[PFE Dry Ice Reefer Experiment

Tony Thompson

Bob Chaparro wrote:

The November 1947 issues of TRAINS magazine (Page 66) reported that Pacific Fruit Express was experimenting with “a new type of dry ice refrigerator car”.  The article stated that “the dry ice is packed into metal roof compartments which are designed to direct the refrigeration downward through the load below…”
I found no reference to this in the PFE book. The book only mentions dry ice shipments and cars modified for this service.  The book does mention several classes of cars modified with overhead ice bunkers in 1940 but this was seven years before the experiment mention in TRAINS.

       PFE did experiment with dry ice refrigeration, but found it was too difficult to control, and often led to what we might call "freezer burn" on cargoes. As the trials were conducted with temporarily installed equipment and did not lead to any production cars, I did not include the info in the PFE book. In 1965, PFE experimented with a similar approach with super-cold refrigerant, using liquid nitrogen (see PFE book, page 178). Here again, temperature control proved hard to achieve. Those experimental cars were in service for a time, so they ARE in the PFE book.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
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