Re: Atlas Swift 4-hinge reefer

Douglas Harding

Eric, according to the caption in the Billboard Refrigerator Cars book p. 180, the car was built by General American at their E Chicago shop. But the caption also contains errors giving the wrong built date and the wrong car number, when the information is clearly visible on the car. Those errors could give one pause to question the rest of the caption. I can see no markings on the hi-rez scan I have that indicates the car was built by General American. The car was built in 1928 and repainted in 1935, which could have obliterated any builder markings.


I got the photo scan from the Fairmont Railway Motor collection.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Eric Hansmann
Sent: Monday, January 4, 2021 10:45 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Atlas Swift 4-hinge reefer




Is Cudahy 5557 a Mather car? It’s marked for return to E. Chicago where Mather had their plant. The car ends are a different design from later Mather cars.



Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN



From: <> On Behalf Of Douglas Harding
Sent: Monday, January 4, 2021 8:24 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Atlas Swift 4-hinge reefer


Phil, they are what we commonly call 36’ wood reefers. Attached is the photo of the Cudahy reefer #5557 that closely matches the Atlas model. And at the photo of Swift 9863. 5557 was built in 1928 and Atlas says they used a car built in 1925, so there may have been differences. An ORER would list the dimensions you are asking about. I’m with family right now and don’t have access to my library right now. But general dimensions would be close.


Let me reiterate that Swift had a wide variety in their reefer fleet, which changed consistently as reefers went off lease and were replace with other reefers. Some new and some coming off other leases. Steve Hile and others are working on compiling information about the Swift reefer fleet, but the task has been daunting due to a lack of concrete information. Most of what is known is from photos.


If you want an accurate Swift reefer model, the Sunshine models are the best I know about. Everything else will be a compromise. For my modeling purposes I have a fleet of the Atlas cars painted and lettered for the Decker meat packing plant on my layout, along with a fleet of the MDC 36’ wood reefer and the newer Rapido meat reefer. Each is a different car with differences in dimensions and details. I’m willing to accept the compromise to have some slight variety in my overall meat reefer fleet.


Doug Harding


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