Photo: SFRD 11899

Bob Chaparro

When I arrived at the airport in Pueblo, CO, last week for the Santa Fe Railway Historical & Modeling Society's annual convention I discovered this photo on a wall. The photo shows a scene from the great Pueblo flood of 1921.

The reefer in this scene is between Second and Thirds Streets on Court Street, looking down an alley. I'm guessing there were tracks down the alley. This location is two block away from the old Santa Fe mainline through Pueblo. Here is the same scene today:

SFRD 11819 was a Class Rr-T ice bunker refrigerator car from the series 11651-12150. The 500 cars were built in 1915 by AC&F. Only 204 of these cars were in revenue service in 1938 and only 3 in 1940. The car has Santa Fe No. 4 type ventilators. These were truss rod cars and were similar to the ensuing Rr-U and Rr-V classes, the final SFRD truss rod cars. These three classes had composite underframes and wood superstructure framing. Good photos of these design features are found on Page 60 of the book, Santa Fe Refrigerator Cars Ice Bunker Cars 1884-1979.

This early design may explain the relatively short lives of these cars and why they were not rebuilt into more modern cars. The flexibility of their wood superstructures led to loose joints and heat penetration.

A photo of sister car SFRD 11825 appears on Page 71 of the reefer book. The reefer in this link is from the same flood but probably is a different car:

Bob Chaparro


Railroad Citrus Industry Modeling Group


The 1921 Pueblo Flood

Fifteen hundred people lost their lives in the flood and there was twenty million dollars in damage. The Arkansas River rose over fifteen feet in some places.

Scene at Pueblo Union Station

Scene across the street from Union Station. The reefer was carried one half mile.

Book with many railroad photos:

Download the book to read it and see the photos.

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