CN 188000-188435 are covered gondola cars used by Alcan for shipping aluminum coils. Loaded at Arvida's continuous cast operation, the coils are covered while still warm. The covers are heavily-insulated, mainly for wintertime, when ambient temperature on the trip can change from -30C to 20C. Moisture from the temperature change would stain the aluminum and cannot be removed, and since the 5-7 coils are valued at $35,000 each, that can be a costly mistake. Today, the coils are shipped by rail to Indianapolis, then trucked 70 miles to Terre Haute for further rolling. Upon arrival, the coils are still warm. CN later added more cars to the fleet.
In March, 1995, at least two of the cars were spotted on Kingston's Aluminum Spur (above). The cars may have been in Arvida-Kingston service for awhile. A photo on the Canadian Science and Technology Museum website shows coils being unloaded at Kingston.
The cars had CN and Alcan logos on their covers. I've yet to add the CN logos to my HO-scale gondola's covers. When Alcan Rolled Products was spun off to Novelis in 2004, the Alcan logos had been painted out. In fact, I first recorded the Alcan logos being painted out on June 14, 1999. A one-day trace of the gondola fleet in the late 1990's:
Arvida, Roberval & Saguenay: 188400, 188402, 188403, 188405, 188416, 188424, 188427, 188429, 188433, 188434.
Garneau Yard: 188401, 188431.
Montreal Taschereau Yard on train 364: 188407, 188411, 188414, 188415, 188417, 188418, 188420, 188425, 188432.
Oshawa on train 369: 188404, 188406, 188413, 188419, 188426, 188428.
Flint, Michigan on train 216: 188410.
Chicago, Indiana Harbor Belt: 188409, 188412, 188421, 188422, 188423.
In the 1960's, CN and CP were competing for Alcan's business in Kingston. Alcan was one of CP's major customers here, and much of the rolled aluminum was sent to Wilkinson in British Columbia. CN sent the rolls in tarped gondolas, but the tarps had to be rolled up and shipped back - a troublesome process. CP developed two-section steel lids which provided better protection from the elements. This probably explains the presence of that covered CP gon in an earlier post on Kingston's CN-CP interchange.
Thanks to Ian Stronach for sharing information on Alcan. An HO modeller, Ian's Montreal Terminals is a professional-looking operation.