Saturday 25 May 2019

CN Rymal Pt. 11: Freight Cars Part 2 - Shaw Pipe Protection

In addition to the double ended siding at Rymal, two other spur tracks served local area industries; Penn Lumber and Shaw Pipe Protection – see Rymal Part 4 ( While the Rymal Station stop trackwork dated from the 1870’s inauguration of passenger service, most likely the additional sidings were constructed in the late 1950’s as the diminutive local  industrial base expanded. This month’s installment will focus on railway operations related to Shaw Pipe Protection.
Hamilton was and is known as the ‘Steel Capitol of Canada’; both the Steel Company of Canada (Stelco) and Dominion Foundries and Steel (Dofasco) once operated major facilities on the lakefront. Today, only AcelorMittal, owner through acquisition of Dofasco, continues to produce steel. Operations at the recently renamed back to Stelco instalation are currently limited to finishing (galvanizing) and coking.
In its prime, Stelco had several affiliated area operations including Stelpipe located in nearby Welland. While the facility manufactured a variety of pipe geometries, their staple was oil & gas pipe intended for major pipeline construction projects. Underground pipe requires a protective coating, a process performed by Shaw Pipe Protection. Formed in 1958, Shaw Pipe Protection Limited would initially establish coating facilities in Hamilton and Toronto. Proximity to pipe supply together with rail access combined to make the local hamlet of Hannon an ideal location for the Shaw facility. A thriving enterprise for some thirty years, the level of activity would ebb, and flow as major pipeline construction projects were launched and completed. In 1984 Shaw secured a major supply contract related to a large-scale pipeline construction project in western Canada. Due to limited siding capacity it became necessary to switch the Shaw siding twice a day; in the morning by the daily way freight, in the afternoon by an ‘Extra’ job dispatched from the south. ‘Extra’ weekend switching was also required. Following the lifting of rails in 1993 activity at the Shaw plant began to decline significantly. A further blow was dealt in 2005 when Stelpipe was sold off as part of Stelco’s insolvency. Lack of rail access together with potentially unstable pipe supply resulted in Shaw having virtually no opportunity to participate in major pipeline construction contracts. As a result the facility was essentially doomed; overall operations would cease around 2007. Several years ago the entire infrastructure was razed and the vacant land remains a brownfield site. While no development has subsequently taken place on the former Shaw property it appears that the process of soil remediation is nearing completion. Still a global enterprise, information on what Shaw became part of, go to Additional information on the history and development of the Shaw corporation can be found within the obituary of founder Leslie Earl Shaw;
Above: CN 667407 is a 62 ft. flatcar built by National Steel Car (NSC) in 1974 as part of series CN 667275 – 667410. The payload consists of 24-inch pipe protected by a 2-Layer Polyethylene Coating known as ‘Yellow Jacket®’. Yellow Jacket® consists of a continuous sheath of high-density polyethylene cross-head extruded over a rubberized asphalt adhesive. Introduced over half a century ago the protective layer can withstand routine handling and allows for field bending in temperatures as low as -30°C. Note the adjacent CN gondola loaded with pipe to be coated.
Above: CN 668238 is an 89 ft. flatcar built by Hawker Siddeley Transportation (HST) as part of a three hundred car lot (CN 668000 – 668299) in December of 1975. Compared to the payload above, the pipe appears to have received some type of asphalt or perhaps rubber-based coating. For pipe protective coating alternatives, go to;
Above: CN 557353 is a 52’ – 8” combination door boxcar built by National Steel Car (NSC) in January of 1973 as part of series CN 557300 – 557439. Most likely this car is being used to bring in raw materials related to the coating process; blast grit media, plastic pellets (bagged), etc. Despite only being eleven years old, the car appears to have been recently repainted.
Above: CP 341485 is a 52 ft. low side gondola built by Eastern Car Company in 1954 as part of five hundred car build lot (CP 341000 – 341499). Note the converted friction bearing trucks on both this car and the coupled CP gondola. Given the mandated AAR maximum service life of forty years (cars built prior to 7/1/1974), CP 341485 would only be eligible to continue in service for another decade. Due to the proximity of Stelpipe in nearby Welland, a greater amount of pipe was delivered to Shaw by transport truck rather than flatcar or gondola. Local trucking company ‘Tallman Transport’ maintained a service contract with Stelpipe for several decades.