Re: Practical use for model box cars

Doug Rhodes

Canada-US grain trade is a complex issue, and in recent times rather more heat than light has been shed around it due to issues of a political nature, which are out of scope for STMFC. However, some basic facts may be helpful in understanding trade and transportation patterns, and deciding how to "reload" those models of Canadian boxcars on US steam-era layouts.

While one might like to think that "grain is grain" in fact there are various kinds of grains (wheat, oats, barley etc) and within each there are various varieties, grades etc. Since wheat is by far the most important, this note will be made briefer by focusing on wheat.

Canada is a much smaller producer of wheat than the US, and is not among the largest world producers. However, Canada's small population uses only about a third of its wheat production, so Canada has a reliable surplus available for export. Canada is the world's leading exporter of hard red spring wheat and durum (used for pasta), which are premium products that sell for a premium price. However, Canada's wheat exports in the STMFC era accounted for only about 20 per cent of world wheat trade, compared to the US with around 40-45%. Both these figures have been dropping in recent years (beyond the scope of STMFC.)

The US gets around 3 per cent of its wheat from imports, nearly all of it from Canada, and nearly all of it in the premium grades of hard red spring and durum. This is used to make semolina for pasta and as a blending feedstock to raise the protein content of flours made from lesser-protein-content domestic US wheat. Six US states account for over half the usage of Canadian wheat, being Minnesota, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Virginia. In our era of interest, modest numbers of boxcars bearing Canadian wheat (some Canadian cars, some returning US cars) could reasonably be modeled inbound to such facilities.

Canada does not import significant quantities of wheat, in the order of a tenth of a per cent to a half of a per cent of its exports depending on the year chosen for review. Some wheat does move from the US to Canada but in such tiny amounts that it would have to be considered very atypical.

So the answer to the question about "reloading" a model Canadian boxcar with wheat to be sent back to Canada ... well, it's not impossible, but likely to be a pretty rare occurrence in real life.

Doug Rhodes

----- Original Message -----
From: ljack70117@...
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 1:38 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Practical use for model box cars

I understand that Canada can only grow spring wheat. Because of their
very cold winters. I worked for International Milling Co in Salina
Ks. Most of the wheat grown in the good ol US of A is winter wheat.
If you want a good patent flour you use winter wheat with about 10%
of spring wheat in it. So if Canada is going to grind good flour they
need to import winter wheat.
The difference in the two wheats you may ask is winter wheat is
planted in the fall and the spring wheat is planted in the spring of
the year. Winter wheat is the better of the two
Thank you
Larry Jackman
Boca Raton FL

On Dec 20, 2006, at 4:06 PM, cj riley wrote:

> Clark,
> I don't know for a fact, but I would be very surprised if
> the US would be shipping grain to Canada, one of the world's major
> grain
> producers. Canada has been exporting grain for probably a hundred
> years. Anyone
> have the facts on this?
> CJ Riley
> --- rockroll50401 <cepropst@...> wrote:
>> CN 475916 Box Paper Incline IM/Sylvan
>> CN 414593 Box Lumber Builders/MC L Westfld
>> CP 236378 Box Lumber Builders/MC L Tichy
>> To put all these recent information to practical use I currently have
>> three Canadian box cars out of a fleet of over 100 box cars. The
>> first model is numbered for an actual car that was on the RR with a
>> load of paper. It is an Intermountain car with a Sylvan flat panel
>> roof and the ends that are similar to those on a PS1, but with
>> vertical strap like protrusions. The second model (Westerfield) 36'
>> SS, I most have picked up at a swap meet because I have no info on
>> that number series, so I gave the car a load of lumber. The last car
>> (Tichy) single sheath is also numbered for a car that was on the RR
>> with the correct load.
>> I have two lumber yards I can spot the cars of lumber at to unload
>> and a ramp to unload the paper. Big question: Then what? Do I reload
>> them with cement, feed, fertilizer, or grain and send them back
>> north? If so, do I weigh them? The cement, feed, fertilizer are all
>> bagged, I know they didn't weigh the bagged cement, how `bout the
>> grain? Probably not. Or, do I send them north empty?
>> Thanks to all who answer,
>> Clark Propst
>> MC IA
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