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September 30, 2012

The Flanger arrives!!

The Niagara Railway Museum Inc. is pleased to announce the arrival of their donated ex-CNR snow flanger. Built in December 1923 for the Grand Trunk Railway as wood boxcar #26471,it later became a CN boxcar #346671.? In 1936 it was rebuilt into a flanger by CN as #56452 before being retired in 1980.? The car was acquired by the City of Welland Chamber of Commerce and placed near the old Niagara St. Catharine’s & Toronto Railway line, and became a tourist information booth at the corner of East Main St and Prince Charles Dr.

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The flanger in Welland in 1984 when it was open, and after the fire in 2000.

(both photos collection of Paul Duncan)

By the year 2000, the info booth was no longer open, and in 2000 it was destroyed by fire.? The car was pretty much a total loss.? With the significant damage, the car was destined for scrapping when the owner of Trillium Railway in Port Colborne stepped in and acquired the car.? The body was stripped and the remaining frame moved to storage in Welland.? Initial plans were to use the car for a shoving platform for back up moves in Thorold. However, a more suitable caboose was found and the flanger was left in the weeds.

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The flanger in Dain City on Nov. 23, 2007, and moved into loading position on Sept. 29th, 2012. (photo credit ? Ken Jones, Aaron White)

In 2011, the Niagara Railway Museum Inc. was approached and asked if we would be interested in having the car for our museum.? Seeing as how this piece had spent so much of it?s life in Niagara, the NRM felt it would be a suitable item, despite the deteriorated condition.? After almost a year of work to find someone who could move the car, the time finally came, and on September 29th, 2012, the flanger was loaded onto a float and made it?s final trip to the NRM shop at Fort Erie.

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Being loaded at Dain City, almost finished, and arriving at the Museum shop in Fort Erie.

(photo credit ? Aaron White, Ken Jones)

It was a quick trip from Dain City to the Museum site in Fort Erie, and everything went as planned.? The loading was perfect, as was the move and the unloading at the site.? The truck was positioned at the north track of the shop, the former heavy repair bay, where locomotives would receive major overhauls.? The rear of the deck was lowered, and the car rolled smoothly off the trailer, and onto the rails of it?s new home.? All in all, it was over in just a couple of hours.? Once the car was safely inside, members started looking over the car, seeing what needed to be worked on first.


The first axle touches the rails at the NRM shop. The car in its new home, ready for repairs.

(photos by Ken Jones)

A big thanks to all the NRM members who came out to help with the loading and unloading of our new piece of rolling stock, Attar Metals for assisting with some of the prep work, and to Marcel for his expertise in this move.? Next step is the repairs of the car, and the movement of our 3 ex-CP Rail boxcars.? Stay tuned here for more information.

If you would like to contribute to the restoration of this unique and fading piece of railway history, please contact us.