CN 223 Road Slug

I recently posted about a slug project that I was working on this past summer. It’s just about finished with some minor work still to be done on the lighting and weight. This project was very fun to work on to say the least.

I use to see a lot road slugs and YBU’s (Yard Booster Units) at the CN Mac yard in Toronto. Making them a common sight in my area. I’d see them either paired up with a GP40-2W or a standard GP9RM switching at the Esso storage plant on Finch near my house. A very common sight across Canada as well. It seemed like a no-brainer to have one or two on my model railway.

CN 223 started as a resin kit from Maple Leaf Trains. They are a Canadian company operating out of Israel that specializes in canadian prototype kits.(  )

I wanted 223 to look as close to the prototype as possible. I came up with the road number after I saw 223 pass York University station while waiting for my train home after a long week of work in Toronto. After consulting the “bible of trains” AKA I found that it was a perfect match in terms of parts that I had available.. It had the standard Blomberg B trucks, However when I saw the prototype pass York U station it had its bering caps removed and was showing the actual roller bearings inside. I thought that was pretty odd for CN practise. However I went ahead and added that. Its my railway after all.:)

With the research done! I got to work.

Here are some of the features I added to this model:

  • Rotating bearings (that actually rotate with the modified trucks)
  • Removable non-powered Athearn blue box Blomberg B trucks
  • Sand lines on only one side of each truck (Like the photos)
  • Mu boxes, brake lines and traction motor cables from Details West
  • Bi-Directional lighting with connection pins to mother GP9rm

Here are some photos of 223’s details:

CN 223
Here you can see the rotating bearing caps. I hand drilled out Athearn blue box trucks. Drilled a hole into the face of wheel. Attached a metal pin with CA to the back of the cap and wheel face. I also had to make the hole on the truck a bit wide so that the cap doesn’t get stuck or rub onto the side of the truck causing the wheels to get stuck.

The Details:

I also used some spare parts from the Details West air tank kit that I used for my CN GP40-2 project earlier this summer. The parts included piping to the air tanks that matched the prototype.

The Paint: (Tamiya)

The paint that I used was Tamiya spray paint. To match the colours I went to the shops at the Mac Yard in Toronto and got some pics of an actual slug. It helped me with painting and matching the colours. I find that spray on model paint is more accurate with the small details rather than my airbrush. It also saves a lot time as well.

The Decals: (CN from Highball Graphics)

There are no sets made specially for CN slugs. So I tore apart an old set I had laying around from CN 9314 and 9312. The yellow stripe on the side worked well and I even cut small strips to fit in the step wells.

Here’s a full view of the decals shortly after the unit was finished:

CN 223 Col..
Here is 223 shortly after completion. Not 100% satisfied with the red paint but it’ll do. The spray spray paint helped me capture the “fresh out of the shop” metal shine. The model is meant to represent 223 in 1992 so at the time it would be only 7 years old. BLT. 1986 ex GP9

After all the decals where applied and some minor touch up work on the frame was done. I started to apply the railings. It was a first for me and a very hard task to say the least. Every post had to be bent over the brass wire with tweezers one at a time. It took me 4 nights to do the whole thing.

With everything aesthetically done. I started to focus on the guts. Lighting and weight. the frame and trucks are removable so I started to wire the lights, plugs and dcc chip for directional control.

At this stage all thats left to do is mill out some weight from an old P2k Geep 38 that I had the top part of the frame fits perfectly inside with a well for the cables and chip. the only thing to do is to mill it so it fits inside.

Here’s a look at 223’s underbody detail. Including sand lines, speed recorder bell (unpainted) and all of the brake rigging I made.
Last but not least. Here is the real CN 223 in Sarnia ONT. Note the new parts added to the trucks. This was prior to its repaint in 2012. the slug itself was built at CN PSC Shops (Montreal) back in 1986. The brake wheel was painted red and the railings where all black at the time it was put into service at the CN Mac Yard in Toronto.

ON The Layout:

On my layout it will work with a sister GP9RM in the CP/CN/ONR transfer yard just East of North Bay. (None where ever assigned to North Bay) The yard so far has CN 4411 (GP9) assigned to road switching and yard movements. It will be accompanied by a sister unit (Also GP9 high nose).

The yard power that I will eventually have in North Bay will be:

  • CN 4411  GP9
  • CN 4572  GP9
  • CN 7029 GP9RM 1992+
  • CN 223  Road Slug
  • CN  242 (Flexi Coil) Road slug

Some of 223’s sister units will be built and put for sale this winter. I have a Flexicoil version and a HBU in the works as well.

Hope you enjoyed my article for this week. If you have any questions or comments feel free ask!