Re: More reefers



In the later part of this string, Doug Harding ponders on post 155409, “For each reefer of beef do I also need a reefer hauling potatoes? Another hauling fresh vegetables, and yet another hauling fruit.” 

    I found this 1928 Railway Age on-line via Google digitized books and on page 153, which is the July 28, 1928 section, an article titled Fruits and Vegetables Shipped Long Distances.

    OK, it’s a 1928 article and changes will take place from then until the 1956/1957 AAR reports I gave numbers from earlier. Shipments from the West Coast to Chicago and onto the Eastern seaboard will be speeded up by days.

However I would think that eating habits would stay the same.

The following is transcribed directly from the article

     Some extracts from the bulletin are as follows: From a rail shipping standpoint, white potatoes stand first, apples second, grapes third, oranges forth, followed by lettuce, watermelons, peaches, cabbage, cantaloupes and onions.

     But from the standpoint of unloads in the 66 markets, the order is somewhat different. White potatoes take the lead, nearly one-fourth of the unloads in these markets being of this product. Next in line is grapes followed by oranges, apples, lettuce, cantaloupes, watermelons, onions, cabbage and tomatoes. These ten commodities represent over 80 percent of the combined unloads.


Here is the link:


A very interesting chart is part of the article. Looking at the column of Citrus Fruits/Lemons stands one state alone in 1928, California. Whatever bar in whatever state in 1928, if the cocktail called for a lemon twist, that twist came from California. Other than prohibition was on.

Some carload numbers are given in the article.  All in all, an interesting read.

Some numbers from the AAR reports I found concerning potatoes:

First week of January 1956; 4000 carloads of potatoes are shipped.

January 20, 1956 - Potato shipments are strong.

February 20, 1956 - Potato shipments maintain a strong presence.

March 20, 1956 - Potato shipments steady. (Carload numbers?  Almost there.)

April 20, 1956 -   Late potato shipments in north central, PNW, states slowing, still strong from

     Maine and Idaho. Maine - 32,664 carloads for season and 40,139 from Idaho. Up to April 7th,

     175,856 carloads nationally.  Loading in Calif. will increase third week April when Kern and 

     Tulare County potatoes start shipping.


June 20, 1956 - Market demand for potatoes became strong during movements of the old potato 

      crops from Maine and Idaho, and continues strong for new potatoes loading from 

      California and Arizona.

 July 21, 1956 - Kern County, CA potato loading is drawing to a close. Phoenix, AZ potato loading

      district is quite heavy.         

 August 21, 1956 - Local home-grown produce is reducing the need for shipping from distant areas.

       Middle- West, Allegheny, and North Atlantic states have excellent growing conditions and

       local supplies are plentiful. (And so a good reason not to model this month I offer unless you

       like parked reefers.)

 September 20, 1956 - Summer potatoes are moving in some areas.

 October 25, 1956 Idaho loading of potatoes, apples, and onions are greater than 1200 carloads per

      week and increasing. Red River Valley potatoes (MN/ND) are at 1000 carloads a week and will

      be steady at that rate for some time. Most of Maine potatoes are being stored, there is some 

      movement in Sept., however that takes off in December lasting to April.

November 21, 1956 - Some Maine potatoes have been moving during Sept, Oct, and Nov, with   

     2,425 carloads moved by early November.

December 20, 1956 - Potato loading is now greater than 1500 carloads a week in Maine, has   

     peaked at 1200 carloads per week each in Idaho and the Red River Valley.

    (Or disregarding the originating states of Maine, Idaho, ND, MN, just short of 90 cars of spuds

     in each of the remaining 44 contiguous states, each week.) 


     OK, something to be aware of if you waybill model reefers – as mentioned in earlier posts by me, potatoes can also be classified as early, summer, and late potatoes. Late potatoes are the ones that store best. Maine, Red River Valley, and Idaho potatoes are all late season spuds, and are most likely to have been stored, then shipped by rail in this lists time frame.

     To circle back, Doug Harding pondered, “For each reefer of beef do I also need a reefer hauling potatoes? Another hauling fresh vegetables, and yet another hauling fruit.”

      As a start, I offer that comment cannot be dismissed when way billing cars.

      Or deciding a representative fleet of cars.

      By the way, these same AAR reports list Included in the reports were 53,786 carloads of Bananas originating at US ports in the 1st half of the 1956 year.   


                                                           Numbers to ponder -     Jim Dick        Roseville, MN


Join to automatically receive all group messages.