Re: Bananas via Fruit Growers Express

Cyril Durrenberger

Do you know the years that are covered by these files?

Cyril Durrenberger

On Thu, 1/22/15, george eichelberger geichelberger@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Subject: [STMFC] Re: Bananas via Fruit Growers Express
To: STMFC@...
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015, 9:03 AM

Yes, Charleston, SC was an important
banana importing point, particularly for loads going to the
midwest on the Southern through Asheville, Knoxville and
Cincinnati. The SRHA files at Kennesaw contain individual
files for many banana boat arrivals. The facility was
operated by the SR with only a small portion of the loads
going to the SAL and ACL. Outbound loads in express cars on
passenger trains was not common. Messages asking to send
empty refrigerator cars to Charleston to be loaded proceeded
every boat’s arrival. The boat files almost always include
the reporting mark and number of every outbound car,
if/where it was interchanged and its billed destination.
Many cars destined to the midwest were diverted en route at
Knoxville or Cincinnati so we do not know their actual end
points. Single cars would be billed to grocery distributors
in places like Asheville or Greensboro, NC.

Accumulating the cars to load appears to have been a mad
dash to collect any empty refrigerator cars, from any owner,
no matter if they were normally used for meat, fruit or
vegetable service. Empty cars to Charleston received the
highest priority with extra trains for them not unusual. Out
bound consists have a much higher proportion of non-Fruit
Growers cars than the peach or Fla citrus trains also
operated by the Southern. (Was this because the pier and
Charleston banana traffic was managed by the railroad?) A
typical outbound banana train was operated as an extra
movement, behind a 2-8-2, with 50-55 cars.

The files always include the names of the arriving ships.
Obviously, the same ships reappear at Charleston but until
someone does the research, we cannot say if there was a
pattern to their movements. Most (all?) were owned by the
United Fruit Co.




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