canoe racks.

Decals are available in the Highball Graphics ONR Pulpwood car set FN310, and paints are available from Rapido.

Here is the Briggs Models canoe car assembled. The bolt holes for the stake pockets were included as dimples on the model. I drilled them out with a number 80 bit.






Thanks to @CNR5529   I have enough 3D printed canoes to fill the car up.








And thanks to @philippe.whyte  I will soon have decals to match the canoes seen in the photo.



With these items tackled it was time to move onto the canoe racks. Using the model canoes and comparisons to photos I came up with measurements that closely matched the proportions seen in the photos, and began cutting many different pieces of styrene.  The main support columns are .060 H beam. The canoe supports are .020x.040 with a piece of T channel tapered and attached to the bottom.







The cross beams are .040 and the main I beam across the top is .045” brass. I assembled them in sub assemblies. Finally they were ready install on the car body.








I couldn’t resist a mock up with the canoe load.





That’s where I am as of now. Tonight I plan to add a lot of the small details like gussets and such.

Thanks for following.

Craig.









« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 09:55:47 AM by craigolio1 »

amato1969

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2020, 03:00:05 PM »
0
Very cool project!  Custom decals for N scale canoes, awesome!

  Frank

peteski

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2020, 05:27:16 PM »
0
That is cool Craig!  Nice to see something unique modeled in N scale.
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craigolio1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2020, 10:02:39 PM »
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Thanks guys. It’s almost like one of those cheezy Lionel cars from long ago. Like the aquarium car with a shark.

peteski

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2020, 10:28:44 PM »
0
Thanks guys. It’s almost like one of those cheezy Lionel cars from long ago. Like the aquarium car with a shark.

But this one is actually prototypical, and not cheesy. Ed's law applies. You have photographic proof.  :)
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Mark W

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2020, 10:48:56 PM »
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Wow, this is pure awesome!  Not just the result, but the journey! 

I can't wait to see more.
Contact me about custom model building.
Learn more about Free-moNebraska.
Learn more about HOn3-mo.

CNR5529

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2020, 10:58:31 PM »
+1
Its one of those things.... if you know of the ONR at all, you are likely familiar with this car already, and the fact that the railroad regularly hauls such things as canoes and moose carcasses, along with everyday supplies, cars, food and people, all on the same train. That said, a canoe car would probably sound a little odd to anyone who has never heard of the ONR.

For the sharp eyed observer, I was able to print 5 slightly different shaped canoes using 3 different base 3d models to add subtle variation to the car.

And as always, great execution Craig!
« Last Edit: May 04, 2020, 11:05:37 PM by CNR5529 »
Because why not...

craigolio1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2020, 11:05:51 PM »
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Its one of those things.... if you know of the ONR at all, you are likely familiar with this car already, and the fact that the railroad regularly hauls such things as canoes and moose carcasses, along with everyday supplies, cars, food and people, all on the same train. That said, a canoe car would probably sound a little odd to anyone who has never heard of the ONR.

For the sharp eyed observer, I was able to print 5 slightly different shaped canoes using 3 different base 3d models to add subtle variation to the car.

Indeed. They have a rule, your explosives must be stored in the baggage car during the journey.

craigolio1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2020, 09:39:45 PM »
+6
The last bit of detail to add was the sliding clamps/tie downs that hold the canoes in place. Each canoe was loaded into the spot where I plan to put it so that the clamp could be located in the appropriate position for that canoe.





Craig

cv_acr

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2020, 12:01:44 PM »
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FWIW (and the OP probably knows this, using "60' flat" to refer roughly to the approximate *total* length of the car) the inside length (typically the important measurement) of the prototype car is 51'6". (The "70' bulkhead flat" from Briggs also mentioned is actually 66'0" inside length between bulkheads.)

craigolio1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2020, 07:54:53 PM »
+12
I’ve made some good progress.

@philippe.whyte  was instrumental in this part of the project and created decals to allow me to fairly closely match the canoes in my reference photos.









The car itself got a coat of primer and the. Two coats of Rapido ONR yellow and ONR blue. Highball graphics has the canoe car decals in their ONR pulpwood flat car set.



And of course I could t resist a mock up with it fully loaded.





Next up is to add all of the separate yellow grabs and ladders, and a bit of weathering and fading following Tom Mann’s book.

Craig.

philippe.whyte

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2020, 08:17:28 PM »
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Looks great Craig... nice work!
Modelling BC Rail ca. 1987
North Vancouver, BC

peteski

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2020, 11:41:02 PM »
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I love it!
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hegstad1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2020, 03:47:01 PM »
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Super cool!
Andrew Hegstad

craigolio1

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Re: ONR Polar Bear Express - canoe car
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2020, 05:43:29 PM »
+3
Thanks everyone.

Ladders and grabs went on.



NOW it’s time for fading and weathering.

Craig