conductor's reefer data


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

I've recently finished transcribing a conductor's time book for part of the Coast Line from 1948 to 1952, and it contains extensive reefer car information. The loads in question are almost all vegetables from the Salinas and Watsonville areas, and the analysis of reporting marks present in the data is interesting. For those who may wish to look at the results, I've summarized the findings in a post on my SP modeling blog, which may be found at:

http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/02/modeling-freight-traffic-coast-line.html

Bottom line is that, of course, PFE cars dominated (76%) but ART cars at 11% and MDT cars at about 4% were also significant. Quite a few other reporting marks showed up too but in pretty small numbers, out of 1102 total refrigerator cars in the sample.

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@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Tim O'Connor
 

Tony, it would be fascinating to know if you could correlate the
number of ART cars (which really surprises me!) with known traffic
patterns for ART, like the annual peach crop from western Colorado
or produce (watermelons and canteloupes) from south Texas. What
I'm driving at is, wondering why so many ART reefers would show
up in California? In my modeling era 10 years later, the BAR had
acquired a lot more reefers, and from photos we know that at some
times of year (spring/summer) a lot of BAR reefers were used for
PFE loads out of northern California.

Tim O'Connor

I've recently finished transcribing a conductor's time book for
part of the Coast Line from 1948 to 1952, and it contains extensive
reefer car information. The loads in question are almost all
vegetables from the Salinas and Watsonville areas, and the analysis of
reporting marks present in the data is interesting. For those who may
wish to look at the results, I've summarized the findings in a post on
my SP modeling blog, which may be found at:

http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2011/02/modeling-freight-traffic-coast-line.html

Bottom line is that, of course, PFE cars dominated (76%) but ART cars
at 11% and MDT cars at about 4% were also significant. Quite a few
other reporting marks showed up too but in pretty small numbers, out
of 1102 total refrigerator cars in the sample.

Tony Thompson


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
Tony, it would be fascinating to know if you could correlate the number of ART cars (which really surprises me!) with known traffic
patterns for ART, like the annual peach crop from western Colorado or produce (watermelons and canteloupes) from south Texas. What I'm driving at is, wondering why so many ART reefers would show up in California?
Tim, it sounds like you're assuming they were all confiscated as empties. I doubt many of them were in that category, same as the MDT and BAR and FGEX cars. When I interviewed Pete Holst, PFE's Assistant General Manager for Car Service (or if you will, Car Distribution) for many years, he explained that PFE had NEVER owned enough cars to quite cover peak harvest seasons, but instead had relied on agreements with other car lines to supply empties at critical times. I feel sure that the numerous reefers from far away which are in my statistics are there by agreement, not by confiscation, and likely arrived on the SP as empties so they could be loaded. After all, ART (or whoever) received mileage payments both directions, and would have been happy to keep the cars moving, unless of course they needed them for a particular harvest season of their own.

In my modeling era 10 years later, the BAR had acquired a lot more reefers, and from photos we know that at some times of year (spring/ summer) a lot of BAR reefers were used for PFE loads out of northern California.
Very true, and Pete Holst said the agreement with BAR reached back before WW II. Whether they were largely used in another region, or if the statistics I happen to have for Salinas are in some way unrepresentative, I don't know. I do have two BAR reefer models in my own fleet, so I certainly intend to duplicate that usage.
I might add that I vividly recall Tim Gilbert once saying to a group of people at Cocoa Beach that he felt terribly frustrated by the microscopically narrow samples of freight cars provided by such sources as time books, and that he desperately wished he could find more data, much more data. Now I know how he felt.

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@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


cliffprather
 

To add to what Tony wrote about PFE contracting for reefers to meet the demand for car, I have some information from the brief file by PFE in opposition to the application of the Santa Fe to control the WP on May 1 1962. The following is part of the testimony by BAR president W G Robertson.

. ...after World War II, the BAR (the text used B&A, but I will use there more familiar BAR) did not own any refrigerator cars, and had encountered car supply problems in handling the potato traffic. Outside consultants reported that it would not be economically feasible for BAR to acquire refrigerator cars unless some use could be found for them during the period May to October when they were not needed to move the Maine potatoes.

...BAR was able to finance purchase of 1200 refrigerator cars beginning in 1952, relying upon PFE's assurance that PFE would use the cars during the May-October period. In 1954 BAR and PFE entered into a contract which provides for the use by each party of refrigerator cars owned by the other.

Mr. Robertson made it abundantly clear that the mileage earned from the BAR refrigerator cars are of vital importance to the BAR. One-third of the BAR net income during the past 5 years (1956-1961) came from these mileage earnings....

This was from the brief file in the case and I have not attempted to check all the facts, such as, did BAR have any reefers at the end of WWII or did they just lease cars. This does show as Tony stated, PFE contracted with other reefer owners to supply cars. PFE in this brief stated that they maintain a fleet of cars that could handled only about 90% of the peak traffic demand.

Cliff Prather

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Tim O'Connor wrote:
Tony, it would be fascinating to know if you could correlate the
number of ART cars (which really surprises me!) with known traffic
patterns for ART, like the annual peach crop from western Colorado
or produce (watermelons and canteloupes) from south Texas. What I'm
driving at is, wondering why so many ART reefers would show up in
California?
Tim, it sounds like you're assuming they were all confiscated as
empties. I doubt many of them were in that category, same as the MDT
and BAR and FGEX cars. When I interviewed Pete Holst, PFE's Assistant
General Manager for Car Service (or if you will, Car Distribution) for
many years, he explained that PFE had NEVER owned enough cars to quite
cover peak harvest seasons, but instead had relied on agreements with
other car lines to supply empties at critical times. I feel sure that
the numerous reefers from far away which are in my statistics are
there by agreement, not by confiscation, and likely arrived on the SP
as empties so they could be loaded. After all, ART (or whoever)
received mileage payments both directions, and would have been happy
to keep the cars moving, unless of course they needed them for a
particular harvest season of their own.


Tim O'Connor
 

Great information, Cliff! Here's some ORER data.

BAR reefers: insulated box cars:
------------------------------------------
1940 - 0 0
1950 - 0 5 (one listed as RBH)
1955 - 1123 453 (XI/XIH)
1959 - 1326 453 (XI/XIH)

The BAR reefers in Tony's data must be ex-MDT wood sheathed
reefers in series 6000-6700, 342 cars acquired by BAR 1950-1951,
or I guess they could be the new steel reefers acquired in 1952. I
have conflicting notes on the 7000-7856 series -- one note says
they were built by PC&F, and another says they were built by the
Mt Vernon division of Pressed Steel Car.

All of the new steel reefers acquired in the 1950's had plug doors.
It wasn't until later that BAR acquired second hand ice reefers with
swing doors.

Tim O'Connor

To add to what Tony wrote about PFE contracting for reefers to meet the demand for car, I have some information from the brief file by PFE in opposition to the application of the Santa Fe to control the WP on May 1 1962. The following is part of the testimony by BAR president W G Robertson.

. ...after World War II, the BAR (the text used B&A, but I will use there more familiar BAR) did not own any refrigerator cars, and had encountered car supply problems in handling the potato traffic. Outside consultants reported that it would not be economically feasible for BAR to acquire refrigerator cars unless some use could be found for them during the period May to October when they were not needed to move the Maine potatoes.

...BAR was able to finance purchase of 1200 refrigerator cars beginning in 1952, relying upon PFE's assurance that PFE would use the cars during the May-October period. In 1954 BAR and PFE entered into a contract which provides for the use by each party of refrigerator cars owned by the other.

Mr. Robertson made it abundantly clear that the mileage earned from the BAR refrigerator cars are of vital importance to the BAR. One-third of the BAR net income during the past 5 years (1956-1961) came from these mileage earnings....

This was from the brief file in the case and I have not attempted to check all the facts, such as, did BAR have any reefers at the end of WWII or did they just lease cars. This does show as Tony stated, PFE contracted with other reefer owners to supply cars. PFE in this brief stated that they maintain a fleet of cars that could handled only about 90% of the peak traffic demand.

Cliff Prather


Max Robin
 

Does anyone haveither a kit on an unpainted assembled model of the Red Caboose "original" version of an X-29 boxcar they would be willing to sell ortrade for? I'm in the market for at least 3 such cars.

Thanks,

Nax
=======================================================================email: m_robin@...

smail: Max S. Robin, PE
Cheat River Engineering Inc.
P. O. Box 289
23 Richwood Place
Denville, NJ 07834

voice: 973-945-5007(9:00am-11:00pm M-F,11:00am-11:00pm WE, Eastern)
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Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

cliff prather wrote:
This was from the brief file in the case and I have not attempted to check all the facts, such as, did BAR have any reefers at the end of WWII or did they just lease cars. This does show as Tony stated, PFE contracted with other reefer owners to supply cars. PFE in this brief stated that they maintain a fleet of cars that could handled only about 90% of the peak traffic demand.
My interview with Pete Holst included the statement that 90% of the peak traffic was the BEST that PFE ever did. Other years it was somewhat less. Of course, most of the year they could handle 100%.

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@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Aley, Jeff A
 

Tony,

When was the "peak traffic"? My copy of the PFE book is (unfortunately) in storage.

Is it correct to assume that the peak to which you refer is the overall PFE peak, and not a "regional" peak? (I.e. one wouldn't see 80% PFE reefers coming out of Roseville while you had 100% PFE coming out of Tucson).

Thanks,

-Jeff


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Anthony Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 9:34 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: conductor's reefer data



cliff prather wrote:
This was from the brief file in the case and I have not attempted to
check all the facts, such as, did BAR have any reefers at the end of
WWII or did they just lease cars. This does show as Tony stated, PFE
contracted with other reefer owners to supply cars. PFE in this
brief stated that they maintain a fleet of cars that could handled
only about 90% of the peak traffic demand.
My interview with Pete Holst included the statement that 90%
of the peak traffic was the BEST that PFE ever did. Other years it was
somewhat less. Of course, most of the year they could handle 100%.

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@...<mailto:thompson%40signaturepress.com>
Publishers of books on railroad history