Re: C.D.L.X. Historical Info.

Richard Hendrickson

On Mar 8, 2009, at 8:54 AM, Dan Gledhill wrote:
Have been trying to learn more of the Calif.Dispatch Co.and
was wondering if any books or historical publications were ever
written on the subject.
I understand that the Company was absorbed into the GATC in or
around 1954 ,but when did they originate and did they handle
freight cars other than tank cars.

I'm not aware of any, though some research in the standard business
publications like Standard & Poor's might yield some information. A
quick check of my ORERs indicates that CDL didn't exist in
December, 1911 but was well established by April, 1919, with a fleet
of 170 cars. The number of cars had declined by 1926 to 119 cars,
but - interestingly - some of them were six compartment insulated
cars with wood tanks, presumably for wine service, even though the
Volstead act was in full force at the time. Those cars were second-
hand Pacific Fruit Express refrigerator cars with the bunkers
removed, tanks added and hatch covers over the tanks. I have photos
of two of them, CDLX 279 and CDLX 307, taken after they were retired
but still had billboard advertising on the sides for Italian Swiss
Colony and Bear Creek Vinyards Assn., respectively. By January of
1931 the fleet had grown to 300 cars. By July, 1935 total number of
cars was no longer being reported but the fleet did not appear to
have changed much and the converted reefers were still listed, as
they were also in October, 1938. By October of 1941 the fleet had
continued to grow, with new cars being added, and at least some of
the converted reefers were still shown (though after 1938 they could
not have been used in interchange service with billboard advertising
for wineries on them). By July, 1943, the fleet total was being
reported again and numbered 372 cars, with at least some of the
reefers still listed. The 1-45 ORER shows 351 cars and the converted
reefers were gone. By 1-53 the number of cars had grown again to
427, some of which were new postwar insulated high pressure cars for
liquified petroleum gas and anhydrous ammonia service. By 1-55 their
cars still had CDLX reporting marks but were listed under General
American, so 1954 would be about right for their acquisition by
GATC. Aside from the reefers converted into wine tank cars, CDL
apparently never operated anything but tank cars, though their tank
cars varied widely in type and in the commodities that were carried
in them.

BTW, if you pursue your idea of having decal sets made for CDLX car,
keep me posted. I have twenty or so photos of CDLX cars which could
be used as reference data.

Richard Hendrickson

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