Re: Pacific Fruit Express Aluminum Refrigerator Car PFE 45698
Built after the 1945 built R-40-20 class, the postwar built aluminum cars were classified as R-40-14 rebuilds and assumed numbers from that class. They reportedly used mostly all new components, but could possibly have used the centersills and other underframe parts from the cars originally using those numbers.
Although ends were the 3-3 improved Dreadnaught design shared with the 1947 built R-40-23 cars, both cars used all aluminum superstructures with all or part of the higher material cost over steel cars subsidized by the respective aluminum companies.
1947 built Alcoa Aluminum car 44739 had distinctive long side sills running nearly to the bolster tabs, but side sheet rivet pattern appears to be similar to the various classes of 40’ steel ice cars. 1946 built Reynolds Aluminum car 45698 did not have these side sills, but did have a distinctive side sheet rivet pattern. These were the first two cars to be lettered in the postwar dual herald scheme.
Aluminum components appear to have been polished and anodized, steel components were painted black. Galvanic corrosion between the aluminum and steel components was reported as a problem (reportedly less of a problem on the Alcoa car), but both cars had service lives of nearly 20 years indicating durability was not an issue.