Fairmont Dairy Line

Earl Tuson

While the early 1930's saw an explosion of refrigerator cars leased to small Western dairy and poultry establishments, the Fairmont Creamery Co seems to have been a little ahead of the curve, having established a small fleet of cars under their own Fairmont Dairy Line reporting marks in the late 1920's. While I do not have definitive evidence, it appears they may have leased these cars from a variety of concerns, including ART, GACC, NACC, URTC, and possibly even QREX.

Hendrickson & Kaminski show two examples of FDL cars: 45014 is a GACC built car, virtually identical to cars the latter company ran under their GARE reporting marks and also leased to OMRX and RAOX, as well as sold to Quaker City and further leased by them (MAHX.)

The "Billboard Refrigerator Cars" book also shows 30211, a PSC product very likely coming to Fairmont via NADX by 1934. Numerous other small series appeared in their register listing at about the same time, corresponding to what appears to the high point with 215 cars.

However, the largest and perhaps earliest group of cars appear to be the 30000-30099 series, expanded during the first half of 1931 to 30109. Al Westerfield's ACF reefer article in the 7/92 Rail Model Journal identifies a portion of these as Type II and III ACF reefers, but no photos are in that article (and I'm struggling to find his Part 1 and 2 to see if he included any there.)

Way back, Varney offered a kit lettered FDL 30041 with a slightly different lettering scheme than the photos I've already mentioned. Dimensional data is the pre 1927 ARA style, and the model shows to be newly built 2-1925 (although Fairmont shows no cars in the ORER as late as 10/26!) Can anyone tell me if Varney based their model on a prototype photo of that car, as I suspect they did, and if that has ever been published or is otherwise available? Curiously, images of the end of the model offer an RW-4 reporting mark, which seems highly unlikely, but also I cannot read the ends of the cars in the Hendrickson's book. The earlier ORER listings only state "FDL"; the first indication of "FDLX" appears by 3/34 with series 30155-30184.

Fairmont did not however, stay small, growing to be a major national food processor, and eventually changing their name to reflect the diversification away from dairy.

Can anyone add further information to this "story"? Additional ORER listings between 10/26 and 3/34 may be helpful in better understanding the origins of the Fairmont cars and development of the fleet.

Earl Tuson

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