Re: Shipping Christmas Trees

charles slater

I worked as a switchman in L.A. from 1970-1984 and at least up until 1975 we would handle box cars only loaded with Christmas trees beginning in late November up until mid December for Safeway and Market Basket (two large grocery stores chaines in Southern Calif) and they would arrive in the oldest junk 40 foot box cars. The trees were loaded crosswise in the cars about 6 to 8 feet high and top iced with crushed ice blown into the cars and covered the trees about 12" thick. Sometimes the doors were closed and sometimes they were left open. And sometimes a few were missing when the cars arrived in L.A. The stores allways gave us a tree when we delivered the cars to them if we wanted one.

These cars were old NP, SP&S, GN, Milw, SP, CB&Q and just about anything from the northwest and all of these cars were in the last years of service.

These cars were delivered to their warehouses for unloading and trucked to the stores for sale. The only good thing about those cars is you could smell them a long ways off.

Charlie Slater

To: STMFC@...
From: pc66ot@...
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 20:00:35 -0800
Subject: [STMFC] Shipping Christmas Trees

Were Christmas Trees shipped in reefers? Were insulated boxcars around in enough numbers to be a reasonable alternative? (I model 1952) Did they, reefer loads of Christmas trees, need to be iced, or simply kept at a reasonably cool temp?

Did these loads make up a significant "surge" in traffic to take up much of the unused slack in reefer fleets during November and December?

I ASSume November and December are slow months for Reefers. I know that many reefers were pressed into express service to handle the increased mail and express load as we got closer to Christmas, but did the shipment of trees make a dent in this use of reefers?

Were loads of cut trees sent to a metropolitan produce market's for distribution to retail outlets? Were cut trees a sort of "produce"?

Tons of questions but it sparked an interest. Thank you all in advance.

Paul Catapano

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