Re: Red Swift reefers


Richard Townsend writes:
"I think Sunshine got it wrong. Every prototype photo I have seen in which the roof color is identifiable shows the roofs to be BCR. Sometimes they weathered to a dark grayish color, but still the original color was BCR as far as I can tell."

OK, first, I don't recall having watched anyone paint a real Swift reefer's roof. I don't recall, OTOH, having watched anyone paint a frt car roof. However.

"Photos in Gene Green's Refrigerator Car Color Guide and Henderson's Classic Freight Cars reefer book confirm this."

Well, not to my eye they don't. Neither photo of the Swift reefers showing 103 in Gene's every car with a BCR roof. In fact, it looks pretty clear that the wooden cars have black roofs with replacement boards painted in some variation of BCR. Certainly this is true with cars 5423 and 3577. The car on the far side of 15307 clearly shows this effect. OTOH, steel sided and roofed 15307 itself and its adjacent steel sided [ and roofed ] cars show roofs that appear to be more of a BCR color. I would suggest that Swift may have began painting roofs in BCR when the steel sided cars were built. Certainly the replacement boards on the wood roofed cars were BCR.

Regardless of the paint name or color, however, the roofs of those wood reefers appear to be black...with some replacement boards in BCR. Now, not having been to Iowa, I suppose the area around Sioux City might have been home to numerous carbon black plants and such proximity might have caused black weathering effects. I did spend several early years in Borger, Texas [ Brrrr, I'm still cold from that time ] and, yes, carbon black The weeds in that are even black. However, somehow I don't think carbon black plants were nearby Sioux City, I doubt that many Swift reefers hung out in Borger nor do I think just the wooden Swift reefers rode directly behind Big Boys or spent unusual periods of time in tunnels on the UP and SP. So, while we await someone who applied paint to the wood roofs in the 1950 time period, I'll just make sure my Swift cars with wood roofs appear black...with BCR colored replacement boards of course.

Mike Brock

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