Topics

Swift Reefers

Dave Parker
 

I agree with Doug on almost all most points.  I can't speak to the steel cars, but creating an accurate tabulation of just the 37' wood cars is worse than daunting.  For reasons unknown, Swift (GA) stopped including car counts in the 1930 ORER (they are in my 1925 and 26).  They are also absent in my 1935 and 1940 registers.  Doug's message indicates that the counts were back by 1943 (they are in my 1945 as well).

Given the number of cars that were built in the 1925-35 time-frame, the acquisition of the fleet by GA, and the apparent renumbering of many/most/all of the the pre-GA cars, I despair of being able to construct a decent timeline from the 1920s into the 1940s.

One side note:  the MAC/ARA/AAR car classes evolved quite a bit over time.  The lineup of reefer classes in my 1931 Cyc is rather different than that from 1912 to 1922.   Ian Cranstone has diligently tabulated when the various classes appeared (and disappeared) from the ORERs:

http://www.nakina.net/other/aartype.html#Reefer

It seems that the RAM and RSM classes did not come on line until ~1943.  Prior, cars with meat rails did not have a specific designation.

--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

Douglas Harding
 

There is an error in Martin’s chart from his RMJ article, and maybe more than one. According to my 1943 and 1953 ORER the 8200-9699 series of Swift Meat Reefrs were RAM cars, ie equipped with brine tanks. These cars are 37’ 5”, a  standard length for a wood meat reefer, not 41’ 4” as Martin’s chart shows.

 

Martin must have read the wrong line in an ORER as he prepared his chart. There were very few RS cars in the Swift fleet.

8000-8099  a 41’6” car, number of cars 25 in 1943, no number shown in 1953

8100-8199  a 40’3” car, number of cars 75 in 1943, 6 cars in 1953

6000-6004  40’3” car, total of 3 cars in 1943, not shown in 1953

24000-24049, a 41’6” car, number of cars 11 in 1953

24050-24074, a 41’6” car, no cars shown in 1953

24075-24099, a 41’6” car, shows 1 car in 1953

 

And RA cars 24100-24149 shows 1 car in 1953

 

Note the RS and RA cars are 41’ cars, most everything else is 37’, until you get into later built cars except for one block of 39’ cars. Both the 41’ cars and 39’ cars did not exist in 1948, indicating they were newer cars, and may even have been of steel sided construction.

 

A RS car did not have meat rails, as would be found in a RSM or RAM car. Note the door is taller on an RS car. The RSM has a shorter door, to allow for the overhead meat rails.

 

The General American cars, esp the earlier cars, appear to be a mishmash of many different cars, some of unknown heritage. Martin’s Chart, for what it’s worth, only shows series that had a 100 cars or more. Many of the series in the ORER had far less than 100 cars, some only had a handful, or even a single car. General American was in the lease business and lease could vary in both length and number of cars. Union Refrigeration Transit also acquired many used cars from a variety of sources. As leases expired cars were repainted, often renumbered as they went the shops. As leases could be as short as month and for very few cars, it is very difficult to track reefers in lease service.

 

Martin Loften published a 3 part series on Meat Reefers in the Feb Mar Apr 1992 Mainline Modeler. These articles formed the nucleus of his article on Meat Reefers in the Vol 2 Symposium on Railroad History, ed by Tony Thompson. In which Martin states: “The Swift fleet was a hodgepodge of different cars in the late 1940s.”

 

Attempting to create an accurate listing of Swift Reefers will be a daunting task. I don’t know what Martin’s source of information was. Obviously he used ORER’s, but he must have had other sources as well, as he lists numbers of cars in some series where the ORER’s I have do not show car totals.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

Bob Chaparro
 

I noticed the Swift reefers in the table from the 8200-9699 series are RS and not RSM reefers.
Does anyone have additional information on these cars? I assume they were used for boxed meat.
Tim O'Connor has a photo (below) in his collection of SRLX 8602. This is an example of the cars.
Bob Chaparro
Hemet, CA

Douglas Harding
 

Actually Epstein shows both 1930 and 1931.

p. 44 “The Swift Line, acquired in 1931, is leased exclusively to Swift and Company.

p. 95 writing about individual shippers who sought to have General American take over and operate cars for them. “The first such major take-over was that of the car line previously owned and operated by Swift and Company, the Chicago meat packers. This transaction, consummated in 1930, involved 5,476 refrigerator cars and 145 tank cars.”

p. 158 Chronology list shows 1930 Swift and Company line purchased

p. 174 Table 3 shows the number of reefers owned by GATC went from 11296 in 1930 to 17910 in 1931, increase of 6614 cars, of which the 5476 from Swift would have been the major part of this increase.

 

I speculated that the transaction began in 1930 and perhaps was completed in 1931, hence the two dates. But no specific date is given, just the years.

 

Of interest: p. 68 table shows Swift Refrigerator line received 450 new reefers from East Chicago in 1937

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Jim Gates via Groups.Io
Sent: Sunday, October 13, 2019 10:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Epstein's GATX history lists it as 1930. But it also lists ownership of 11,296 refrigerator cars at the end of 1930 and 17,910 at the end of 1931, so they may not have officially transferred the cars until 1931.

Jim Gates

On Sunday, October 13, 2019, 8:10:04 PM CDT, Dave Parker via Groups.Io <spottab@...> wrote:

 

 

Guy:

In his 1993 RMJ article, Martin gave the sale date as 1931.  Hendrickson and Kaminski's billboard reefer book gives it as 1930.

My 12/30 ORER doesn't exhibit any hint of the sale, but Swift is clearly listed under GA by 7/35.

I can't offhand recall any other sources on this question.  

With best regards.
--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

Jim Gates
 

Epstein's GATX history lists it as 1930. But it also lists ownership of 11,296 refrigerator cars at the end of 1930 and 17,910 at the end of 1931, so they may not have officially transferred the cars until 1931.

Jim Gates


On Sunday, October 13, 2019, 8:10:04 PM CDT, Dave Parker via Groups.Io <spottab@...> wrote:


Guy:

In his 1993 RMJ article, Martin gave the sale date as 1931.  Hendrickson and Kaminski's billboard reefer book gives it as 1930.

My 12/30 ORER doesn't exhibit any hint of the sale, but Swift is clearly listed under GA by 7/35.

I can't offhand recall any other sources on this question.  

With best regards.
--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

Dave Parker
 

Guy:

In his 1993 RMJ article, Martin gave the sale date as 1931.  Hendrickson and Kaminski's billboard reefer book gives it as 1930.

My 12/30 ORER doesn't exhibit any hint of the sale, but Swift is clearly listed under GA by 7/35.

I can't offhand recall any other sources on this question.  

With best regards.
--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

Tony Thompson
 

Guy Wilber wrote:
Swift sold all their refrigerator cars to General American sometime (I believe) in early 1937. Does anyone have an exact date of the transaction? 

And of course leased them back.
.Tony Thompson _._,_._,_

Guy Wilber
 

Steve wrote:

“Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article”

Swift sold all their refrigerator cars to General American sometime (I believe) in early 1937. Does anyone have an exact date of the transaction? 

Regards,

Guy Wilber
Reno, Nevada

R,_

Bob Webber
 

When looking into this for a customer, we found 1 Swift order, and one proposed.

The 1910 Haskell & Barker order - Lot 113 - Cars 20200 - 20300 (note that in that same Lot, there were cars for Beechnut - No. 20301 - 20304). These cars were variously indicated as refrigerator and beef cars. In 1914, a proposed HB car was drawn up. Aside from that though... [Car 20300 is variously indicated as part of the Swift and Beechnut production]

Also, in terms of Reefer books, there is also the MDT book by Roger as well.

I thought someone - Mort? - may have done a Swift clinic at Naperville (or Cocoa?). I don't have the clinic sheets here. We can also check the various TSE, OERs, CBC and other usual suspects. But... we have very little on GACX which built reefers for Swift later. I have no checked my ACF Lot list either, though we know the car of interest is not built by them.

This sort of request is a reason we started scanning more of the large HB & Pullman drawings. Once completely annotated we can search fairly easily for such. The trick is finding drawings representing all the production - not so difficult for Pullman for the middle production (from 1900 through the 30s and 40s) but a little more difficult for Standard Steel and a lot more for HB. Eric's lists are very helpful on that one!

At 11:55 AM 10/11/2019, Dave Parker via Groups.Io wrote:
Steve and group:

I spent a fair bit of time trying to sort out the three series of wooden Swift reefers that were covered by the three variations in the Sunshine kits -- the 2500, 5200, and 6700 series, all of which are referenced in Martins Feb 1993 article. My goal was simply to understand the genesis of these three series to facilitate accurate modeling, so I did not really delve into other significant groups such as the 3300-5199 series. I relied mostly on my collection of ORERs that tend to be in ~5-year increments (1926, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1954).

ANAICT, the 5200 series dates to about 1931-32, and retained its original numbers into the 1950s. Some very similar cars appear in the ORERs in the same period: the 500-699 series that appears in Martin's tabulation, and the 1900-2499 series that does not (presumably due to renumbering).

The 5200 series doesn't appear in my ORERs until 1945, and may have been closely related to the 3300-5199 series, Martin attributed these cars to the "late" 1920s, and my best guess is that the were originally numbered in 17400-19999.

The 6700 series purportedly dates to the mid-1920s, but again these numbers don't appear until 1945. I had a lot of trouble backtracking this group through the ORERs, and really couldn't identify a likely series for these cars prior to 1930. In the 1935 and 1940 registers, these cars may have been in 12700-15799.

My experience suggests that It will not be easy to construct an accurate time-line for the Swift roster, especially if the ORERs are the principle source of the data. I have a few photo that help a bit, but am not aware of any company records that would shed better light.

Hopes this helps.
--
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA
Bob Webber

Dave Parker
 

Steve and group:

I spent a fair bit of time trying to sort out the three series of wooden Swift reefers that were covered by the three variations in the Sunshine kits -- the 2500, 5200, and 6700 series, all of which are referenced in Martins Feb 1993 article.  My goal was simply to understand the genesis of these three series to facilitate accurate modeling, so I did not really delve into other significant groups such as the 3300-5199 series.  I relied mostly on my collection of ORERs that tend to be in ~5-year increments (1926, 1930, 1935, 1940, 1945, 1954).

ANAICT, the 5200 series dates to about 1931-32, and retained its original numbers into the 1950s.  Some very similar cars appear in the ORERs in the same period:  the 500-699 series that appears in Martin's tabulation, and the 1900-2499 series that does not (presumably due to renumbering).

The 5200 series doesn't appear in my ORERs until 1945, and may have been closely related to the 3300-5199 series,  Martin attributed these cars to the "late" 1920s, and my best guess is that the were originally numbered in 17400-19999.

The 6700 series purportedly dates to the mid-1920s, but again these numbers don't appear until 1945.  I had a lot of trouble backtracking this group through the ORERs, and really couldn't identify a likely series for these cars prior to 1930.  In the 1935 and 1940 registers, these cars may have been in 12700-15799.

My experience suggests that It will not be easy to construct an accurate time-line for the Swift roster, especially if the ORERs are the principle source of the data.  I have a few photo that help a bit, but am not aware of any company records that would shed better light.

Hopes this helps.
  --
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

Tony Thompson
 

Yeah, there’s some fool publisher that keeps doing reefer books.
Tony Thompson 


On Oct 11, 2019, at 4:51 PM, Roger Huber via Groups.Io <trainpainter@...> wrote:


Sounds like some adventurous soul needs to get going on a book about the Swift cars. We have books on the PFE, ART and MDT reefers so now it's time for the Swift cars!

Roger Huber
Deer Creek Locomotive Works


On Friday, October 11, 2019, 09:10:49 AM CDT, Joseph <Mstl852@...> wrote:


It would be interesting to collate this info with build dates. I realize this is the minefield, what with rebuildings and later acquisitions.  Paint scheme data is helpful

Thanks for posting

Joe Binish

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 8:53 AM Douglas Harding <doug.harding@...> wrote:

Steve, Martin included a roster of Swift cars in his 2-93 article. That is the only list I recall ever seeing, beyond notes in Gene Green’s Color reefer book.

There was list of Swift cars in the 7-93 RMJ, listing cars seen and photographed in 1935. The author also makes reference to a list published in the 4-93 issue of RMJ. Alas the TrianLife database is not cooperating this morning, so I’m not able to confirm what was in the 4-93 issue.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve and Barb Hile
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.

 

Maybe a good clinic session?

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Hile

Nelson Moyer
 

And don’t forget the SFRD book recently reprinted by the Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society.

 

Nelson Moyer

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Roger Huber via Groups.Io
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2019 10:52 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Sounds like some adventurous soul needs to get going on a book about the Swift cars. We have books on the PFE, ART and MDT reefers so now it's time for the Swift cars!

 

Roger Huber

Deer Creek Locomotive Works

 

 

On Friday, October 11, 2019, 09:10:49 AM CDT, Joseph <Mstl852@...> wrote:

 

 

It would be interesting to collate this info with build dates. I realize this is the minefield, what with rebuildings and later acquisitions.  Paint scheme data is helpful

 

Thanks for posting

 

Joe Binish

 

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 8:53 AM Douglas Harding <doug.harding@...> wrote:

Steve, Martin included a roster of Swift cars in his 2-93 article. That is the only list I recall ever seeing, beyond notes in Gene Green’s Color reefer book.

There was list of Swift cars in the 7-93 RMJ, listing cars seen and photographed in 1935. The author also makes reference to a list published in the 4-93 issue of RMJ. Alas the TrianLife database is not cooperating this morning, so I’m not able to confirm what was in the 4-93 issue.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve and Barb Hile
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.

 

Maybe a good clinic session?

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Hile

 


Scanned by McAfee and confirmed virus-free.

 

Roger Huber
 

Sounds like some adventurous soul needs to get going on a book about the Swift cars. We have books on the PFE, ART and MDT reefers so now it's time for the Swift cars!

Roger Huber
Deer Creek Locomotive Works


On Friday, October 11, 2019, 09:10:49 AM CDT, Joseph <Mstl852@...> wrote:


It would be interesting to collate this info with build dates. I realize this is the minefield, what with rebuildings and later acquisitions.  Paint scheme data is helpful

Thanks for posting

Joe Binish

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 8:53 AM Douglas Harding <doug.harding@...> wrote:

Steve, Martin included a roster of Swift cars in his 2-93 article. That is the only list I recall ever seeing, beyond notes in Gene Green’s Color reefer book.

There was list of Swift cars in the 7-93 RMJ, listing cars seen and photographed in 1935. The author also makes reference to a list published in the 4-93 issue of RMJ. Alas the TrianLife database is not cooperating this morning, so I’m not able to confirm what was in the 4-93 issue.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve and Barb Hile
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.

 

Maybe a good clinic session?

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Hile

Joseph
 

It would be interesting to collate this info with build dates. I realize this is the minefield, what with rebuildings and later acquisitions.  Paint scheme data is helpful

Thanks for posting

Joe Binish

On Fri, Oct 11, 2019 at 8:53 AM Douglas Harding <doug.harding@...> wrote:

Steve, Martin included a roster of Swift cars in his 2-93 article. That is the only list I recall ever seeing, beyond notes in Gene Green’s Color reefer book.

There was list of Swift cars in the 7-93 RMJ, listing cars seen and photographed in 1935. The author also makes reference to a list published in the 4-93 issue of RMJ. Alas the TrianLife database is not cooperating this morning, so I’m not able to confirm what was in the 4-93 issue.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve and Barb Hile
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.

 

Maybe a good clinic session?

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Hile

Douglas Harding
 

Steve, Martin included a roster of Swift cars in his 2-93 article. That is the only list I recall ever seeing, beyond notes in Gene Green’s Color reefer book.

There was list of Swift cars in the 7-93 RMJ, listing cars seen and photographed in 1935. The author also makes reference to a list published in the 4-93 issue of RMJ. Alas the TrianLife database is not cooperating this morning, so I’m not able to confirm what was in the 4-93 issue.

 

Doug  Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Steve and Barb Hile
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2019 2:51 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Swift Reefers

 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.

 

Maybe a good clinic session?

 

Thanks in advance,

Steve Hile

Steve and Barb Hile
 

Has anyone published any sort of detailed roster of Swift reefers?  I seem to think so, but can't locate such.  I do have Martin Lofton's RMJ 2-93 article.
 
Maybe a good clinic session?
 
Thanks in advance,
Steve Hile