Re: refrigerator car ice hatches


Dennis Storzek
 

On Mon, May 18, 2020 at 09:46 AM, Ray Hutchison wrote:
I imagine that the explanation has something to do with (changes) in the roof construction but have not found documentation.
The difference wasn't driven by the hatch covers, although they changed with time. It most certainly was driven by they type of roofing. The early metal roofs were thin sheet metal and were felt to not be suitable for foot traffic. This led some owners, such as Swift and Union Refrigerator Transit to adopt what were called "inside metal roofs" which had the sheet metal panels under a wood outer covering. Modelers typically call these wood roofs. The wood covering protected the sheet metal panels, and was thought to be no more slippery than wood running boards, so cars with these roofs had the hatch covers directly on the roof. Cars from owners who chose outside metal roofs, such as Burlington Refrigerator Express, also had the hatch covers directly on the roof surface, but they were surrounded by a wood platform, basically an extension of the running boards, for the icing platform workers to walk on. The later steel roofs were heavier gauge metal and able to withstand foot traffic, and the platforms were replaced by just adding granuals to the paint for a non-slip surface. Examples would be the Fruit Growers fleet after they were re-roofed with Hutchins roofs, and PFE.

The hatch covers had their own evolution, separate from but parallel to the roof construction. Originally shallow wood boxes, they were often covered with sheet metal. By the WWII era they were steel pressings with more overhang and rounded corners.

Dennis Storzek

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