This appears to be same photo reproduced in John
Henderson's CLASSIC FREIGHT CARS v. 3 on the inside front
cover and continued to the right onto page  (probably
a second photo shot as a panorama since some of the cars
are repeated). According to the information there, the
photos were taken by George Berkstresser at Sioux City,
Iowa, in the fall of 1954.
It does appear that many of the wooden cars have weathered
black roofs, but I'm not prepared to say if that is paint,
or just dirty weathered wood. Curiously, in these photos
there is one wooden car in the old yellow scheme. Although
the roof is equally weathered, the roof fascia is clearly
a red oxide color. Another Berkstresser photo is on the
inside back cover, which shows one of these surviving
yellow cars. It also clearly has a freight car red fascia
board, though because it is shot from a low level, the
roof itself can't be seen (nor on the adjacent red cars).
Oh where is
Richard Hendrickson when we need him?
Fortunately he still lives within my
On Jan 22, 2014,
Pierre Oliver asking about Swift’s 40’ steel
reefer: Can someone tell what color the roof
should be on this horizontal seamed steel
reefer? Black or red?
responded: Mineral red, Pierre (not the same
red as the sides and ends). I have photo
documentation I’ll send you off-list.
That answers the
question about the 40’ horizontal seamed steel
reefers. May not answer the question about
Swift’s 36’ wood reefers. I agree with Mike
(who wouldn’t after all, he has the keys to
moderator jail) photo’s in Gene’s book do
appear to show black roofs on some Swift
reefers. While that could be soot from steam
engines, it could also be faded black paint as
it looks uniform across the entire roof,
except where boards have been replaced. Is it
possible that Swift painted some reefers with
black roofs, then switched to the mineral red
with later reefers? Pierre what documentation
did Richard send you?
Fortunately I do not
have any Swift reefers waiting on the work
bench for the definitive answer, but I am of