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Sask. grain cars land modeling deal

The Saskatchewan government’s made-over fleet of hopper rail cars may soon appear in model train displays across North America after the province signed a deal with a B.C. model train company.

A subsidiary of Surrey, B.C.-based Pacific Western Rail Systems has bought exclusive rights to make and sell models of the repainted and refurbished cars, the province said today in a release. The province, which owns and operates the hopper cars through the Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation, completed the makeover this summer for about 100 cars in the SGGC fleet.

Farmers who use SGGC cars to move grain to Canadian West Coast ports do not pay any car lease fees for their use, thus saving an estimated $4.50 per tonne. It was recommended that the cars, all about 26 years old, be repainted to prevent corrosion and make it to the end of their expected 50-year lifespan.

The new bright green paint jobs include the province’s “Saskatchewan!” wordmark running the full length of the car, with a prairie lily emblem.

With this deal, the SGCC gets royalties for each replica car manufactured and sold with the new Saskatchewan design. Buckley Belanger, the minister for SGCC, said the move was an innovative way to increase SGCC’s profitability and expected the model cars would become a significant promotional item for the province.

PWRS’ recent lines of rail replicas include CN and Government of Canada hopper cars (including one model with painted-on graffiti) and CPR boxcars, as well as locomotives from CPR and several U.S. rail lines.

The new Saskatchewan grain cars are expected to be available through PWRS subsidiary North American Railcar Corp. early next year.

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