Banana Train Movements - East vs West


Shawn Beckert
 

List,

I wonder if anyone has attempted to plot banana train
movements as far as who covered what territory, and if
there was any kind of overlap in service. IC obviously
got the lions share of business coming up from the Gulf,
and without the PFE book in front of me I'll guess that
SP-UP-CNW got the bulk of United Fruit's traffic out of
San Francisco going East. It would be kind of interesting
to find out if IC banana reefers interchanged onto the
western railroads and vice-versa. Or did everybody stay
in their respective service territories?

Shawn Beckert


thompson@...
 

Shawn Beckert said:
...without the PFE book in front of me I'll guess that
SP-UP-CNW got the bulk of United Fruit's traffic out of
San Francisco going East.
Yes, the San Francisco Banana Terminal (pictured in the book) was a block
away from SP's SF Freight Terminal. In LA, the PE handled banana trains up
the 4-track main from the Harbor into the yards in the city. I'd guess that
eastward bananas from LA would have moved over SP, ATSF, or UP, depending
on destination.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Brian Chapman <cornbeltroute@...>
 

I've uploaded an Iowa Division (1960) track profile that includes
East Dubuque: Photos folder, Banana.

Perhaps a former IC hand or someone else might be able to identify
the banana track. I'm at work on an N scale layout (set in 1966) that
includes the East Dubuque-Galena Jct. double-track run, so this track
I.D. would be a big help.

I grew up in Waterloo. Though as a young boy the CGW was my main rail
squeeze, often I watched the IC hotshots from the vantage point of
the CGW bridge that spanned the east end of the IC division-point
yard.

Did bananas make it as far west on the Iowa Division as Waterloo, or
were most interchanged at East Dubuque?

Also, as a kid I heard talk about bananas coming north on the IC from
Florida points. The chat here seems to focus on banana movements from
New Orleans north. Might someone provide illumination concerning
this? Perhaps Florida ports were steamship terminals for banana
shipments?

Thanks much,

Brian Chapman
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


---


Ray Breyer <rbreyer@...>
 

Funny that you guys are talking about this right now. Frank Hodina just
sent me the text of a few interchange sheets, between the IC and NKP in
Paxton, Illinois. They include two banana car movements:

5/12/55: IC 50419 Bananas from New Orleans to Bloomington, IL
5/12/55: ART 53026 Bananas from New Orleans to Lafayette, IN

Apparently, the interchange reports for Paxton and other IC locations are
sitting around in boxes at the ICHS' headquarters in Paxton. I'm heading
down there in January with a few guys to dig through the "files" and try to
get them organized. (and to see what cars were getting exchanged circa
1950).

Ray Breyer

-----Original Message-----
From: Beckert, Shawn [mailto:shawn.beckert@...]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 11:38 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Banana Train Movements - East vs West

List,

I wonder if anyone has attempted to plot banana train
movements as far as who covered what territory, and if
there was any kind of overlap in service. IC obviously
got the lions share of business coming up from the Gulf,
and without the PFE book in front of me I'll guess that
SP-UP-CNW got the bulk of United Fruit's traffic out of
San Francisco going East. It would be kind of interesting
to find out if IC banana reefers interchanged onto the
western railroads and vice-versa. Or did everybody stay
in their respective service territories?

Shawn Beckert


Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>
 

I don't know if any IC banana shipments ever went to the West Coast, but it
seems unlikely to me. There is a photo in volume 3 of Lloyd Stagner's "Santa
Fe in Color" series showing an IC reefer in an eastbound Santa Fe train
climbing Cajon Pass. I've assumed it got there because of a WWII order (that
wasn't rescinded until 1947!) requiring railroad terminals in the Midwest to
send empty RS-type reefers to California for loading.

Happy holidays,

Andy

Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
MODEL RAILROADER Magazine
262-796-8776, ext. 461
Fax 262-796-1142
asperandeo@...


golden1014
 

Brian,

I've never heard of Seaboard or ACL hauling a significant amount of
bananas, especially to IC from Florida points. However, Southern had
a "Banana Terminal" built specifically for the commodity in
Charleston, SC. So, there is some evidence that southeastern roads
had a share of the banana business, although I would assume it wasn't
much compared to IC.

John Golden
O'Fallon, IL

--- In STMFC@..., "Brian Chapman" <cornbeltroute@a...>
wrote:
I've uploaded an Iowa Division (1960) track profile that includes
East Dubuque: Photos folder, Banana.

Perhaps a former IC hand or someone else might be able to identify
the banana track. I'm at work on an N scale layout (set in 1966)
that
includes the East Dubuque-Galena Jct. double-track run, so this
track
I.D. would be a big help.

I grew up in Waterloo. Though as a young boy the CGW was my main
rail
squeeze, often I watched the IC hotshots from the vantage point of
the CGW bridge that spanned the east end of the IC division-point
yard.

Did bananas make it as far west on the Iowa Division as Waterloo,
or
were most interchanged at East Dubuque?

Also, as a kid I heard talk about bananas coming north on the IC
from
Florida points. The chat here seems to focus on banana movements
from
New Orleans north. Might someone provide illumination concerning
this? Perhaps Florida ports were steamship terminals for banana
shipments?

Thanks much,

Brian Chapman
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


---


Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>
 

Bannanas were all imported, virtually all in 9 states (ICC rail loading
data, 1950):

LA 306k tons 30.0%
AL 173k tons 16.9%
NY 170k tons 16.7%
NJ 124k tons 12.1%
MD 94k tons 9.2%
WA 49k tons 4.1%
CA 39k tons 3.8%
SC 34k tons 3.3%
PA 31k tons 3.0%

On the consumption side, 70% of all rail shipped bannanas went here:

IL 101k tons 11.3%
OH 88k tons 9.9%
NY 82k tons 9.2%
MI 67k tons 7.5%
PA 62k tons 6.9%
CA 54k tons 6.0%
TX 38k tons 4.2%
MN 34k tons 3.7%
WI 33k tons 3.6%
NJ 32k tons 3.6%
IN 29k tons 3.2%
IA 25k tons 2.7%

Of interest is only 80 tons of bannanas came out of Illinois by rail, which
came as a surprise as I figured there would be a lot of reshipping. If you
assume those bananas stayed put, the Illinois had a percapita consumption of
23 lbs, almost double the national figure.

Washington and Oregon received ~30k tons of fruit so either trucks
distributed the other 19k tons that were imported into the northwest or they
went elsewhere by rail. Moving south, California received 15k tons more
than their ports shipped by rail. Perhaps that's where a lot of the
Washington Bananas went.

On the east coast, New York and New Jersey shipped far more than they
received so clearly they exported tonnage, tho how much is impossible to
tell given there is no data for local consumption.

When I look at rail receipts as lbs per capita it shows very low numbers
across the south, suggesting that rail wasn't the preferred method of
delivery and/or lower consumption patterns. On this high end, it's
Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio, Michigan -- all at least 60% higher than
the national average. Right after them is ND, WI, IA, NE; Sounds like the
major markets and distribution route was up the Mississippi River valley
into the upper midwest.

All the rest is open to speculation.

Dave Nelson

-----Original Message-----
From: Beckert, Shawn [mailto:shawn.beckert@...]
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2003 11:38 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Banana Train Movements - East vs West


List,

I wonder if anyone has attempted to plot banana train
movements as far as who covered what territory, and if
there was any kind of overlap in service. IC obviously
got the lions share of business coming up from the Gulf,
and without the PFE book in front of me I'll guess that
SP-UP-CNW got the bulk of United Fruit's traffic out of
San Francisco going East. It would be kind of interesting
to find out if IC banana reefers interchanged onto the
western railroads and vice-versa. Or did everybody stay
in their respective service territories?

Shawn Beckert


To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
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Shawn Beckert
 

Mike Auf der Heide asked:

How did the west coast get their bananas? Homegrown?
By boat from Costa Rica? T&NO/SP? Banana magic?
I think Banana Magic is something you get at a bar...

Actually the West got most if not all their shipments
of bananas from South American countries via the United
Fruit Steamship Company. Some Caribbean islands grew
bananas as well, but they were a much smaller source.
This applied to the Gulf and Atlantic ports as well. There
were other shippers, but United Fruit got to be the biggest
via the usual business methods of "merger and acquisition",
as Wall Street likes to put it so diplomatically.

There is a very good book on this subject with the title
of "Going Bananas: 100 Years of American Fruit Ships in
The Caribbean". Author is Mark H. Goldberg. Long time since
I read it, but IIRC it mentions the IC as one of the major
railroads involved with the banana traffic east of the Great
Divide. In the West, as Tony mentioned, banana ships would
dock at Los Angeles or San Francisco, and their cargoes would
be distributed across the western states via PE/SP/UP/ATSF.

Shawn Beckert


Michael Auf der Heide <maufderheide@...>
 

How did the west coast get their bananas? Homegrown? By boat from Costa
Rica? T&NO/SP? Banana magic?



Regards,



Mike


thompson@...
 

How did the west coast get their bananas? Homegrown? By boat from Costa
Rica? T&NO/SP? Banana magic?
Boat into Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2942 Linden Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 http://www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroads and on Western history


Roger Hinman <rhinman@...>
 

Assuming MDT was a major leaser of cars to IC(LA), GM&O(AL) and NYC(NY), its a wonder they can't be nicknamed banana cars

Roger Hinman

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 05:52 PM, Dave Nelson wrote:

Bannanas were all imported, virtually all in 9 states (ICC rail loading
data, 1950):

LA 306k tons 30.0%
AL 173k tons 16.9%
NY 170k tons 16.7%
NJ 124k tons 12.1%
MD 94k tons 9.2%
WA 49k tons 4.1%
CA 39k tons 3.8%
SC 34k tons 3.3%
PA 31k tons 3.0%


Steven Delibert <STEVDEL@...>
 

On an NYC list, there was recently a discussion of the "banana house" at
Weehwaken, where ships were unloaded to a warehouse for movement to railroad
cars, which made up fairly hot "banana trains" up the West Shore to inland
NYC destinations, at least into the early 1960's. I would guess -- but
don't know -- that they would have back-loaded MDT reefers that came
downstate with NY State produce for the city.
That part of the business disappeared when the Hudson River and the Port
of Albany were set up (at your expense) to allow ocean-going ships to get to
Albany - the discussion didn't get to whether NYC took bananas west from
Albany after that, or whether it all went to trucks, but that was after our
era.
Steve Delibert


Jeff Lodge <cvfanbratt@...>
 

I don't know how long they have been there (or if they are still there for that matter...) But, Chiquita had/has a large pier and facility in Gulfport, MS for the special banana ships. I've been told the bananas were put into huge water tanks in the ships at something like 38 degrees F.

Like to see if anyone else has details. Especially the travel routes through the Northeast and into Eastern Canada. I am thinking hotshot rails had to beat trying to get a ship to an East Coast port.

Jeff Lodge
Freezing in Vermont



Brian Chapman <cornbeltroute@...> wrote:
I've uploaded an Iowa Division (1960) track profile that includes
East Dubuque: Photos folder, Banana.

Perhaps a former IC hand or someone else might be able to identify
the banana track. I'm at work on an N scale layout (set in 1966) that
includes the East Dubuque-Galena Jct. double-track run, so this track
I.D. would be a big help.

I grew up in Waterloo. Though as a young boy the CGW was my main rail
squeeze, often I watched the IC hotshots from the vantage point of
the CGW bridge that spanned the east end of the IC division-point
yard.

Did bananas make it as far west on the Iowa Division as Waterloo, or
were most interchanged at East Dubuque?

Also, as a kid I heard talk about bananas coming north on the IC from
Florida points. The chat here seems to focus on banana movements from
New Orleans north. Might someone provide illumination concerning
this? Perhaps Florida ports were steamship terminals for banana
shipments?

Thanks much,

Brian Chapman
Cedar Rapids, Iowa




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Joe Binish <joebinish@...>
 

Hey can I piggy back on this? I would like a # for on of the MDT steel side
reefers (you know one of the close to R-40-23s) leased to the GM&O in
53.(Don't ask for much do I?) If anyone can point me to the right place I
would appreciate it.
TIA,
Joe Binish


Richard Hendrickson
 

Hey can I piggy back on this? I would like a # for on of the MDT steel side
reefers (you know one of the close to R-40-23s) leased to the GM&O in
53.(Don't ask for much do I?) If anyone can point me to the right place I
would appreciate it.
I have a photo of MDT 9326 painted white with red and blue sill stripes and
GM&O heralds at Syracuse in 5/52.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520


Edward Dabler
 

In a message dated 12/4/03 9:35:11 PM Central Standard Time,
cvfanbratt@... writes:
I don't know how long they have been there (or if they are still there for
that matter...) But, Chiquita had/has a large pier and facility in Gulfport, MS
for the special banana ships. I've been told the bananas were put into huge
water tanks in the ships at something like 38 degrees F.


Both Chiquita and Dole have large facilities in Gulfport. Their shops bring
bananas from, I believe Costa Rica, on weekly schedule. The bananas are in
containers which of off loaded onto container racks. It's interesting to watch
the trucks pull up to the ship with an empty container and see the ships
container handling equipment pickup the empty, put it on board, then pickup a
loaded container, put it on the empty trailer and off the load goes to the
departure area.

Ed Dabler


tim gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

Unlike most other fresh fruit & vegetables, the rail transport of
bananas was not subject to reconsignment and diversion practices because
the distribution of bananas was controlled after consolidation around
1900 by two corporations: - United Fruit and Standard Fruit, an arm of
the DiGiorgio Corporation. Because of this concentration, the means of
operation on land resembled the transport of meat more than with other
fresh fruit and vegetables.

As someone has already stated, the best work about the Banana Boats that
I know of is Mark Goldberg's GOING BANANAS (North American Maritime
Books, 1993). The emphasis of this book, however, is on cruising and the
design of the boats, and not the transport of bananas. Still, with the
application of 2+2=5 logic, it can be somewhat useful in the area of
ports of entry of bananas in the US. What follows will be my
understanding of markets served from those ports of entry starting with
the northeast.

BOSTON - In 1923, the B&M acquired 200 reefers to serve the Northern New
England, Eastern Canada & Detroit markets according to a piece in the
August 1929 B&M EMPLOYEES MAGAZINE. The bananas were offloaded into
reefers on station carfloats. The B&M lost this business in the 1930's,
but Boston remained a port of entry for bananas: - conclusion - trucks
replaced reefers, at least, for the short hauls.

NEW YORK - On page 391 of Stauffer's NYC's LATER POWER is a photo of
UF's boat Comayagua unloading at Pier 7 in Lower Manhattan into reefers
on a station car float. MDT #44390 was one of the reefers on the float.
From there, the float was hauled across to Weehawken NJ where it
dispatched onto Weehawken-Buffalo NYC Symbol WB-3 according to Kip
Farrington on page 178 of his RAILROADING FROM THE HEAD END (1943) - 400
carloads a month Farrington said.

ALBANY - In the late 1950's or 1960's, the port of entry was moved up
river to Albany which provided better access to the northeast market via
the New York Thruway system than from New York City. The move to Albany
ended whatever passenger traffic there was at least from New York.

PHILADELPHIA - While a port of entry, the market it served was probably
not that extensive due to the NYC's Weehawken trains providing service
to the north and the B&O's banana trains from Baltimore cutting off the
market to the West.

BALTIMORE - Starting on page 191 of Farrington's RAILROADING FROM THE
REAR END (1946) is a description of B&O's "Banana Specials" which served
Cumberland MD, Grafton WV, Fairmount WV, Clarksburg WV, Connellsville
PA, Wheeling WV, Morgantown WV, Uniontown PA and Pittsburgh. West of
Pittsburgh, cars for Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, and Flint MI
were set out. The transit time from Baltimore to Chicago was 32 hours 45
minutes - 2nd morning arrival after leaving Baltimore at 8:00 PM.

CHARLESTON - I was unaware that it was a port of entry for bananas. In a
Fall 1946 Wheel Report, there was a 40-car block of reefers carrying
bananas proceeding northward from Monroe VA to Pot Yard outside
Washington. The reefers were a polyglot including ones by PFE, SFRD, IC,
FGEX, BREX, WFEX, ART & MDT. I had assumed that these reefers were
employed from either New Orleans or Mobile instead of from Baltimore
because of the shortage of banana boats right after WW II. The boats had
to be converted back to commercial service after the military employed
them during the War. Nothing yet has changed my mind about this
assumption.

MOBILE & NEW ORLEANS - The ports closest to the Caribbean and Central
American Banana plantations. Other than that, I have nothing more to add
to what others have said.

LOS ANGELES & SAN FRANCISCO - Boats arrived from the West Coast of
Central America. Other than that, nothing more to add.

SEATTLE (probably - whether boats ran the Columbia Bar is doubtful) -
Dave Nelson's 1950 data is probably for the Puget Sound.

Hope this helps, Tim Gilbert


skunkskunk2001 <fwj@...>
 

It is my understanding from various sources that Illinois Central
hauled a lot of bananas northbound on their mainline from the South.
Also, I've seen reported that they hauled complete trains on their
line to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Victor Baird
Fort Wayne, Indiana


tim gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

rrfaned@... wrote:

Both Chiquita and Dole have large facilities in Gulfport. Their shops
bring
bananas from, I believe Costa Rica, on weekly schedule. The bananas
are in
containers which of off loaded onto container racks. It's interesting
to watch
the trucks pull up to the ship with an empty container and see the
ships
container handling equipment pickup the empty, put it on board, then
pickup a
loaded container, put it on the empty trailer and off the load goes to
the
departure area.
I believe this list is called Steam Era Freight Car or words to that
effect. I don't believe Gulfport was a port of entry for bananas until
well after 1960, nor were bananas containerized at that time.

Tim Gilbert


Roger Hinman <rhinman@...>
 

There's a Paul Dunn photo in the Richard Burg Collection showing MDT 9532 with a GM&O herald c 1953

Bob's Photo has MDT 9616 with GM&O in 1954 and MDT 9669 with GM&O in 1952

If one doesn't mind the wrong rivet pattern, wrong door hinges, wrong roof , wrong lenght, etc
the R-40-23 sorta looks like a steel reefer

Roger Hinman

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 11:55 PM, Richard Hendrickson wrote:

Hey can I piggy back on this? I would like a # for on of the MDT steel side
reefers (you know one of the close to R-40-23s) leased to the GM&O in
53.(Don't ask for much do I?) If anyone can point me to the right place I
would appreciate it.
I have a photo of MDT 9326 painted white with red and blue sill stripes and
GM&O heralds at Syracuse in 5/52.

Richard H. Hendrickson
Ashland, Oregon 97520



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