The cars were in use in the August 1981, with the following cars seen going through Portage la Prairie, Manitoba on both major railways:
CP Eastbound 5954-4551-5970-134 grain loads-434373
ALPX 628221, 628489, 628314, 628032, 628477, 628368
SKPX 625179, 625272, 625189, 625102, 625040, 625129, 625117
CP Westbound 5914-112 grain etys-434631
ALPX 628176, 628490, 628086, 628070, 628357
SKPX 625101, 625131, 625164
CN Eastbound 1354-1353-1369-91 grain loads-79621
ALNX 396444, 396278, 396312, 396249, 396231, 396106, 396093
SKNX 397389, 397049, 397078, 397338, 397374, 397228, 397226, 397126
CN Westbound 9543-9650-7005-110 grain etys-79369
ALNX 396178, 396037
SKNX 397331, 397013, 397134, 397465, 397069, 397061, 397318
The introduction of the Alberta and Saskatchewan cars tipped the balance in favour of covered hoppers in the Canadian dedicated grain fleet. Boxcar numbers continued to drop, while tonnage increased. These cars also continued the trend away from railway-owned cars to private owner cars, a trend which continues today. In 1988, statistics on the use of the cars also made the papers, including cycle times, loading locations, grains shipped and destinations:
Manitoba had its own seldom-mentioned covered hoppers. In 1980, the provincial government chartered American Pullman-Standard lease hoppers, with a provincial coat-of-arms on red or green steel, welded to each side. It's rare to find a picture or discussion of these cars anywhere, although the Manitoba/Canada Buffalo boxcars for grain shipping to Churchill and Thunder Bay are better-known and photographed.
Listening to Village of the Small Houses by Ian Ferguson, an off-beat account of growing up poor in Canada's far north. Ian's treatment of the Peace River ferry crossing at freeze-up is hilarious. A fast-moving river, the Peace was a mile wide in many places.
Privatization has come to CN in a big way, with Herzog doing track monitoring and tie removal along the Kingston Sub. With 3,000-4,000 ties per load, and two units working some nights, there is quite a mountain of ties at the top of the Cat Spur right now. CN trains 492 and 493 are another Herzog-run operation currently plying the rails here, haulin' and slingin' ballast along CN's southern Ontario lines.
Runningtrades.com is a great source of Canadian rail industry information, and be sure to check out their bulletin board, news and forum sections.