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Unusual HPJX 59000 flat car load in 2005

Unusual HPJX 59000 flat car load in 2005

This page was originally wrote in 2005 when this flat car was 'new'. I brought the page back because it was an interesting flatcar load, and the server that had my original web page is long defunct.
Since the recession of 2009, I think these cars are no longer in use.

Here was the start of the story, back in February of 2005.
I saw one nice and bright white bulkhead flat car HPJX 59000 on an east bound train in Stevens Point.
It reminded me of white Soo Line paint. Really stands out.

It was a flatcar leased by Weather Shield, a manufacturer of windows and doors.
Their hometown is also mine, and I (and four other people) became really curious about this car.

I had not seen this car before, and I live within a hundred miles of the window manufacturer. After my first web page showed this car, I received a reply from the person who started this new transportation method for window components.

I didn't quite know how to edit all the new information from Weather Shield, but decided it was so well written that I used it almost as received.
I just coordinated all our pictures with the text for this page.

Hi Bruce,

Mr. David Kruschwitz at CN, forwarded to me your web posting from 2/25/05, entitled 'Unusual Flat car loads this week' and I was so pleased to see our car that I had to respond (great website!).

My name is Rich Harding and I am the person responsible for Weather Shield's rail services. What you caught on camera in the Stevens Point yard is the result of 4 years of my work researching 'rail' opportunities for the company (by the way - thanks for the nice comments on the color).

As you may or may not know, up until last year (2004) it had been over a decade since Weather Shield used rail in any capacity. For this project, my focus has been shifting freight from truck to rail on inbound / outbound as well as between facilities in Wisconsin, Georgia, West Virginia, and Utah. Believe me, it has been no small task.

Anyway, back to your article, your guess was correct, car HPJX59000 is a 48 ft bulkhead flat leased from Helm Financial Corp and is one of a projected fleet of 4-6 bulkhead flats that we will be dedicating to ship 'vinyl extrusions', not vinyl windows, from Medford (location of our Vinyl Plant) to our assembly facilities in Utah and West Virginia.



We looked at standard RR flats, and 73 ft center beam lumber cars,
but it soon became apparent that we needed our own equipment!

(Picture on the right was) our first test shipment to Utah,
on a standard bulkhead flatcar.



Car HPJX59000 (an old CNW flat) was leased from Helm late last summer.

The car was in poor shape,
so it was sent from the Helm yard in Iowa to WSOR's shop in Horicon for modifications;
these included a new deck, new paint, cables, and cable spools.



The center bulkhead is two interlocking sections (built by our Projects Department)
designed only to fill the void between the racks and to prevent damage to the product.
No 'goodies' hidden inside.

The car cable and center bulkhead design were the result of 'trial and error'
in an attempt to find the right equipment for the job.

The total weight would be around (extrusions and steel racking) 64,000 lbs.
(there is a lot of hollow air pockets in the extrusions).

As for 'use', the extrusions shipped by rail will be used to manufacture 'all vinyl' windows / doors.

The car was loaded in Medford (transload from the Vinyl Plant located on Hwy 13 about 1-1/2 mile away from our siding)
and is currently west bound to Logan, Utah. (in 2005)
The car was handed off to the UP at Proviso, IL on (February) 27th and will
stay on the UP until spotted at our plant in Logan. (picture below)
This is the fourth trip to Utah for this car and turn time has typically been 9 - 11 days
My note, I think I saw this car eastbound March 16th, 2005; while running errands for work in the area.
16 - Feb 25 = 21 days, so maybe my first pictures were the 2nd trip. Rail Car number 1 at our Utah facility
(my note, there's snowy mountains in the picture out there! This isn't Wisconsin scenery)




As for the black boxes (extra steel) on the ends of the cars,
these were on the car when leased and I am not sure why they are on the car.

(a reply from the wisrail group suggests these were 'jewelry boxes',
for chain and tie-down storage when the Chicago and North Western Railroad had the cars.)


Aside from the 4 vinyl extrusion loads shipped out to Utah, we have (since mid-November 2004) received 45 - 73' center beam carloads of lumber!

2005 is looking busy for we just completed engineering plans on 2 additional spurs for Medford and are in the process of a facilities review.

In closing, we have a great CN crew working the Medford sub and rail is still alive and growing in Medford. I for one, am glad to be part of it!


Rich Harding, C.E.M.

Shield Family Companies (Weather Shield and TPC, Medford, WI)


Ps. Car #2 will be ordered to Horicon next week (in 2005).
(By the way - our next car is going to be painted up for our sister company -
TPC (SNE Enterprises / Vetter / Peachtree Doors and Windows).

Months later in 2006, I saw it traveling through Point, HPJX 59001


Actually, I (Bruce) like the split of color part way up the bulkhead. The black de-emphasizes the steel framing, which could be damaged or of inconsistent height on some re-built cars.
I like the white, it seems to highlight the white color of the window frame material.

And if later cars don't have the same overall height, at least keep the split line of black/white at the same height above the rail head. A fleet of those would look 'sharp'.

And having worked a little around industry and rough handling of loads, a white car is easier to see and work with in the dark.

Here's a link to Weather Shield Windows and Doors, so you can see the products they make.

A great THANK YOU to Rich and Weather Shield for helping document history in the making (in 2005)

to the index of Bruce's RailRoad Pictures web page.

The original web page was made Feb 25, 2005, then updated and re-released in 2021
to remember the history of an interesting flatcar.
I think the Utah and West Virginia branch plants closed during the recession of 2009.
I remember seeing one car parked on the Medford house track long ago, and I doubt if they are leased anymore.