Re: Unusual WFE Car

Bill Welch

Fruit Growers Express' Indiana Harbor shops built 100 steel sheathed 50-foot overhead bunker cars and fifty copies for Western Fruit in 1950, their first and only such examples of the type. They were equipped with 6-ft "sliding flush doors," the correct term for the period. Their reporting marks were FOBX and WOBX respectively. FGE owned 200 plywood "OB's" also built from 1944 through 1946. Their first 10 cars were built in 1940 and were steel sheathed, two horizontal riveted panels on each side of the hinged doors. Their primary purpose was to ship frozen commodities using a brine solution.

The FGE/WFE/BRE System issued special instructions for icing these cars as to the tools used to service the ten ice bunkers--no sharp points. It took several minutes to ice and re-ice them. The cars served as an interim solution to the demand for frozen commodities while FGE/WFE/BRE System experimented with various mechanical systems, and by 1951 committed to the mechanical system developed by the Frigidaire Division of GM to equip their mechanical cars. By 1957 the System operated over 1200 Mechs yet their OB's continued to be loaded with frozen commodities.

The Plywood OBs are not likely to be confused with any other car and are certainly a good candidate for 3D Printing development.

Bill Welch

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