Re: Meat reefers

Douglas Harding

Nelson, I can’t say for sure about CBQ meat trains, but most roads kept hot trains like meat trains to 50 cars or less. This allowed them to move at high speed without double heading. And yes cars coming out of a meat packing plant would be in solid blocks going to the same destination. The block was not broken until it arrived at Chicago or similar location where cars were passed onto connecting roads. One these eastern connecting roads you would see reefers from different packers mixed into blocks based upon destination.



Doug  Harding




From: [] On Behalf Of Nelson Moyer
Sent: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 5:36 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers


How many cars per train on average, and were trains dispatched both the East and West on different days? Were they solid blocks of Morrell cars? Where they strictly meat trains or did they include other freight or livestock? I knew about the Morrell plant in Ottumwa, and I’d like to model the Morrell train through Burlington on the way to Galesburg and points East.


Nelson Moyer


From: [] On Behalf Of William Hirt
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:19 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers


The Morrell meat traffic was important enough to the CB&Q that for a number of years the president of Morrell was on the CB&Q Board of Directors. The Q originated a train at Ottumwa IA each weekday afternoon just for the Morrell traffic. As Doug knows, Morrell slaughtered cattle, hogs and sheep in Ottumwa.

Bill Hirt

On 4/8/2020 10:30 AM, Douglas Harding wrote:

The Nickle Plate handled a lot of meat because it was a fast route. Meat was time sensitive and the meat packers wanted their products delivered as quickly as possible. Out of Omaha, meat packers could choose between six different railroads to get to Omaha. All roads were given meat traffic, with each road having a specific day when they go the majority of traffic. As rates were regulated, this was how the packers kept the railroads on their toes with demands for speed. The Illinois Central was the preferred route as the IC moved the meat faster than others. The CBQ had the option of going to Peoria for eastern connections instead of Chicago. East out of Chicago, the NKP was the preferred routing for meat going to NYC or New England.


I am not as well versed in meat traffic east of Chicago. Attached is a spreadsheet prepared by John Greedy and Jim Singer, which shows the meat traffic east of Chicago on various roads in the 50s.


Doug  Harding



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