Re: Meat reefers

Douglas Harding

PHP (Packing House Products) consisted of far more than hanging meat, as Bill points out. There was canned meat, processed meat (think sausage, bacon, lunch meat, etc), meat by-products and meat scraps (ie pet food), dried blood, whole blood, hides, paunch (stomach contents), tallow, lard, other oils and grease, tankage, fertilizer, manure,  and the list goes on.


The Decker plant killed 5200 head a day, and filled about 25 reefers a day with PHP plus the boxcars and tank cars. Rath in Waterloo, set a record filling 125 cars with PHP in one day. Rath at the time was the largest slaughter operation in the world “under one roof”.


Steve Sandifer, estimated 16-20 reefers of beef quarters from a plant slaughtering 2000 head of cattle a day. He also estimated about 7 other cars each day.

Figure about 2 stockcars in for each reefer out, remembering that a large number of animals came in via truck.


My reference to 50 car trains was from a Illinois Central practice. The IC often sent two or three sections of their meat train out of Waterloo to Chicago each night. Waterloo was their collecting point for meat from Omaha, Sioux City, Mason City, Fort Dodge, and other places as well as Waterloo.


Doug  Harding




From: [] On Behalf Of William Hirt
Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2020 2:31 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers



Doug Harding can answer this question better. Morrell did daily (except Sunday) slaughter of cattle, hogs and sheep. And besides hanging sides of such, they also had packaged meats, dog food (Red Heart), hides (which were a high tariff commodity), canned meats, etc. I found a postcard that claimed Morrell could slaughter 2 million head of livestock a year in Ottumwa. So that would be almost 6,900 head a day. So how many cars that translates to someone more knowledgeable than I will need to say.

Looking at some 1959 CB&Q switchlists that Russ Strotz posted on the Railway Bull Shippers list about 10 years ago, it appears on average 7 MORX reefers were forwarded to the IHB at Congress Park each day. How many went to Chicago proper or went to Peoria for forwarding is unknown. Attached is a July 31 1959 consist of 1st LC departing Galesburg for Clyde yard. Also set outs for April 5 1959 at Congress Park. It was an active interchange.

Take a look for the Red Caboose Morrell Mather reefer.

Bill Hirt

On 4/9/2020 1:40 PM, Nelson Moyer wrote:

Thanks, Bill. I’ve been collecting meat reefers to model these trains, but I only have one Morrell reefer so far. It was built from the old Sunshine kit. It sounds like I need at least nine more for the Morrell traffic. I was hoping someone had a wheel report for one of those trains to see if they had stock cars or general merchandise to fill out a train. It’s hard to believe that Morrell could generate 50-70 cars per day during the week.


Nelson Moyer


From: [] On Behalf Of William Hirt
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2020 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Meat reefers


The May 1951 Ottumwa and Creston Division Employee Timetable shows that CB&Q Train 74 (labeled Daily except Sunday Meat) was scheduled to leave Ottumwa at 5:45 pm and arrive Galesburg at 9:45 pm. There was no equivalent scheduled train westbound. I suspect extras brought back empty reefers to Ottumwa to balance power. Whether the eastbound train carried anything but meat I do not know.

The South Omaha Daily Meat (symboled LC) left Council Bluffs Yard at 4:30 pm, arrived Ottumwa 1:45 am and departed 2:00 am, and arrived Galesburg at 5:30 am.

The March 1952 Galesburg Division Employee Timetable showed Train 70 (Daily Meat) departing Galesburg at 7:00 am arriving Peoria at 9:15 am. It's counterpart appears to be Train 91 (Daily Merchandise) which left Peoria at 11:00 am and arrived Galesburg 1:30 pm.

The September 1951 Chicago and Aurora Division Employee Timetable shows Train LC (Daily Omaha Kansas City St. Joe Meat) departing Galesburg 8:00 am, arriving Congress Park 1:00 pm (to make set out for IHB) and then arrives Clyde 1:30 pm.

The Ottumwa Meat had it's own train on this division. Train 74A (Daily Ottumwa Meat) departed Galesburg at 11:30 pm, arriving Congress Park at 3:45 am (to make set out for IHB) and then arrives Clyde at 4:15 pm.

On the Chicago and Aurora Division, there were eight scheduled eastbounds and and six scheduled westbounds. So it is hard to match trains up.

Bill Hirt


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