Tuesday, March 8, 2016

DuPont Sclair Covered Hoppers

DuPont Canada's St Clair River site in Corunna, ON produced SCLAIR polyethylene resin, a revolutionary product developed in the late 1960's. A very visible, outwardly orange and winter white covered hopper car fleet plied the rails of North America publicizing the product for nearly forty years, such as NCLX 46548 on CN No 369 at Kingston on December 12, 2015 (above). According to a recent online report, there are only three cars from this formerly 140+ car fleet still seeing service: 46544, 46548 and 46551. Slightly smaller ones in 44600-series have been gone for a few years now, though fellow blogger Michael Hammond snapped one in Corunna, ON in 1993. Another online report places a line of Sclair cars in Norfolk Southern's Etna yard, near Pittsburgh's Azcon Scrap in 2006. Dead line!

DuPont Canada Inc rostered two series of cars of the same length, though the smaller cubic foot cars were of a lower external height:
  • DOCX 44601-44680 with an external length of 53'2" and capacity of 4460 cu ft. blt 1965 by American Car & Foundry.
  • DOCX 46501-46564 with an external length of 54'7" and a capacity of 4650 cu ft, blt 1969.
The fleet was sold to Nova Chemicals, receiving NCLX reporting marks in 1995-1997 after the patented SCLAIRTECH line was acquired from DuPont Canada Inc. in mid-1994, significantly enhancing Nova's production while DuPont reshuffled their non-strategic product lines.

Way back in 1981, DOCX 44627 was off-spot for the Northern Telecom plant, which was served by CN's Industrial Spur and could have one to three Sclair cars spotted at any one time. Shown at the siding at the top end of the Cataraqui Spur, this photo usually engenders lots of interest due to these cars being equipped with friction bearing trucks:
In November 1980, friction bearing-equipped DOCX 44613 was also off-spot, held on Queens track 4, about four miles east of the Industrial Spur:
NCLX 44608 off-spot at Kingston's Industrial Spur which served the 1971-built Northern Telecom (later Nortel and Nordx/CDT) plant on Gardiners Road, June 2000:
Before the plant closed in mid-2003, CN 4115-4118 are ready to leave the plant and re-enter the CN Kingston Sub, on August 9, 2000 (below). Sclair car NCLX 44612 is behind the units, having just been pulled. NCLX 44627, 44603, 44622 and 44623 were still on the plant's three tracks.
The Avens facility in Brockville still received shipments in occasional Sclair cars, like NCLX 46548 on October 9, 2012:

My Sclair car observations: date, car number, CN train on, remarks:
Jan 20/80 DOCX 44611
Jun 7/83 DOCX 44623 on CN's Industrial Spur
Jun 22/84 DOCX 44605
Jul 6/84 DOCX 44623
Mar 30/92 DOCX 44612 to CN's Industrial Spur (with VIA 6312 in consist of local freight)
Jan 24/94 DOCX 44613 from Industrial Spur
Aug 9/87 NCLX 44687
Dec 6/97 NCLX 46556 on tailend of No 363
May 31/98 NCLX 44658 on No 318
Sep 12/98 NCLX 46527-46515
Apr 30/99 NCLX 44674 plus two more on No 306
Sep 28/99 NCLX 44675 in Don Yard, Toronto
May 17/00 NCLX 44601 to Industrial Spur
May 20/00 NCLX 44732 (could be Sclair?) on No 308 dest Moncton NB
Apr 29/01 NCLX 46557-44714 on No 306
Oct 2/01 NCLX 44604 for Industrial Spur
Nov 30/01 NCLX 44627 on Industrial Spur
Sep 6/03 NCLX 44747(sic) on No 369
Nov 22/03 NCLX 44644 on No 308
Jun 15/06 NCLX 46548 on No 309
Jun 23/06 NCLX 46548 on No 369
Aug 11/11 NCLX 46544 at Belleville
Sep 2/11 NCLX 46xxx at Avens, Brockville
Dec 3/16 NCLX 46544 on No 376

One more...NCLX 46551 eastbound at Kingston on CN No 376 on August 6, 2016:
Eye-catching SCLAIR covered hopper models were produced in O scale by Weaver. 
Lots o' links;
SCLAIR fun fact: Alberta's Ben Alain passed along the location of an extant SCLAIR car - NCLX 46558 at the Joffre, AB (not Quebec!) NOVA refinery. Ben notes that the car is filled with a defined amount of concrete and used as a scale test car. Found it from my satellite! Pan around if you like.
More satellite view research! Google map view of the NOVA St Clair River site reveals two SCLAIR hoppers in the yard and one within the plant (all circled):

NOVEMBER 2016 update: NCLX 46548 four cars in on CN No 369 at Kingston. Thanks, Logan! 
JANUARY 2017 update: Logan had an eye for Sclair again and Jake Earle snapped this Sclair (most likely NCLX 46544) in Brockville yard with CN SD70M-2 8938, noting that Sclair cars are often handled by CN Nos 585/586:

Running extra...

Graphics guru Randy O'Brien shared his version of the NOTROPHY trophy. Lost the thread there...but noticed the spikes!

On the buses! Facebook friend Richard Sun snapped Kingston Transit 1502 - unique! The only KT-scheme NOVA bus in the fleet - all others in the 1500-series wear the beautiful blue Kingston Express livery.
How to spot trains. British version. 

Winnipeg's Isaac Raymond snapped a perfectly mundane CN intermodal train photo this week. Unique angle, eh? 
RDC-1 RPDX (ex-VIA) 6133 travelled from Moncton, NB to Toronto's MacMillan Yard on March 2 second-last in the consist of CN No 305. Snapped along its route by many including Michael Delic in Whitby. On its way to preservation, the redolent RDC shared the train with a Canadian Forces Leopard 2 tank!

5 comments:

BA railsystem said...

Great post Eric. There is an additional Sclair painted car NCLX 46558 at the Nova Chemicals, Joffre site. It's not technically in service as it is a cement filled scale test car but it still sports the bright orange Sclair paint with "Polyethylene" in English above the large SCLAIR letters and in French below. Thanks for the read.

Ben

Michael said...

These were a staple of train watching in the Sarnia area in the 1980s and 1990s. They were an exception to the rule, which is why I think they continue to fascinate us. Very few companies did this with train cars. I found one other shot of a Sclair hopper I took in 1992 and posted it on this week's post.

http://beachburg.blogspot.ca/2016/03/all-american-diesel-in-canada.html

Eric said...

Thanks for the tip, Ben. Did not know about that one! Found it in a satellite photo, which might be the only photo I'm finding:
https://www.google.ca/maps/place/NOVA+Chemicals/@52.3117393,-113.5590597,82m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x5374fb844afa2685:0xa23eea1dd2a574c!6m1!1e1

Thanks for your additional photo, Michael. It was great to see the TRAINS unit on The Beachburg Sub, too!

Thanks for your comments,
Eric

Zartok-35 said...

What a cool paint scheme these cars have! I've only seen one once, in Calgary, several years ago, on the CN highline over the Deerfoot highway. The train even had Cataraqui-esque power, a striped GP9 and GMD-1; both "Black capped Chickadees" in my eccentric nomenclature.
So Eric, did you ever see a Sclair hopper at Portage?

Eric said...

Not that I know of...good question though, Elijah.

I thought I should preserve some photos and data on these unique cars before they all go to the big scrapyard in the sky. I'm really not sure how well-travelled they were - presumably to any plastic plant!

Thanks for your comment,
Eric