Shipments of food to a small town wholesale grocer.

George Courtney

  The population of Appalachia, Virginia in 2000 was 1839.  I would guess in 1950 it wouldn't have been more than twice that or around 3,600.  In his book on the Interstate Railroad which served the coal mines around Appalachia, historian Ed Wolfe quoted his dad who worked for the Interstate about servicing the Virginia Wholesale Grocer.

(Appalachian Coal Hauler- page 81) .

   "We would take 3-4 cars cars out there every night.  Now, this was when Virginia Wholesale was in Appalachia. (prior to 1960.)  We"d take them out there but we couldn"t place "em all.  We'd pull 'em back just below the building and leave them.  Then, the next day they'd call and say that they had two empties.  There's be one on the rear and one the middle.  Have to couple up to all of 'em, come out to the main line, switch the empties out and put the loads back.,,,,,

     "Oh it was a mess! We'd just have to switch them out.  Had to spot them at each door.  If we didn't spot them right, we'd hear from em."

    This suggest to me that a small mining town in the east received at least two to four cars a day at their wholesale grocer.  Now not all was food of course, but much was.  I'm guessing for a town of 3,800 around 600 to a thousand cars a year in the 1950's at the wholesale grocer.  Of course one difference between Appalachia and Park City, might have been that there were many small communties of several hundred people nearby in addition to Appalachia itself.  I did see a photo of a FGE car in the yard in the early 1960's.  I couldn't tell from the photo if it was a reefer or a RBL.

George Courtney 

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