Ventilated Box Cars


Jim Betz
 

Hi,

  What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and

ventilators on the ends of the cars?  

  Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop

being used?  What replaced them?

                                                                                                          - Jim


Tim O'Connor
 


Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim


destorzek@...
 




---In STMFC@..., <jimbetz@...> wrote :

Hi,

  What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and

ventilators on the ends of the cars?  

  Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop

being used?  What replaced them?

                                                                                                          - Jim

=========================

What directly replaced them was standard ice reefers operating un-iced in "ventilator service" with the hatches open. More recently RBL's, insulated bunkerless refrigerator cars.


Dennis Storzek


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tim and Jim,

I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.

I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.

Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern lines had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.

On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:

 


Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim


Todd Horton
 

In later years, after the produce traffic died off, they were used in general service to haul most anything. 

I have a photo in my collection of one stenciled "For Pulpwood Loading Only" 

Labor was cheap :-)

 
Todd Horton



From: "jimbetz@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 11:55 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Ventilated Box Cars

 
Hi,
  What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars?  
  Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?
                                                                                                          - Jim



John Riba
 

Hello Everybody,

   I remember seeing a ventilator box car in the sixties. It was missing the ventilator door, so technically it was a box car.

John  



From: "Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 4:45 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ventilated Box Cars

 
Tim and Jim,
I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.
I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.
Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern lines had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.
On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.
Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim




Eric Hansmann
 

There are historic Pittsburgh images that show ACL ventilated box cars (XV) in the produce terminal area, circa late 50s and early 1960s. 

Awhile back I compiled notes on XV listings in the 1943 ORER reprint. I was surprised at the numbers. I'm on the road at the moment but will see what I can dig up tomorrow.

As a 1926 modeler, these are an important car class with many more in service before the Depression Era. B&O, PRR, Reading, L&N, C&O, and many others had XV cars in service in the 1920s. 


Eric Hansmann

El Paso, TX



On May 11, 2017 at 2:45 AM "Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:



Tim and Jim,

I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.

I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.

Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern lines had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.

On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 


Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim




richard glueck
 

Bangor and Aroostook reefers were equipped with charcoal heaters in the winter, for shipping potatoes.   In other times of the year they traveled with ice.  I'm certain this isn't news, but occasionally, some of these cars were leased out to California companies, which might be news.  In the mid-50's, the switch began to an all-steel fleet, but wood sided cars remained in service for years and well into the mid-60's.

Richard


On Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:54 AM, "Eric Hansmann eric@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
There are historic Pittsburgh images that show ACL ventilated box cars (XV) in the produce terminal area, circa late 50s and early 1960s. 
Awhile back I compiled notes on XV listings in the 1943 ORER reprint. I was surprised at the numbers. I'm on the road at the moment but will see what I can dig up tomorrow.
As a 1926 modeler, these are an important car class with many more in service before the Depression Era. B&O, PRR, Reading, L&N, C&O, and many others had XV cars in service in the 1920s. 

Eric Hansmann
El Paso, TX


On May 11, 2017 at 2:45 AM "Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]" wrote:



Tim and Jim,
I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.
I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.
Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern lines had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.
On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.
Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim






George Eichelberger
 

There is another aspect of “ventilated” box cars I did not realize until I started doing research for the SRHA Wood and Steel Underframe Cars book. Ventilated cars were necessary to let heat OUT.

Any vegetable matter produces heat as it decomposes. Melons, etc that were shipped in vent box cars produced enough heat from that process to cause them to “go bad”. It’s not the loads needed cooling or refrigeration, they needed to keep from spoiling due to the heat they produce in transit. There is probably an expert on the list that can explain the process better?

Ike


A&Y Dave in MD
 

It's not necessarily heat, but ethylene gas that can emanate from ripening fruits and melons. 

Some fruits release it, others are sensitive to it. See a list at:

Dave


Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On May 11, 2017, at 11:49 AM, george eichelberger geichelberger@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

There is another aspect of “ventilated” box cars I did not realize until I started doing research for the SRHA Wood and Steel Underframe Cars book. Ventilated cars were necessary to let heat OUT.

Any vegetable matter produces heat as it decomposes. Melons, etc that were shipped in vent box cars produced enough heat from that process to cause them to “go bad”. It’s not the loads needed cooling or refrigeration, they needed to keep from spoiling due to the heat they produce in transit. There is probably an expert on the list that can explain the process better?

Ike


Clark Propst
 

A friend told me a story of when he was a kid living in Britt Iowa before/during WWII? One day the Milwaukee setout a ventilator car of Watermelons. Evidently several of the surrounding town grocers had gone together on the load and each in turn took their share. Finally the car was left with the doors open with just the packing straw inside. He and his friends jumped in the car to play in the straw and found a forgotten melon. He said it was the best Watermelon he ever ate  ; ))
Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa


Jim Betz
 

Thanks all,

I'm netting out the answers as "any product that needed to be
kept cool" - as in you didn't want it to be inside a normal box
car where the sun could heat up the car. So "cool" was a relative
term. But they were also for shipments that did not require the
cooling of a reefer. But you also didn't want them to be in direct
sun ("too ripe").
I'm speculating that melons/etc. also might have benefited
from a little extra "controlled ripening" during transit due to the
limited exposure to outside air provided by the ventilated cars.

As always - this list is a treasured resource.
- Jim B.


SUVCWORR@...
 

in 1953 there were 6697 XV cars in service.  2/3 were owned by the SAL and CofG

Rich Orr


-----Original Message-----
From: Eric Hansmann eric@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Thu, May 11, 2017 8:54 am
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Ventilated Box Cars



There are historic Pittsburgh images that show ACL ventilated box cars (XV) in the produce terminal area, circa late 50s and early 1960s. 

Awhile back I compiled notes on XV listings in the 1943 ORER reprint. I was surprised at the numbers. I'm on the road at the moment but will see what I can dig up tomorrow.

As a 1926 modeler, these are an important car class with many more in service before the Depression Era. B&O, PRR, Reading, L&N, C&O, and many others had XV cars in service in the 1920s. 


Eric Hansmann

El Paso, TX



On May 11, 2017 at 2:45 AM "Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:



Tim and Jim,

I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.

I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.

Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern li nes had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.

On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O' Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 


Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim






Ray Breyer
 

>>There are historic Pittsburgh images that show ACL ventilated box cars (XV) in the produce terminal area... 
>>Awhile back I compiled notes on XV listings in the 1943 ORER reprint. I was surprised at the numbers. 
>>As a 1926 modeler, these are an important car class with many more in service before the Depression Era. B&O, 
>>PRR, Reading, L&N, C&O, and many others had XV cars in service in the 1920s. 
>>Eric Hansmann
>>El Paso, TX


Modelers tend to forget about this one-time important freight car type. Anyone who's been paying attention to the DL&W company photos or the Barriger collection knows that ventilated boxcars (especially the ACL's bright yellow cars) show up all over the place.

And there were far more of these cars around than anyone thinks. Looking at the 1917 ORER, there are 65,169 class V cars rolling in the rosters of 53 different railroads. Most of the cars are in the obvious rosters, but there are more than a few surprises in the numbers as well: 207 cars on the CNJ, 45 on the P&R, 66 on the LV, etc. There are a few surprising omissions as well: none on the NYC, UP, Milwaukee, CB&Q or Santa Fe, only 421 cars on the SP.

Here's the top ten ventilated boxcar fleets for 1917:

ACL - 21,123 cars
Southern - 12,205 cars
SAL - 8,292 cars
CofGA - 3,791 cars
M&O - 2,76 cars
NYP&N - 1,969 cars
PRR - 1,852 cars
IC - 1,792 cars
L&N - 1,749 cars
SA&AP - 1,693 cars


Ray Breyer
Elgin, IL


Tim O'Connor
 


Perhaps the western roads could use their enormous fleets of livestock cars
for melons and squashes during the relatively short harvest seasons which may
have been off-peak from livestock shipping seasons. Livestock cars were
notoriously under-employed, and these plants grew in the same territory as
cattle ranches.

When I was a kid in Texas it was very common to see watermelons and cantaloupes
in open-top trucks/trailers travelling down the highway. Since these fruits
grow in the blazing sun anyway, a couple of extra days on the road doesn't do
any harm to most of them.

Tim O'





And there were far more of these cars around than anyone thinks. Looking at the 1917 ORER, there are 65,169 class V cars rolling in the rosters of 53 different railroads. Most of the cars are in the obvious rosters, but there are more than a few surprises in the numbers as well: 207 cars on the CNJ, 45 on the P&R, 66 on the LV, etc. There are a few surprising omissions as well: none on the NYC, UP, Milwaukee, CB&Q or Santa Fe, only 421 cars on the SP.

Here's the top ten ventilated boxcar fleets for 1917:

ACL - 21,123 cars
Southern - 12,205 cars
SAL - 8,292 cars
CofGA - 3,791 cars
M&O - 2,76 cars
NYP&N - 1,969 cars
PRR - 1,852 cars
IC - 1,792 cars
L&N - 1,749 cars
SA&AP - 1,693 cars

Ray Breyer


Eric Hansmann
 

I also see truckloads of bagged onions on the highways of west Texas and southern New Mexico during harvest. I suspect these may have shipped via stock cars from western packers in the steam era. 

Eric Hansmann
El Paso, TX

On May 11, 2017, at 2:34 PM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:


Perhaps the western roads could use their enormous fleets of livestock cars
for melons and squashes during the relatively short harvest seasons which may
have been off-peak from livestock shipping seasons. Livestock cars were
notoriously under-employed, and these plants grew in the same territory as
cattle ranches.

When I was a kid in Texas it was very common to see watermelons and cantaloupes
in open-top trucks/trailers travelling down the highway. Since these fruits
grow in the blazing sun anyway, a couple of extra days on the road doesn't do
any harm to most of them.

Tim O'





And there were far more of these cars around than anyone thinks. Looking at the 1917 ORER, there are 65,169 class V cars rolling in the rosters of 53 different railroads. Most of the cars are in the obvious rosters, but there are more than a few surprises in the numbers as well: 207 cars on the CNJ, 45 on the P&R, 66 on the LV, etc. There are a few surprising omissions as well: none on the NYC, UP, Milwaukee, CB&Q or Santa Fe, only 421 cars on the SP.

Here's the top ten ventilated boxcar fleets for 1917:

ACL - 21,123 cars
Southern - 12,205 cars
SAL - 8,292 cars
CofGA - 3,791 cars
M&O - 2,76 cars
NYP&N - 1,969 cars
PRR - 1,852 cars
IC - 1,792 cars
L&N - 1,749 cars
SA&AP - 1,693 cars

Ray Breyer


Dave Parker
 

Postharvest plant physiology is not exactly my field of expertise, but I spent a few minutes Googling this question.  Some fruits are climacteric, i.e., after harvest they naturally continue to ripen and both respire and produce ethylene gas.   The respiration can produce significant amounts of heat.  Notable examples are melons, banana, and tomatoes.  Many other fruits are non-climacteric, that is they are as ripe as they are going to get the moment they are picked, and generate neither heat nor ethylene afterwards.  Examples include grapes, citrus, and strawberries.

The heat produced by melons in a ventilated car did not necessarily mean they were "going bad".  In fact, to a degree, this was likely a desirable thing in many instances as "green" fruit could be (partially) ripened during transport.

I would speculate that the ventilated cars might have been viewed more favorably for transporting the climacteric fruits.  It wasn't so much a matter of keeping them chilled as preventing them from overheating in an enclosed space (which would lead to over-ripeness and eventually spoilage).  The effectiveness of the ventilateds in this regard must have been a function of (a) airflow, and (b) outside ambient temperature.

Based on the fleet info that Ray Breyer posted, it's clear that some roads liked these cars much more than others.  As we got into the thirties and forties, it seems like these cars were largely superseded by reefers for the transportation of most perishables.

Dave Parker
Riverside, CA










On Thursday, May 11, 2017 10:36 AM, "David Bott dbott@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
It's not necessarily heat, but ethylene gas that can emanate from ripening fruits and melons. 

Some fruits release it, others are sensitive to it. See a list at:

Dave


Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone

On May 11, 2017, at 11:49 AM, george eichelberger geichelberger@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 
There is another aspect of “ventilated” box cars I did not realize until I started doing research for the SRHA Wood and Steel Underframe Cars book. Ventilated cars were necessary to let heat OUT.

Any vegetable matter produces heat as it decomposes. Melons, etc that were shipped in vent box cars produced enough heat from that process to cause them to “go bad”. It’s not the loads needed cooling or refrigeration, they needed to keep from spoiling due to the heat they produce in transit. There is probably an expert on the list that can explain the process better?

Ike




A&Y Dave in MD
 

Any product that needed ventilation. Control of ripening happened BECAUSE of exposure to outside air...reduced the concentration of ethylene which is given off by some fruit and that hastens ripening in others.

Sent from Dave Bott's iPad

On May 11, 2017, at 2:02 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

Thanks all,

I'm netting out the answers as "any product that needed to be
kept cool" - as in you didn't want it to be inside a normal box
car where the sun could heat up the car. So "cool" was a relative
term. But they were also for shipments that did not require the
cooling of a reefer. But you also didn't want them to be in direct
sun ("too ripe").
I'm speculating that melons/etc. also might have benefited
from a little extra "controlled ripening" during transit due to the
limited exposure to outside air provided by the ventilated cars.

As always - this list is a treasured resource.
- Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

The cars with heaters were NOT reefers, but were XI cars. The BAR reefers did NOT have permanent heaters. That's my understanding. Please correct if you have more info.

Tony Thompson 


On May 12, 2017, at 12:00 AM, richard glueck richard_glueck@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

 

Bangor and Aroostook reefers were equipped with charcoal heaters in the winter, for shipping potatoes.   In other times of the year they traveled with ice.  I'm certain this isn't news, but occasionally, some of these cars were leased out to California companies, which might be news.  In the mid-50's, the switch began to an all-steel fleet, but wood sided cars remained in service for years and well into the mid-60's.

Richard


On Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:54 AM, "Eric Hansmann eric@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:


 
There are historic Pittsburgh images that show ACL ventilated box cars (XV) in the produce terminal area, circa late 50s and early 1960s. 
Awhile back I compiled notes on XV listings in the 1943 ORER reprint. I was surprised at the numbers. I'm on the road at the moment but will see what I can dig up tomorrow.
As a 1926 modeler, these are an important car class with many more in service before the Depression Era. B&O, PRR, Reading, L&N, C&O, and many others had XV cars in service in the 1920s. 

Eric Hansmann
El Paso, TX


On May 11, 2017 at 2:45 AM "Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]" <STMFC@...> wrote:



Tim and Jim,
I'm wondering what you mean by "weren't traveling too terribly far"? A lot of produce out of the Carolinas and Georgia came north to New York and other major cities in these cars. That is a pretty fair distance. I can't cite statistics, but the proof is in photos of RF&P trains which often show large blocks of ACL ventilators. See Richard E. Prince's RICHMOND-WASHINGTON LINE for examples.
I agree about melons and the like being shipped in ventilators. Ambroid referred to their model as a "watermelon" car, which seems cute marketing but does have truthiness to it. The genius of these cars was that they could be used for almost any clean load on the return trip. I recall reading somewhere that tobacco was another frequent ventilator commodity, though most of this traffic likely didn't leave the south.
Jim, these ventilators are closely identified with "y'all" railroads, and most of the major southern lines had substantial fleets of these cars up WWII, with Seaboard and ACL continuing to use them in large numbers into the 1950s. However, as Dennis noted, they were replaced by ice reefers running as ventilators. By the 1920s the two biggest refrigerator operators, PFE and FGE, dominated the produce trade and the decline of ventilators was well underway.
On the West Coast, the Southern Pacific and its subsidiaries were major ventilators operators at the turn of the century. PFE made their ventilators redundant. Even the Western Pacific bought a modest fleet of ventilators just after WWI. When that road joined PFE, their ventilators were soon all rebuilt as plain boxcars.
Yours Aye,

Garth Groff

On 5/11/17 12:15 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Lots of melons and cantaloupes and squashes that weren't travelling
too terribly far and in "season" - but I think at other times of the
year they could be used like ordinary box cars.

Tim O'






What was shipped in "Ventilated Box Cars" - the ones with open/slotted doors and
ventilators on the ends of the cars? 

Most of the pics of them I've seen have been pre-WWII ... when did they stop
being used?  What replaced them?

Jim






Aley, Jeff A
 

Ike,

 

                The first phrase that came to mind as I read your message was “field heat”.  The crops coming in from the fields were warm.  Were they cooled before being loaded in to ventilated box cars?  I have no idea.

 

                I learned the term “field heat” from Tony Thompson (or I read it in Pacific Fruit Express by Thompson, Church, and Jones).  I hope he’ll chime in and comment.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2017 8:49 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Ventilated Box Cars

 

 

There is another aspect of “ventilated” box cars I did not realize until I started doing research for the SRHA Wood and Steel Underframe Cars book. Ventilated cars were necessary to let heat OUT.

Any vegetable matter produces heat as it decomposes. Melons, etc that were shipped in vent box cars produced enough heat from that process to cause them to “go bad”. It’s not the loads needed cooling or refrigeration, they needed to keep from spoiling due to the heat they produce in transit. There is probably an expert on the list that can explain the process better?

Ike