Monday, February 12, 2018

SOO LINE Grain Hoppers

SOO 74362, Chaplin, SK, August 2010
I was chatting with Donald Klippert in mid-January and he mentioned that he saw a white SOO gondola. We talked about the white SOO LINE paint scheme being a favourite of ours and then we got onto the SOO grain hoppers.

I started digging through my photo collection and it turns out I have quite a few photos of them. I usually make a point of photographing a SOO car when I see one. So, without further ado, here are some SOO grain hoppers.

I've seen two basic kinds of SOO LINE grain hoppers - the flat sided ones with the external vertical ribs, and the hoppers with the somewhat rounded sides. A third kind of SOO hopper is a rounded hopper in plain grey, but they aren't lettered "SOO LINE". Here's all three in one photo:
Three SOOs in one - Winnipeg, MB, August 2017
SOO 74521, SOO 118655 and SOO 75113 in Virden, MB, April 2016

Rounded Sides

SOO 74229, Banff, AB, August 2010 with the wheat sheaf and big black SOO LINE

SOO 74453 with heavy weathering and graffiti, Winnipeg, September 2016

SOO 74154, Field, BC, June 2016
The car below has the "Colormark" logo on it. According to this Trains thread, cars were colour coded based on the loading features for the freight cars. Apparently they stopped doing this on hoppers around 1974.
ICE 50833, Burdett, AB, October 2015 with "Colormark" and smaller green SOO LINE
Some of the "Colormark" cars don't seem to have a wheat sheaf (like this one or this one or this one). I wonder if they ever had a sheaf, or if it has just faded over the years.

There are two number series for the round-side ACF Centerflow cars - the 74xxx and 76xxx cars. The 74xxx cars have a larger "SOO LINE" near the top of the car, while the 76xxx cars have a smaller "SOO LINE" vertically centered.

In general they all seem to have had the gold wheat sheaf... with one exception below.
SOO 76553, Winnipeg, MB, May 2014
SOO 76414, Field, BC, June 2016
Really weathered SOO 76534, Winnipeg, MB, July 2016
Cleanish SOO, no sheaf, Winnipeg, MB, December 2003

Flat Sides

SOO 75307, Binscarth, MB, April 2016
The flat sided SOO LINE hoppers seem to be in the 75xxx number series, with some in the higher 74xxx series (SOO 74582, SOO 74718, SOO 74953). They all seem to have the wheat sheaf, without exception.

SOO 7x1x4 (faded), Winnipeg, MB, September 2016

SOO 75350, Winnipeg, MB, August 2017
SOO 75458, Calgary, AB, October 2013
SOO 75529, Grande Pointe, MB, April 2016
SOO 75606, Grande Pointe, MB, April 2016
I invite you to click through to SOO 74289 to see a really different SOO LINE paint scheme.

That's all the SOO LINE hopper photos I have! I hope these can provide some reference for freight car enthusiasts and modelers.

I'll leave you with this flat-sided SOO hopper - not a SOO LINE, though - land locked in Solsgirth, Manitoba.

No wheels - no problem!

Further Reading

(The last two links are affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you buy something from Amazon after clicking on the link, at no extra cost to you)


Anonymous said...


I'm glad I was able to provide inspiration for this awesome blog article. I'm also impressed you were able to find so many photos of all the different types of cars, paint schemes and font sizes used. One doesn't see them that often anymore, at least not in Calgary. Perhaps, like the Milwaukee Road hoppers, they reached the end of their useable lives.

Donald Klippert

Eric said...

CP is always eager to 'sweat the assets' including inherited cars like those of the SOO, DME and ICE, OTOH. Soo Line cars never really disappear, do they? They just fade away! The Colormark P-S covered hopper produced by Athearn was always a favourite on my layout. And still is!

Always great to see rolling stock articles on Confessions!
Thanks for sharing, Steve.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hey Donald, it was a fun chat and I'm glad it inspired me to share some SOO LINE photos. These cars are going to disappear eventually... hopefully not too soon.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Eric, glad you liked the article! It's people like you who have inspired me to keep looking at the train long after the head end has passed.

Mark said...

Interesting... Might be a use for an undecorated brass hopper I found on an auction site. Will see how close it is to the 1:1 car when it gets here...

Blair Ivey said...

Wow, that's an impressive collection of Soo Line hoppers.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Mark, I hope your hopper is a good match for a SOO LINE hopper!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Blair, I do like seeing and photographing them!

Doug Skaalrud said...

Soo Line ACF covered hoppers ran the gamut as far as lettering goes. I’ve followed the Soo since 1965 as it was our hometown railroad and it’s what I model of course. Much changed over time and much of that depended on the updates ACF did on these cars, especially the stiffeners on the upper side of the curved side plates. The color of the green lettering, the size of that lettering, it’s position on the car, the presence and color of the wheat stalk, the Colormark lettering, the ACI card, the reporting marks on the sides and ends and even the lube plates all moved around. Generally, the earlier versions of these cars were the most colorful as the green lettering and wheat stalk were brighter. Soo Line was a good customer for 3M not just for these cars but for locomotives as well. As time went on the wheat stalk disappeared, the lettering got darker and its position migrated upwards when the single stiffener was replaced with three stiffeners at the top of the side plates. The final series of these cars looked very utilitarian as the graphics trends of the 60’s gave way to the economies of the 70’s. I model the early versions of these cars as the decals for them still exist and they still fit in the era of the 567 to 645 engine change on EMD locomotives which Soo Line had many of. Soo Line also had a 1974 Pullman-Standard version of this scheme which is much more difficult to model but is worth the effort as the pre-painted efforts of the manufacturers fall short. It’s near impossible to find a clean example of this car today so if you come across one definitely get a shot of it.