Meat reefers in Sioux Falls

Denny Anspach <danspach@...>

The following post from the Milwaukee List on the handling of meat reefers in Sioux Falls, SD is of considerable interest. Sioux Falls was the home of a giant Morrell packing plant, the very largest covering a very large geographic area, and like Mason City (well known on this list), also hosted a plethora of railroads (GN, IC, Milwaukee, RI, CNW). The principal shipping destination was Chicago, although from my own experience with Morrell, there might well have been "floating" shipments which although generally heading toward Chicago (and beyond), were not finally directed

One of the things related in this post is the fact that PFE carmen were stationed in Sioux Falls, far from the nearest "PFE railroad". I would guess that PFE reefers might have been used for meat shipments to the west and southwest in preference to the private Morrell cars.

Does anyone have other reasons for such a relatively large PFE presence?

R.C. Lathrop is a long time retired Milwaukee employee who routinely provides terrific information, observations and comments on the Milwaukee Road in Northern Iowa, and adjacent South Dakota and Minnesota.

From: "R.C. Lathrop" <mrclathrop@...>
Subject: Re: Sioux Falls Ice House
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 05:20:38 +0000

Mike, Friends & Fans:

When I worked downthere in 1962 and '63, the Ice House must hae been at or
near the Morrell Packing Plant. There was an elevated
platform at the plant, inside, so one could work all year around. The
plant ran 24 hours a day, then. I remember meat cars going both >inside
and out along the south side. I do not know just how it was owned. Cars
were iced there by Morrell.

All the refers arrived dirty, and had to be cleaned, befoe they could be
loaded. On arrival, the Milwukee Switch Engine took them to a yard near
the Packing Plant where the reifers were cleaned, serviced, and then
switched into the plant for loading. There carmen from the Milwawukee,
and PFE (Pacific Fruit Express) inspected, worked on, and prepared
them for service or loading.
I don't know if any other railroad's Carmen worked on there cars.

I know all the railroads there had a switch engine working , but I never
saw them go down to the plant. This was a very competive high revenue,
time sensitive business. Speed, or getting the train over the road was a
very important factor. Thus, the Great Northeren which didn't go into
Chicago was out, on this move. The Omaha's route was longer and not
upgraded. They did serve a Packing Plant at >LeVurne, MN. The Rock
Island may have got some of it, but their track was not fast enough. The
IC did make a bid and competed. >They upgrade their line from Cherokee
to Sioux Falls, for high speed, but had time troubles. They were just
not as fast. I do remember >them handling Morrell Reifers and storing
them at BenClair, SD. The Milwaukee just had the shortest delivery time.

Your right about going over IC tracks on the trip from the Milw. Yard to
the Morrell Plant. I think the Rock Island used that route as
well, because they came across the Milwaukee Main through a gate, and
connected with the same track in front of the IC Pass. Depot. 8th
street was crossed by this track.

The yard engines would take the mtys down to the yard at the plant, and
most all the inspecting work went on there. The reifers were >private
cars, leased or owned by Morrell. Mtys that were cleaned and ready were
then shoved into the plant and loades removed and switched up as per
instructions. They then would take them back to the Milwaukee Yard,
shove them to the track against the caboose >from 163, and go to other
duties. The locomotives for the train were serviced at the roundhouse,
and went on duty there.

This train was No 162, Sioux Falls to Canton, and 62 Canton to Mason
City. No 63 Mason City to Canton, and 163 CAnton to Sioux Falls, in

R. C. Lathrop, Aberdeen, SD
Denny S. Anspach, MD

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