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Helped needed with reefer identification

Donald B. Valentine
 

Hello folks,

    I'm trying to assist an old friend who is not computer literate but is a serious New Haven modeler.
In the postwar period the New Haven had four Shoreline freights that left Boston every night at half hour
intervals beginning at 5:15 PM. These were known as The Four Horsemen, the second of which left at
5:45. Officially known as The Cannonball, operating personnel refered to it as The Fish because the
head end was always comprised of reefer loads of fish. My friend saw this train frequently but cannot
recall who owned the majority of these reefers. He specifically recalls that many of them had truss rods,
some being swaybacked, and all being very definitely yellow rather than orange. In one photo he took
during these years one appears to have had a circular herald on the end to the right of the door. Tony
Thompson has advised that they could not have been PFE for several reasons. I have suggested FGE
or WFE, with the latter having a smaller, circular GN goat herald than was used on boxcars. I've also
wondered about ART reefers but have trouble with truss rods in this periodon any of the three. These
fish loads were nearly exclusively headed for New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC
delivery. There is also the possibility that the reefers belonged to some smaller owner or lessor of such
cars but have no idea of who that might have been. Does anyone have any good knowledge of the make
up of this train and the equipment used? It should also be noted that there was a later train with similar
cars that was not one of The four Horsemen but was commonly called the Second Fish. Any help in
determining the actual car ownership would be greatly appreciated.

Cordially, Don Valentine

anthony wagner
 

I agree with your thoughts that there were probably many FGEX and WFEX cars in those trains. Both reporting marks were freely mixed by Fruit Growers and both also still had truss rod cars in service then.  The New Haven was also one of the owners of the Fruit Growers consortium so that would have been a natural source of those reefers. Tony Wagner

On Monday, September 2, 2019, 8:10:31 AM CDT, Donald B. Valentine via Groups.Io <riverman_vt@...> wrote:


Hello folks,

    I'm trying to assist an old friend who is not computer literate but is a serious New Haven modeler.
In the postwar period the New Haven had four Shoreline freights that left Boston every night at half hour
intervals beginning at 5:15 PM. These were known as The Four Horsemen, the second of which left at
5:45. Officially known as The Cannonball, operating personnel refered to it as The Fish because the
head end was always comprised of reefer loads of fish. My friend saw this train frequently but cannot
recall who owned the majority of these reefers. He specifically recalls that many of them had truss rods,
some being swaybacked, and all being very definitely yellow rather than orange. In one photo he took
during these years one appears to have had a circular herald on the end to the right of the door. Tony
Thompson has advised that they could not have been PFE for several reasons. I have suggested FGE
or WFE, with the latter having a smaller, circular GN goat herald than was used on boxcars. I've also
wondered about ART reefers but have trouble with truss rods in this periodon any of the three. These
fish loads were nearly exclusively headed for New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC
delivery. There is also the possibility that the reefers belonged to some smaller owner or lessor of such
cars but have no idea of who that might have been. Does anyone have any good knowledge of the make
up of this train and the equipment used? It should also be noted that there was a later train with similar
cars that was not one of The four Horsemen but was commonly called the Second Fish. Any help in
determining the actual car ownership would be greatly appreciated.

Cordially, Don Valentine

Bruce A. Metcalf
 

On 9/2/19 9:10 AM, Donald B. Valentine via Groups.Io wrote:

In the postwar period the New Haven had four Shoreline freights that left Boston every night at half hour intervals beginning at 5:15 PM.
... My friend saw this train frequently but cannot recall who owned
the majority of these reefers. He specifically recalls that many of
them had truss rods, some being swaybacked, and all being very
definitely yellow rather than orange. In one photo he took during
these years one appears to have had a circular herald on the end to
the right of the door. ... Does anyone have any good knowledge of the
make up of this train and the equipment used? It should also be noted
that there was a later train with similar cars that was not one of
The four Horsemen but was commonly called the Second Fish. Any help
in determining the actual car ownership would be greatly
appreciated.
You might find some useful ideas in:

"The great yellow fleet : a history of American railroad refrigerator cars" by John H White, San Marino, Calif. : Golden West Books, 1989.

Don't have a copy at hand presently, but it's where I would look first.

Cheers,
/ Bruce /

Bill Welch
 

Anthony is correct on all counts. Love to see that photo your friend took Don.

Bill Welch

Randy Hammill
 

They were almost certainly FGEX consortium cars, whose truss rod cars ran into the 50s. In 1948 they comprised almost 12% of FGEX, more than 41% of WFEX, and over 10% of BREX, or more than 21% of their combine fleet. By ‘53 it was less than 3%.

 

Sunshine and Resin Car Works have released some models, and I posted how I plan to model them here:

 

http://blog.newbritainstation.com/2018/12/fgexbrexwfex-truss-rod-reefers.html?m=1

 

And here:

 

http://blog.newbritainstation.com/2018/12/fgexbrexwfex-reefers-continued.html?m=1

 

There is an excellent article by Bill Welch in Prototype Railroad Modeling Journal Vol 2 by available from Speedwitch Media:

 

http://speedwitchmedia.com/product/prototype-railroad-modeling-volume-two/

They wouldn’t have had the heralds, but without seeing the photo I can’t help there. I would guess there were two different types of cars being remembered, the FGEX consortium truss rod cars and PFE cars with the heralds. 

 

Randy

--

Randy Hammill
Modeling the New Haven Railroad 1946-1954
http://newbritainstation.com