When you’re trackside, watching a train roll by, sometimes a car will catch your eye. Sometimes it’s a fallen flag like the Rock Island. Here in Canada – or the US – sometimes you will see a “census car”.
The 2001 Census of Agriculture
A census is an official count of population or other measures. When Canada was formed in 1867, the British North America Act stated that a census would be taken every 10 years. Over time, it was determined that a more frequent census would be required. Starting in 1896, a separate Census of Agriculture was taken every 5 years in Manitoba, and in Saskatchewan and Alberta starting in 1906.
The Census of Agriculture is different than the general population census. It has different questions and is processed by different groups within Stats Canada.
You can read the actual 2001 results here. One thing I noted was that in the 5 years since the 1996 census, the number of farms in Canada had declined by 10%… not surprising, given the evolution of farming from small family farms to large industrial operations.
The Rail Cars
These cars have the text “CENSUS Count Yourself In! May 15 RECENSEMENT Soyez du nombre! le 15 mai” (bilingual, of course) with a stylized 2001 logo over the giant word AGRICULTURE. In small print at the bottom is the Canadian government flag mark with “STATISTICS CANADA”.
The 2001 logo was originally in multiple colours – red, yellow and green. These have faded away over time.
All of the cars were made by National Steel Car and owned by Dow Chemical, and have the reporting mark DCLX. They are covered hopper cars carrying granulated plastic.
I am not sure who decided it would be worthwhile to paint a number of hopper cars with an advertisement for the census. I find it strange that the agricultural census was advertised on non-agricultural cars!
Here is a table of rail cars I have personally seen or found photos of that feature the Census logo and lettering. Note that not all cars in the series DCLX 7146-DCLX 8189 have the Census logo!
|Reporting Mark||Sighted By||Link to Photo|
|DCLX 7146||Gerry Fitzpatrick||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 7150||Jim J.||Flickr|
|DCLX 7275||Keith Armes||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7286||John Schmeling||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7289||Steve Boyko||In this post|
|DCLX 7314||R. McCallay||Flickr|
|DCLX 7343||Ed Cooke||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 7344||Skip Gatermann||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7352||Mike Rujak||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7355||Wyatt Heilman||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7377||David Graham||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 7379||Thomas Stebly||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7435||Hidden Images||Hiddenimages|
|DCLX 7450||Ken Szok||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7482||Peter Bieber||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7490||Steve Boyko||In this post|
|DCLX 7514||Hidden Images||Hiddenimages|
|DCLX 7550||Steve Boyko||In this post|
|DCLX 7568||Chris van der Heide||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 7571||Mike Rujak||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 7581||Keith Belk||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 8020||Robin Thomas||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 8026||Roger Leitner||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 8045||Grahame Morris||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 8047||Keith Belk||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 8056||John Derler||Canadian Freight Car Gallery|
|DCLX 8096||Steve Boyko||In this post|
|DCLX 8119||Steve Boyko||In this post|
|DCLX 8133||R. McCallay||Flickr|
|DCLX 8172||Collin Reinhart||Railcarphotos|
|DCLX 8176||Hidden Images||Hiddenimages|
|DCLX 8189||Keith Belk||Railcarphotos|
If you have more car numbers that you’ve seen, please let me know!
If you have any more information on the Census cars, please comment!
Other Census Cars
While doing the research for this post, I came across this photo by Michael Berry featuring a CN ex Government grain hopper. It has a green and white sticker advertising the 1996 census! Something else to look for!
Just One More Thing
I was in Riding Mountain National Park for a few days this past week, on a family “stay-cation” (I hate that word). We had a very nice relaxing time in Wasagaming by Clear Lake, and the weather was delightful. I even spent a few hours revisiting grain elevators in the area one morning, which was also nice.
Just outside the park is Poor Michael’s Book Shop, which has a great selection of books and other items. I bought the book Trails to Rails: The History of Railroading in Minnedosa and read it while sitting on the beach.
(I receive a small commission if you buy anything on Amazon using my links, at no extra cost to you)
It was appropriate to read that in Riding Mountain as Minnedosa is not that far away and is still a very active railway town, as the crew change point between the CP Minnedosa and CP Bredenbury subdivisions on Canadian Pacific’s northern main line. The town is in a river valley and the line in and out of the valley feature some of the steepest grades remaining on CP’s main lines.
The book is basically a collection of articles and short biographies of people involved in forming and operating the railroads around Minnedosa, Manitoba.
The book was produced by Minnedosa Heritage Inc. to support the restoration of the CP station in Minnedosa. What’s happening with that station deserves a post of its own… it has been messy.
Anyway, I enjoyed reading the book. It has a lot of facts and first hand accounts of the railway in the area and is valuable to any student of Manitoba’s railway history. Buy it on Amazon.