Fallen Flags in April

I always like to see “fallen flag” rail cars in a train. A fallen flag is a rail car or locomotive still decorated for a railway that doesn’t exist any more. Examples below include the Chicago & Northwestern, SOO Line, Burlington Northern, and the Milwaukee Road. These were railways that went bankrupt or were merged into other railways, and are no longer known by these names.

Here are some “fallen flags” and a few producer cars as well. I believe a lot of these cars, if not all, are in potash service now instead of grain service. I saw them on a couple of CP trains one morning.

Chicago & Northwestern

AEX 21853 - ex Chicago & Northwestern - BAD DOOR
AEX 21853 – ex Chicago & Northwestern – BAD DOOR

Note the “BAD DOOR” painted on one of the three doors on the bottom of the car…

The ex Chicago & Northwestern cars can be spotted by the logo that persists on the side – either “Chicago and North Western System” or “NorthWestern – Employee Owned”. Here’s the logo from the car above, shown beside a clearer and older logo I saw on a car in Chatham, Ontario in September 2012.

Two Chicago & NorthWestern logos
Two Chicago & NorthWestern logos

I like how they kept the same logo design when the company was sold to its employees in 1972 (to stave off bankruptcy, I believe). In the end, the CNW was acquired by Union Pacific in April 1995.

Burlington Northern

BN 468859 - Burlington Northern
BN 468859 – Burlington Northern

There are a fair number of green Burlington Northern cars rolling around still. BN merged with Santa Fe on the last day of 1996 and became today’s BNSF. BN itself was formed by merging the CB&Q, Great Northern, Northern Pacific and the Spokane, Portland & Seattle in 1970. (family tree).

The Katy

ITLX 22001 - MKT
ITLX 22001 – MKT

The Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, shortened to MKT, was often known as the “Katy” for obvious reasons. I don’t see many MKT cars but the big letters are hard to miss. The Katy was another railway acquired by Union Pacific, in 1988.

The Milwaukee Road

NAHX 23603 - Milwaukee Road
NAHX 23603 – Milwaukee Road

I see quite a few Milwaukee Road cars around Winnipeg. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific was commonly known by the shorter “Milwaukee Road” moniker and was a very ambitious east-west railroad. One of the more unique aspects of the Milwaukee Road was its decision to electrify portions of its route through the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades. The railroad was eventually sold off in pieces. You can read all about it here.

SOO Line

SOO 74947
SOO 74947

I saw two different SOO Line cars on that day in April. I won’t get into the differences between the cars, since I covered SOO Line cars back in February 2018.

SOO 76576
SOO 76576

Co-Op Cars

AEX 25418 - Farmer's Co-Op Grain Association Benedict Nebraska
AEX 25418 – Farmer’s Co-Op Grain Association Benedict Nebraska

Quite a few grain cars were/are held by farmer’s co-operatives in Canada and the USA. The Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Alberta Wheat Pool cars were well known in Canada and the US had their own co-operative owned cars. Here are a few examples I saw in April.

Above is AEX 25418, a former Farmer’s Co-Op Grain Association car from Benedict, Nebraska. According to this, the company dissolved in 1983.

CP 390236 - Co-Op Farmland Industries Inc.
CP 390236 – Co-Op Farmland Industries Inc.

The car above is a former Farmland Industries car, now lettered for CP. The Farmland Industries co-operative was very large in its time. It declared bankruptcy in 2002.

PLCX 16341 - Wellens & Company
PLCX 16341 – Wellens & Company

This car is lettered for Wellens & Company but bears the PLCX reporting mark now. Wellens & Company still exists but I guess they don’t own this car any more.

I’ll end with this very banged-up car of indeterminate origin, heading off to the scrapper. It has seen better days…


Just One More Thing

If you like fallen flags, you’ll probably like these posts!

8 thoughts on “Fallen Flags in April”

  1. Thanks for sharing these cars, Steve. We see some of them here on the CN Kingston Sub, although not MKT and Co-op.

    You might be interested to know that PLCX 16341 Wellens is one of the cars that the Province of Manitoba leased waaaay back in 1980. The weld marks for the provincial crest/logo give it away, still barely visible among all that other rust! So it’s been treading the rails there for well over 40 years, still carrying grain!


    • Hi Eric, that’s an interesting detail on the Wellens car. I admit I am not good at spotting that mark for the provincial crest, so thanks for catching it!

  2. How I miss the days when as a young boy I would sit at a RR crossing and read the logo on cars passing and dream of the far off places they originated—it was a fascinating time for a young trail fan!

    • I imagine it was, Bob! Today’s cars are pretty boring in comparison to the cars of the 60s, 70s and 80s with per diem “railroads” and a multitude of class 1 railways before the mergers.

  3. That’s a nice collection of fallen flag pictures, Steve. It still surprises me just how many Milwaukee Road hoppers are roaming around and how the paint on these cars is generally in fairly good shape, considering that the MILW has been defunct since the mid-1980s.

    Whoever painted ‘Scrap – Do Not Load’ on the side of the NAHX car didn’t get their way. Looking at the trucks, the car is clearly under load in your picture. From the railway’s perspective, a car that is beat up and rusty generates just as much revenue as one with new paint.

    • I see a fair number of MILW cars on CP. I don’t know if it’s the paint used or the colours used but some railways’ paint schemes last longer than others.

      Funny how the scrap car is still earning $$$. Sweating the assets, I guess!

  4. You’ve given me an idea to search through my images for fallen flags. It might be a fun exercise to see what I have. I know I’ve seen CNW, Soo, BN and a few others for sure. I have never seen a Katy car though. Catch em while you can!

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