Re: Wine car ops

Richard Hendrickson

On Sep 21, 2005, at 4:50 PM, PBowers wrote:

While the wine car might be an interesting conversation piece, I would
expect it was operated over few routes. Unless your modelled railway has a
winery or bottling facility, or is on the route in between is it a logical
car to have? For interst sake, how many routes would these cars be found on?
It's true that glass-lined wine tank cars were not numerous. However, there were single, three, and four compartment wine tank cars as well as six compartment cars, and the total of all types added up to hundreds of cars. General American, Shippers Car Line, and North American all owned them and leased them to a variety of wine shippers. In addition to a sizable number of California vintners, lessees of wine tank cars included, for example, Ambrose of Kansas City; Pirrone & Sons of Garfield, NJ; and K. Arekelian of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, who shipped wine east in bulk for local bottling. Taylor and other upstate New York wine producers had California wines shipped east (in unmarked cars) to be blended with the local product because the growing season was too short there to bring up the sugar to desirable levels, and I've been told (though I've seen no direct evidence) that the same practice was followed by wineries in Virginia and other eastern states as well.

Wine tank cars would certainly not have been seen on branch lines in places like Kansas or Georgia. But there is abundant photographic evidence of them in the trains of the major transcontinental carriers that served California such as the Santa Fe, Union Pacific/C&NW, and Southern Pacific/Rock Island/T&NO/SSW, sometimes several of them at one time, en route to widely scattered destinations. Indeed, in some parts of California wine tank cars, like helium tank cars, were more commonly seen than coal hoppers, and much more commonly than milk reefers (which were, in fact, non-existent in the far west), difficult as that may be for easterners to imagine. If we can get injection-molded styrene "conversation pieces" like Pfaudler milk reefers, which are entirely useless to modelers of southern, southwestern, and western RRs, why not six compartment wine tank cars?

Richard Hendrickson

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