Re: refrigerator car ice hatches


Tony Thompson
 

I don't mean to contradict the summary by Dennis Storzek, but thought readers might like a summary of PFE practice. The earliest PFE cars, from 1906 to 1920, had outside board roofs (metal sheet sandwiched inside) and no ice hatch platforms. With the introduction of outside metal roofs on Class R-30-12 in 1920, ice hatch platforms were also introduced. I was told by the retired Chief Mechanical Engineer of PFE that this was because the painted metal surface was considered slippery, nothing to do with fragility of the roof surface.
     When PFE first installed solid-steel roofs (structural steel, no more carlines or wood sheathing inside) in 1932, on Class R-70-2, ice hatch platforms were still installed. It was not until the first all-steel cars, the Class R-40-10 of 1936-37 that PFE dispensed with ice hatch platforms and that was because the use of "slate granules" sprinkled into the wet paint of the roof was considered to provide sufficiently secure footing that no platform was needed.
      All this, of course, is in the PFE book.

Tony Thompson



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