I heavily modified a brass model to create CNR 8789 – a suitable stand-in for a CNR baggage express car:
The prototype that inspired me is a series of 25 cars (CNR 8775-8799) built for the railway by National Steel Car in 1940. I chose to model this car for a couple of reasons:
I wanted a four-axle, steel baggage-express car in the green over black scheme, to represent the era after the railway lost the mail contract to trucks. I have many photos of the mixed train to Port Rowan running behind a CNR 10-wheeler, with two-tone passenger equipment consisting of a combination car and four-axle steel baggage car.
The car I actually need to accurately represent this train isn’t available in S scale. It’s the smooth-side BE-73-H series built by National Steel Car. I went looking for the next best thing, as a stand-in.
Comparing photos of available models to photos of CNR prototype equipment, I discovered that South Wind Models offered a Southern Pacific baggage car that was a reasonable starting point for the car I modelled. Better yet, I found one for sale! (I also found a South Wind Models PRR B60b, which I bought on spec. It was not suitable for this project, but I kept it anyway.)
I chose CNR 8789 to model because there’s a photo of it in the Morning Sun book, Canadian National Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Volume 1 by John Riddell. Comparing the model to the photo, there were some compromises I could accept, but I did have to perform some serious surgery on the doors. I made the door openings larger, reframed them, and built new doors. I also built new steps, changed the rooftop ventilators, and added some other details.
Over all, it’s a great stand-in and I learned a lot about working with brass while building this model.