Re: "TW" reefer designation

Richard Hendrickson

Garth Groff wrote:

....AFIK, there are
few, if any, California wineries shipping in bulk to the east coast now
(watch someone prove me wrong!). Most ship finished wine in bottles.
IIRC, Roma was one of the last of the bulk shippers. I vaguely remember
seeing a Roma car in Manteca or Fresno while traveling to my parents
house from college around 1970 or so.
That's essentially correct. There is photographic evidence of the Roma
cars lasting into the 1960s with billboard lettering. And I photographed
several wine tank cars in the Central Valley ca. 1970, though they were all
SHPX/ACFX and GATX cars without fancy lettering. (One freshly painted ACFX
six compartment car was painted purplish maroon, however, which was
definitely eye-catching.) Small quantities of Calif. wine are still
shipped in bulk to some east coast wineries, notably in upstate New York
where (despite all the promotional hype for Finger Lakes wines) the summer
is too short to bring up the sugar in the grapes so their wines are blended
with California wines to make them palatable.

As we have discussed here before, the notion that all billboard reefers
disappeared circa 1939 is in error. Car under lease to one company, and
carrying only their products, could still be so lettered. The lettering
ban applied mostly to free-floating or short-term lease cars which might
carry loads for shippers other than the one advertised on the side,
especially loads for competitors. I do not know about the cars in
question, but photo evidence shows that certain wine cars did retain
their colorful schemes up into the 1960s.
Even later than that, the Chateau Martin winery operated a small fleet
under their own reporting marks of ex-milk tank cars in express reefer
bodies that had wine colored sides and billboard lettering.

Perhaps its worth noting that quality wines were never shipped in bulk, at
least not over long distances. It was the cheap stuff that traveled in
tank cars.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520

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