Re: Plywood reefers

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

I noted that BRE reverted to tongue & groove for its next group of cars in 1944, and that plywood sided cars of all three companies requiring attention were re-sheathed with tongue & groove in the 1950's. Given the perceived advantages of the plywood in terms of cost, weight, ease of fabrication, etc. I am wondering why plywood wasn't retained for wood-sided cars. Longevity, or ease of repair?
As Ben Hom has already answered, the problem was in adequate sealing of the edges of the plywood sheets. Soo Line had the same problem with box cars having single sheathing of plywood. Rubber and metal seal strips were not good enough. The plywood curled and cracked, and was judged (by PFE anyway) to be inadequately weather resistant if any of the protection system (joint sealing strips, and paint generally) failed. PFE concluded it was not worth repairing them in kind, thus returned to T&G. As the Fruit Growers and PFE engineering people enjoyed a close and cooperative relationship, I'm sure the mutual experiences of each contributed to similar decisions.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail,
Publishers of books on railroad history

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