Author Topic: Fruit Growers Express  (Read 7498 times)

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johnhale

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Fruit Growers Express
« on: May 29, 2011, 11:21:21 AM »
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Does anyone have any details on the Fruit Growers Express fleet? I am trying to find out what years they quit using the ice block refers and went with mechanical refers, and when the transition was complete?

I am modeling the 1958-59 time frame and would like to add some of these cars as through freight, but want to make sure I get the right models for the time frame.

Thanks in advance.
John
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jmlaboda

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2011, 12:24:24 PM »
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I know that the wood sheathed reefers were apparently finished off by 1953, according to a special issue of the Keystone Modeler but steel cars were used in some areas into the early-70s, judging from many, many photos that I have seen over the years.

BN1970

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 01:15:08 PM »
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FGE in 1956 had 10,611 Ice Bunker Reefers out of 13,053 cars (from RMC article April 1994).  I also know that WFEX had 3,574 Ice Reefers in 1970.  So I think your pretty safe in having FGE ice reefers in 1958/59. --Brian

jmlaboda

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2011, 01:22:20 PM »
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"I also know that WFEX had 3,574 Ice Reefers in 1970."

And that brings up an idea as well... National Car Corp, Western Fruit Express and Burlington Refrigerator Express all were affiliates.

BN1970

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2011, 02:26:23 PM »
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I just had a quick look at an October 1960 ORER for FGE. The majority (in the thousands) of the cars are classified as "RS" which are Ice Bunker cars.  As for the Burlington, in 1970 there were still 777 ice reefers on the roster. I also have a couple of photos of in service Ice Reefers at the Apple yard icing platform (Feb 1973, they are getting heaters) in Wenatchee, WA. --Brian

Sokramiketes

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2011, 02:26:44 PM »
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I know that the wood sheathed reefers were apparently finished off by 1953, according to a special issue of the Keystone Modeler but steel cars were used in some areas into the early-70s, judging from many, many photos that I have seen over the years.

Blasphemy!  1953 has to be way too early for the wood reefers to disappear.  Wood reefers ended up in BN paint!
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 02:29:48 PM by Sokramiketes »
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BN1970

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2011, 02:28:36 PM »
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Mike, your quite right BN had wood ice reefers with the BN logo.  On a side note about 50% of the BN caboose fleet was also still wood. --Brian
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 02:33:13 PM by BN1970 »

bbussey

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2011, 02:46:17 PM »
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I am modeling the 1958-59 time frame and would like to add some of these cars as through freight, but want to make sure I get the right models for the time frame.

You actually may want to have more than just a token amount of FGE reefers for through freights, as New Haven was one of the participating railroads/owners of FGE.  FGE reefers should be far more prominent on a New Haven layout than PFE reefers.  For that time period, there aren't many existing N scale models that can serve in the roll.  Ice reefers definitely would be dominant, both wood and steel, hinged doors and plug doors. 

Ironically, the only N model of an FGE prototype from that time period is the MTL riveted mechanical reefer.  MTL released a six-pack of FGE reefers decades ago (build date of 1956), but they can be had in the online auctions for a fair price.

The Atlas wood reefer, IMRC wood reefer, and IMRC steel ice reefer all have been released in FGE schemes from that time period, and they can be used as stand-ins.  The 40' FHIX plug door ice reefers have not been tooled and would have to be kitbashed.  Red Caboose once offered an FGE release on the old Precision Masters plug door reefer, but the scheme was not prototypical.  To my knowledge, MTL never has released any of its wood reefers in an FGE scheme.

Atlas offers an FGE 50' insulated boxcar model decorated in numerous FGE schemes, but the model is from a later era.
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2011, 03:04:13 PM »
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I remember seeing an old FGE wooden reefer in mid 70's passing the Alexandria, VA passenger station.  One car amoung many reefers and others in that train.  Surprisingly it was still in good shape.  Somewhere I have a photo and if I ever find it I'll post it. 

Other reefers I like are the so called meat reefers.  Always wondered why they were always shorter than other reefers.  Any info on these would be appreciatred.

FrankCampagna

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2011, 04:08:33 PM »
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Quote
Other reefers I like are the so called meat reefers.  Always wondered why they were always shorter than other reefers.  Any info on these would be appreciatred.

To fit the door spacing of the shippers/receivers. Many packing houses didn't want/couldn't afford to rebuild to accommodate newer cars (40 foot +). Same with coal hoppers. While 70 ton cars were more efficient, many dealers had trestles built for 55 tonners, and couldn't afford to strengthen them.

Frank
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jmlaboda

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 10:09:58 PM »
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"Blasphemy!  1953 has to be way too early for the wood reefers to disappear.  Wood reefers ended up in BN paint!"

My bad!  Sleep depravation... the article mentioned 1953 but I remember these as well.

Is there a model that is appropriate for these operators (either wood or steel) or is it a matter of using what you have?
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 10:11:52 PM by jmlaboda »

Bangorboy

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2011, 11:13:44 PM »
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"...

My bad!  Sleep depravation... the article mentioned 1953 but I remember these as well.

...

You "Sleep depraved"???  That's funny!  (Maybe because I'm sleep deprived...) 

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bbussey

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 07:34:52 AM »
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FGE wood side ice reefers definitely ran well into the 1970s.  I have photos of FGE cars in freight consists coupled to "non-inherited" (not formerly PRR/NYC/NH) PC boxcars.
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Dave V

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 10:09:11 AM »
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Not to hijack a thread, but since there seems to be very real knowledge here regarding reefers...  In 1956, what would you have seen on Pennsy mainline in blocks?  It's always hard to read the sides in the photos because back then everyone was shooting the power.  My guess would be iced PFE and primarily steel side...  can anyone smart confirm?
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hnipper

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Re: Fruit Growers Express
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 03:57:42 PM »
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"In 1956, what would you have seen on Pennsy mainline in blocks?"

There is a great book by John White: "The Great Yellow Fleet" published by Golden West. From that I surmise that since Pennsy helped found Fruit Grower's Express and their partner Western Fruit Express, those cars would be found on the Pennsy. The shops and headquarters for FGE were in the DC/Virginia area, and the company was also partnered with the Southern, the B&O, and the ACL. FGE and GN established the Western Fruit Express in 1923, so that gave East-West movement to their own cars. Merchant's Despatch was mainly NYC, but survived the merger to Penn-Central and into Conrail.

White says the last FGE iced car was acquired in 1957, After 1950, FGE stepped up their acquisition of bunkerless insulated cars. During that time, a Pennsy guy, John Rill was in charge. He was succeeded in 1959 by another Pennsy guy, John J. Quinn. Quinn continued building mechanical cars - 5500 in Alexandria, VA. Wood cars declined and steel cars slowly predominated, but I think you would find a mix of wood and steel in 1956. Plywood construction lengthened the use of wood considerably....

What I've not been able to learn so far about your question is how much east-west traffic on the Pennsy was PFE and how much WFE. I suspect substantial traffic with PFE cars because of the size of the PFE and its location in the produce-rich valleys of California. (Roseville was the largest icing plant.) Would WFE have hauled mostly from the Pacific Northwest? I suspect the north-south traffic on the corridor was overwhelmingly FGE.

Great topic!
Henry
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