Re: RI Woodside Refrigerator Cars

Justin Kahn

As I recall, Bill McClung was considering issuing the O scale kits in RI lettering, as the prototypes were quite close, and an obvious concern is to find acceptable alternatives to utilize existing (and expensive) tooling. So far as I know, nothing came of the idea, which is too bad, as I would have bought a couple.
Ed is right about the CBC content (and TSC reprint), which I believe was the starting point for a scratch-built car article in MRR back in the 1950's (by Al Kamm, if memory serves). If Bill never does produce an O scale version, that is a ways down my list of projects.

Jace Kahn, General Manager
Ceres and Canisteo RR Co.

I seems like these cars were discussed, at some point in the distant past. Someone with better searching techniques in the STMFC archives will probably point out where.

These cars were the subject of an old wood "craftsman" kit first from Prototype Modeler and then from Taurus. The decals came, I believe, from Microscale. Perhaps they can still reproduce the set as a Mini-Cal. There will also a similar set from Walthers in the dark ages, not as "correct" as the ones from the kit.

Today, the Red Caboose R-30-12 kit could make a decent starting point for a kitbash.

As best as we can tell, the cars had yellow sides and brown ends. I don't have the Mainline Modeler issue, so I can't be sure exactly what information is there.

As I recall the story, the RI sold their refrigerator fleet back(both freight and express) to General American during the depression. The cars kept their RI numbers, but change reporting marks to GARX. I have a Hopkins photo of one in Washington DC in the 40's.

A few of these wanderers actually came home to the RI in the 50's, being purchased for ice service. If you want some more details on this, contact me off list, and I will look up the details.
Steve Hile
My recollection is that drawings and builders photos of the Rock
Island reefers offered by Prototype Modeler appeared in the 1931 CBC
and Trainshed reprints.

The drawings are so close to the PFE cars that I wouldn't be surprised
if the kit wasn't the same.

Ed Mines
Rob, last year I sent a couple of photos to Bill McClung and suggested
that he do the 1930s/'40s Rock Island lettering on the Red Caboose
model, but he didn't "bite." maybe if you nudged him about it, he'd do
a factory painted and lettered run of RI cars, especially if other list
subscribers indicated an interest in buying one or two.

Richard Hendrickson
I've always wanted to letter a steel PFE car for Rock Island,
which could be passed off as a "test car" to annoy those who know the
history: the RI tried to interest PFE in letting them "into the tent"
in the 1950s (the story is in the PFE book, page 26). The letters of
objection from UP, preserved in the UP President's Office
correspondence microfilms at the UP Museum, were blistering.
One of the RI letters even expressed a willingness to purchase
up to 1000 new steel reefers (where they would have gotten the money
isn't clear, but PFE would doubtless have made them a deal like they
had with WP, in which they made money while passing on part of the
revenue). Amongst all the correspondence is an internal PFE memo saying
that PFE could set aside the 58,000 series car numbers for the RI cars
if needed. As we all know, of course, no deal ensued. But most visitors
to my layout, seeing a steel PFE reefer with 58,000 series number and
RI emblem, would probably fall for it.
My friend Ken Harrison likes to say to such people, "Did you
know that 'gullible' isn't in the dictionary?" Others might well say,
"caveat emptor."

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
Bill, are you listening? BTW, the RITS guys would lap this up, too.
Brian Ehni
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