Re: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers

Douglas Harding

Eldon the major meat packers: Swift, Armour, Wilson, Cudahy all had branch houses scattered across the country. The Branch Houses would receive carcasses, ie swinging meat, from the slaughter houses, then “process” the carcass into various meat cuts. These cuts then went to grocery concerns, meat markets, restaurants, institutions ie hospitals, prisons, etc. where they might be further cut down into steaks, chops, roasts, ground meat, etc. Some slaughter operations were full processing plants, where cold cuts, sausage, etc was made. But branch houses could also have this responsibility.


Note a branch house would only receive reefers from their respective slaughter house. However a grocery warehouse or cold storage facility would have reefers from all the meat packers.


From: [] On Behalf Of Gatwood, Elden J SAD
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers




It was amazing to me when doing research on my area how many community meat wholesale operations there were, literally all over the place.  In my area, mostly Armour and Swift, but also others.  They were where the reefers arrived with sides of beef, etc., and where they processed the large pieces into smaller cuts for trucking to local butchers.  Look into this, and you may be astonished at what you find.  I was!


Elden Gatwood


From: <> On Behalf Of Richard Townsend via
Sent: Tuesday, April 7, 2020 9:30 PM
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers


Not necessarily lost or misdirected. Swift, for example, had hundreds of routes that it sent individual meat reefers up, as often as daily. They would go to a central distribution warehouse for larger towns, and might make stops at individual depots or team tracks for smaller towns, where grocers or butchers would pick up their orders. One car might serve an entire branch that way. 


So, see? You now have dispensation to run meat reefers regularly on your Kansas branch line, prototypically.

Richard Townsend

Lincoln City, OR


-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Keene via <bill41@...>
To: <>
Sent: Tue, Apr 7, 2020 2:56 pm
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers

The gift shop of the Kansas City Railroad Museum was housed in a Wilson meat reefer. It was my weekend “home” for several years. This part of my life has given me a fondness for meat reefers. 


Unfortunately, I model a little known Santa Fe branch line that once operated in east central Kansas. Meat reefers on this 50 miles of track would have been a rare event. Most likely if one were to arrive on the line it most surely was a very lost or somehow mis-directed car. 



Bill Keene

Irvine, CA




On Apr 7, 2020, at 2:40 PM, Brian Carlson via <prrk41361@...> wrote:


That’s the beauty of modeling part of the Erie Main through Pennsylvania. I can get most of them <grin>. 

Brian J. Carlson 


On Apr 7, 2020, at 5:13 PM, Ted Schnepf <railsunl@...> wrote:


Always nice to see fine reefer models.

In the early 1950's before the meat packers expanded, by consolidating facilities. the only place to see some of these reefers together on one train was east of Chicago. NKP did have the line east out of Chicago. Dubuqe, Oscar Meyer, and Hormel. were one plant companies. Hygrade in the early 1950's had only one or two plants. Swift, Armour, and Wilson had multiple locations.

My point is that not all meat reefers would be regularly seen, on the same train, except east of Chicago. When picking reefers to model, be aware of the plant locations and likely routing over your railroad.

Ted Schnepf

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 06:54:16 AM CDT, Eric Hansmann <eric@...> wrote:



Frank Hodina shares photos and details on a few meat reefers in the latest Resin Car Works blog post. 



Eric Hansmann
RCW web guy

Be safe. Stay healthy. Build models!


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