Re: 36' Reefers

Tony Thompson

Ted Larson wrote:
Long ago and far away I read that in days of yore, 36' boxcars were
standard, and so were reefers. Packing companies built their doors to
36'. When longer cars came to be normal, new reefers were built to 36'
to accomodate the spacing on the olde packing houses.
Not a bad story, Ted, except in the heyday of the 36-foot box car, many reefers were still 34 feet long. So why weren't the packing houses set up with 34-ft. doors? or if they could adapt to 36 feet why not 40?
A PFE employee I talked to, said that the 36-foot meat cars were preferred since they kept the cargo a little colder. Even with heavy salt additions to lower the equilibrium temperature of ice and water, keeping the meat cool enough was a challenge. Moreover, the inside length of the cars wasn't as different as the outside length (36 vs. 40); meat ice bunkers were a little narrower.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
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