Re: New To Group - Question About Transporting Fish Via Ice Reefers


  Thanks for the prompt and detailed reply.  Unfortunately, the portion of my railroad from Redding to Eureka consists of leaving my main yard (Redding), then disappearing through a wall into a closet staging yard which represents Eureka (sorry - no rugged mountain scenes there).  The main portion of the layout room covers the mainline from Redding to Bieber (Nubieber).  My freelanced railroad is very loosely model after both the McCloud and the Northwestern Pacific, both of which I have interchange with, following the route of current California Highway 299 from Eureka to Bieber. 

  I don't have much passenger traffic (I think the NWP had two trains in each direction from Eureka to the Bay Area in my era), so it sounds like I should ship the fish in the express reefers on my passenger trains.  Any idea what type of quantity (i.e. car loads) would be shipped daily?  It doesn't seem as if dedicated reefer trains with fish or even long blocks would be in order, rather just a car or two per day?

 Again, thanks in advance for the info.

Al Daumann

From: Anthony Thompson <>
Sent: Fri, November 13, 2009 9:55:13 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] New To Group - Question About Transporting Fish Via Ice Reefers

Al Daumann wrote:
Both the model railroad club I belong to (Santa Susana Railroad
Historical Society in Simi Valley, CA) and my home layout (10' x 12'
bedroom, the Burney, Redding & Western set in Northern California in
the late 1940s) have reefer traffic. I hope to learn and hopefully,
eventually contribute some to the group. Initially, it will likely
be more questions than answers.
On my freelanced home model railroad, I am considering modeling
the transportation of fresh ocean fish from Northern California
(e.g. Eureka) to points inland (e.g. Redding) and was wondering
whether fresh / fresh frozen fish was transported in iced reefers in
the late 1940s / early 1950s? If so, does any one have any links or
references to "fish ops" or "fish reefers"? If they existed, were
"fish reefers" dedicated to fish only service (not sure folks would
want their strawberries or magazines smelling like an old mackerel)?
I'm looking for thoughts on if / how common it was to transport
fish in reefers and how credible it would to model such service in
Northern California in the late 40s / early 50s.
To my knowledge, this was almost entirely in express reefers and,
for shorter distances, in baggage cars with the fish in boxes of
coarse ice. This of course permitted transportation at passenger
schedule speed. The PFE people I interviewed stated that fish was
rarely if ever carried in conventional (RS) reefers.
If your railroad runs west from Redding to the ocean, I sure
would like to see your mountain modeling some day! that's some rugged

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

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