Re: Why bright colored reefers?

Randy Hees

Bright reefer colors date back to the 1860's and the creation of "Fast Freight Lines" which were cars which could be interchanged in a time before the Master Car Builders Association (MCB, later the AAR) had rules for interchange, including daily per diem (rent) or rules for repairs and allowable costs associated with repairs.

The earliest lines the Red line, (on the Vanderbilt owned railroads, later the NYC) the Blue Line and such were painted bright colors to identify them but also as a marketing tool. 

In fact, the MCB was created out of meetings to create the Red Line, then as it became obvious the value that the converstations had, other non-Vanderbilt railroad people were invited to attend...   The Car-Builder's Dictionary was created so the members were using a common vocabulary for parts, and so the accountants could understand what they were being billed for.

Randy Hees
Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City

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