Soo Line Colormark cars

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Soo Line Colormark cars
Posted by Cris_261 on Thursday, December 21, 2006 3:28 PM
I recently saw a Union Pacific train heading into the North Salt Lake (UT.) Yard with at least seven Soo Line box cars coupled together. Four of the box cars were painted brown with large white Soo Line lettering, while the remaining three were in the white (or is it light grey?) with black lettering scheme. Actually, the three white cars had more rust on them than paint, but on one car, I barely made out the following wording, "a Colormark car" next to the railroad's name. So naturally, a few questions came to mind. 1. What is the significance of the Colormark car wording? 2. On rusted railcars, how much of the rust is superficial, and how much is to the point where the car is rusted through? 3. Why would Soo Line, or Canadian Pacific as it now is, allow its cars to be out in the road in such a ratty condition? Regarding the last question, I figure that as long as the roof doesn't leak, and the doors close and lock, the railroad doesn't care, unless a damage claim from an angry shipper is filed. Or maybe it depends on the railroad in question. So what are your thoughts?
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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, December 21, 2006 5:10 PM

A Soo Line Colormark Car slogan was in use from 1963 to 1974. The Colormark concept meant that the cars were apparently color coded by use and they have check marks for loading features available on the freight cars. Notice that there is yellow check mark in the 'k' of the word Colormark. The loading features were listed on the sides of boxcars and gondolas during this time period. 

During 1959 to 1963 the slogan was Custom Equipped (for) Custom Service.

Soo Line Boxcars were repainted by CP Rail in the 1990's, but that seems to have stopped now.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, December 21, 2006 5:14 PM

This is an illustration by Rick Johnson on the website http://www.sooline.org/

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Posted by Bob-Fryml on Thursday, December 21, 2006 10:24 PM
 Andrew Falconer wrote:

A Soo Line Colormark Car slogan was in use from 1963 to 1974. The Colormark concept meant that the cars were apparently color coded by use and they have check marks for loading features available on the freight cars. Notice that there is yellow check mark in the 'k' of the word Colormark. The loading features were listed on the sides of boxcars and gondolas during this time period. 

During 1959 to 1963 the slogan was Custom Equipped (for) Custom Service.

Soo Line Boxcars were repainted by CP Rail in the 1990's, but that seems to have stopped now.

Andrew

One Sunday during the spring of 1979 I snuck into the Soo Line car shops at Fondulac, Wisc. and found quite a few boxcars and covered hoppers painted in the white "Colormark" scheme. The Colormark painting scheme was alive and well beyond 1974. And like the good camper I am, I took a number of pictures but I didn't touch a thing.
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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, December 21, 2006 11:15 PM

Bob,

Did you actually see stencils and decals for the slogan A SOO LINE Colormark CAR still sitting around in 1979?

The cars were around and being painted in similar schemes, but as near as I can determine none of the cars fresh from the builder were still using the A SOO LINE Colormark CAR slogan past December 1974.

I have looked for a long time to determine a cut-off point for the Colormark slogan. 1974 was also the year of the new SOO slant logo. When the 1974 SOO Logo appeared, the Colormark Slogan dissapeared.

In 1975 and 1976 none of the ACF Center Flow 3-Bay Covered Hoppers delivered to the Soo Line had the Colormark slogan.

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Posted by Cris_261 on Friday, December 22, 2006 12:24 PM
Thanks for the Colormark information Andrew!
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Posted by METRO on Friday, December 22, 2006 12:41 PM

As for CP/Soo's maintaince record, well CP has long been known for having great maintainance especially for locomotives.  They kept engines going that had long been scrapped by their other owners, the F-M C-Liners, H-Liners and Trainmasters were used into the 1970s and the MLWs were on road until the 1990s.

They also kept a very sizable fleet of 40' boxcars going for a very long time, again up into the 1990s. Some of these cars were used in grain service on docks that were built too light for modern covered hoppers.

Now as for Soo, having grown up in Milwaukee, I've seen Soo my whole life.  While I do not know offhand any numbers and figures regarding their mantainance and how much was differed, I do know they followed their parent's tradition of keeping first generation power going long after the expected service life. I remember seeing high-nosed Geeps back in the 1990s, switching in the valley,  and while they were rather ragged and not nearly as clean or rust-free as the CP units, they did work, hard.

A lot of the more run-down equipment came to the Soo by way of its aquiring of the Milwaukee Road, which had run much of its equipment into the ground in efforts to save money.  In my meandering observations, and I'm by no means an expert, it seemed my view that the Soo never really recovered from eating the Milwaukee, then again it was only a few years until they were fully merged into the CP.

Today, Soo seems to be integrating into the CP well, their SD-60s are pulling alongside CP AC4400s.  CP still has yet to repaint a lot of the Soo (and for that matter the old Milwaukee) equipment, if they ever will.  The Soo SD60s I believe are all still painted either with the Hockey Stick red and white or in Candy Apple Red.  

Cheers!

~METRO 

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Saturday, December 23, 2006 3:53 PM

March 1974 might have been the last time for the slogan A SOO LINE Colormark CAR to be applied to ACF Center Flow 3-Bay Covered Hoppers.

The Soo Line still had the Colormark Style paint schemes applied to freight cars built and painted right up to 1985.

The Milwaukee Road Merger in 1985 led to experiments with a new Soo Line scheme. They were in a 1986 issue of TRAINS. Those experiments led to the Candy Apple Red scheme of 1988.

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Posted by KBCpresident on Saturday, December 23, 2006 4:33 PM
Is "A SOO LINE Colormark CAR" What they call the Paint scheme that has red with mostly white and SOO in big black letters? like they show HEREShy [8)]

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Sunday, December 24, 2006 5:03 PM

The SOO SD60 paint scheme is derived from the original Colormark era scheme. Notice the diagonal 'swoosh' painted between 1977-1987 has a sharp termination unlike the 1962-1976 scheme that has a curved transition to the sidesill stripe.

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Posted by KBCpresident on Monday, December 25, 2006 6:25 PM
I see. Thanks!Smile [:)]

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Posted by METRO on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 11:41 AM

The Soo paint with the sharper swoosh are nicknamed the "Hockey Stick" scheme, it was the last paint applied system-wide on locomotives before Candy Apple Red.  Engines in the hockey stick are still relatively common. A train watcher spending the day along the CP line here in Milwaukee would probably see a couple of them throughout a day of watching.  What are rare, and I'm unsure if they still exist are the older red-and-white engines with the curved swoosh.

The last I saw of an engine in that scheme was a Geep this summer switching Jones Island, and then about a week later booking it out of town on a northwest bound freight.  Engines in old paint that go out of Milwaukee to the northwest seem to have a habbit of coming back in CP red.

Amazingly this past summer as well Milwaukee seemed to be the home to quite a few CP Red Barns which were running with Soo SD60s a lot. Also sadly, to my knowledge, the last Milwaukee Road/Soo bandit (a MP15) seems to have left town.

Also does anyone know when CP offically got rid of their GP35s? I saw one this fall, very faded very worn and it looked like the CP Rail lettering had been painted out only to show through again so I'm assuming this was owned by a leasing company.

Cheers!

~METRO 

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Posted by KBCpresident on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 7:57 PM
Both schemes look virtually the same to me.Smile [:)] What's a Milwaukee Road/Soo bandit? Even better... could you give me a link to a picture of one?

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 12:15 AM

This is a link to a SOO Bandit. It is a former Milwaukee Road GP40.

http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/soo/soo2057ase.jpg

There are even more at this web site.

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Posted by KBCpresident on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 1:08 PM
Ah so thats what those things are called.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 1:29 PM
The black paint didn't last very long on the 'bandits', there's still one or two in St.Paul and they look more like dirty Milwaukee engines than anything else. Still a fair amount of white and red "SOO" diesels around too.
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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, December 28, 2006 5:13 AM

This page of Soo Line freight car illustrations will help answer most of the questions.

 www.sooline.org/publications/drawings/cars/cars.html 

The Pullman-Standard 4427 Cu. Ft. Low-Sided Covered Hoppers have the Colormark Slogan, but are in various schemes.

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