Topics

Red Owl warehouse


Tim O'Connor
 

Elden

Just an observation - Railroads do consider that X54 car to be a "reefer" - RB. All of the railway
literature and especially financial reports I've read classify RB/L cars as reefers or refrigerator cars.
I think the compilation of cars by type in the CBC's and ORER's also count them as refrigerators.


On 2/23/2021 2:59 PM, Gatwood, Elden J SAD wrote:

Clark;

 

Generally, they had to make some reasonable accommodation in either too hot summer, or too cool winter, to accommodate canned goods.  Reefers were perfect, but jealously guarded by their owners.

 

There is loads of correspondence on spoiled canned goods claims.

 

The attached is the non-reefer RR solution from the PRR:  Insulated, and with “Quick Loaders”, as restored for the Strasburg RR.

 

Elden Gatwood

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Clark Propst
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 2:02 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: [Non-DoD Source] Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse

 

Here's the meat so far. They did have a cold storage area. I'm interested in seeing if more can goods arrive in reefer during the colder months? Clark

DATE

INITIALS

NUMBER

LADING

8/1/1949

ARLX

423

MEAT

8/12/1949

SLRX

4854

MEAT

8/23/1949

SRLX

6336

MEAT

8/24/1949

SRLX

4996

MEAT

8/24/1949

SRLX

4608

MEAT

8/291949

SRLX

5735

MEAT

Attachments:



--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Philip Dove
 

Why were canned goods shipped in refrigerator cars? I have alway treated canned goods as something that do not need any special storage. I'm British and my understanding of canned means the produce is in a hermetically sealed tin that will keep the ingredients fresh for at least a few years. I know in America canned includes mason jars and glassware, but I still don't see the need for reefers. Were the cars ones that had brought uncanned fresh produce into the plant so canned goods were a logical backhaul load.

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Tim O'Connor
 


Have you ever spent time inside a closed freight car sitting in bright sunlight for a week?
Those canned goods could easily test the boiling point of water if it weren't for being in a
freight car that is protected against such temperatures. Modern insulated box cars are
more or less guaranteed not to gain more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit every 24 hours.


On 2/23/2021 4:10 PM, Philip Dove wrote:
Why were canned goods shipped in refrigerator cars? I have alway treated canned goods as something that do not need any special storage. I'm British and my understanding of canned means the produce is in a hermetically sealed tin that will keep the ingredients fresh for at least a few years. I know in America canned includes mason jars and glassware, but I still don't see the need for reefers. Were the cars ones that had brought uncanned fresh produce into the plant so canned goods were a logical backhaul load.


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Dennis Storzek
 

On Tue, Feb 23, 2021 at 01:16 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:

Have you ever spent time inside a closed freight car sitting in bright sunlight for a week?
How 'bout a week at -20 deg. F? Guaranteed to freeze the contents and burst the cans. There is a reason for modern RBL's.

Dennis Storzek


lsittler
 

My understanding is that the car designation RB stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless” meaning a car without ice bunkers and that RBL stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless Load dividers” for the appliances within the car. That’s my memory from working at FGE. Les Sittler
 

From: Dennis Storzek
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 5:01 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse
 
On Tue, Feb 23, 2021 at 01:16 PM, Tim O'Connor wrote:

Have you ever spent time inside a closed freight car sitting in bright sunlight for a week?
How 'bout a week at -20 deg. F? Guaranteed to freeze the contents and burst the cans. There is a reason for modern RBL's.

Dennis Storzek


Tony Thompson
 

Les Sittler wrote:

My understanding is that the car designation RB stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless” meaning a car without ice bunkers and that RBL stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless Load dividers” for the appliances within the car. That’s my memory from working at FGE. 

Almost. The ORER says that RBL stands for "Refrigerator Bunkerless Loading devices." (Not all loaders had dividers.)

Tony Thompson




lsittler
 

Okay I guess from my experience in the Law Department we dealt with the issue of load dividers and the potential for injury that those dividers created. I should have checked the ORER before writing my comments.
 

From: Tony Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 8:06 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse
 
Les Sittler wrote:

My understanding is that the car designation RB stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless” meaning a car without ice bunkers and that RBL stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless Load dividers” for the appliances within the car. That’s my memory from working at FGE.

Almost. The ORER says that RBL stands for "Refrigerator Bunkerless Loading devices." (Not all loaders had dividers.)
 
Tony Thompson
tony@...
 

 


Philip Dove
 

Thanks for the explanation, makes me appreciate the benefits of living in a temperate climate.

Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Wed, 24 Feb 2021 at 01:50, lsittler <lsittler@...> wrote:
Okay I guess from my experience in the Law Department we dealt with the issue of load dividers and the potential for injury that those dividers created. I should have checked the ORER before writing my comments.
 
From: Tony Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 8:06 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse
 
Les Sittler wrote:

My understanding is that the car designation RB stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless” meaning a car without ice bunkers and that RBL stands for “Refrigerator Bunkerless Load dividers” for the appliances within the car. That’s my memory from working at FGE.

Almost. The ORER says that RBL stands for "Refrigerator Bunkerless Loading devices." (Not all loaders had dividers.)
 
Tony Thompson
tony@...
 

 


Dave Nelson
 

I expect in the winter reefers were used to keep the contents from freezing.

 

I do know the Western Pacific’s few reefers were used primarily for canned food. 

 

Dave Nelson

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io [mailto:main@RealSTMFC.groups.io] On Behalf Of Philip Dove
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 1:11 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse

 

Why were canned goods shipped in refrigerator cars? I have alway treated canned goods as something that do not need any special storage. I'm British and my understanding of canned means the produce is in a hermetically sealed tin that will keep the ingredients fresh for at least a few years. I know in America canned includes mason jars and glassware, but I still don't see the need for reefers. Were the cars ones that had brought uncanned fresh produce into the plant so canned goods were a logical backhaul load.

 

Virus-free. www.avast.com


Tony Thompson
 

Dave Nelson wrote:

I do know the Western Pacific’s few reefers were used primarily for canned food. 

  What era are you thinking of, Dave? In the era of this list, all the reefers WP owned were leased to PFE and entirely operated by PFE, meaning that the distribution of reefers to shippers was by PFE, not WP. It is well known that the WP reefers were entirely mixed within the PFE fleet and were definitely NOT preferentially sent to shippers on WP lines for loading.
     I would add that there was certainly a considerable amount of fresh produce shipped from WP lines, hardly less and probably more than canned goods. 

Tony Thompson




np328
 

    I gave a presentation years ago by now on national reefer movements which covered about a two year time frame and can give several reason why canned goods by reefers many of which I am sure Tony is familiar with from compiling his book (that I need to remember to bring to the next RPM and get signed.)

I had based this talk on actual AAR documents from 1956 - 1957. Not ideally my my modeled time frame of 1953 however close.

Philip, 
   On their return trip in order to expedite them homeward, you could get three reefers for the price of one boxcar in the STMFC era.
Find more on the guidelines here: https://realstmfc.groups.io/g/main/files/Refrigerator%20Cars%20for%20Box%20Cars    John Barry was kind enough to put them all into a pdf, found on the bottom link. That might be easiest to look thru.  And getting three cars for one. That might offset the loss of bunker space. And to keep temperatures uniform might be advantageous to higher end gourmet canned goods. Or keep Captain Crunch crunchy in a muggy summer. 

         Reefers surprisingly - were busiest in winter time, providing what was referred to as Protective Service. Sometime protected from heat, other times cold. 
To see what, look in the files here:  https://realstmfc.groups.io/g/main/files/Perishable%20Commodities,%20definition%20and%20list%20of   
       Many goods need to be protected from temp extremes, and the above list shows many things that might be delivered to the "dirty bird" warehouse, a meme for Red Owl that was not uncommon here in the Twin Cities.  (In college that was a very welcome sight as one of my roommates mom often sent him up with extra groceries - for your house mates, and that Owl on several bags was a welcome sight. However didn't stop one of the fellows from stating, Ah, see your mom still shops at dirty bird.)

And at my presentation, someone walked out of the room commenting that it was a nice presentation, however they did not model winter.
         OK, think about that for just a moment, if winter is the busiest time for reefers, so the rest of the year there are reefer surpluses (mostly in spring and fall) and so these are the times one would see them hauling commodities - other than just harvested fruits and vegies.                       Jim Dick - Roseville, MN 
 


Philip Dove
 

IIRC new bicycles were also a favoured back haul cargo because they couldn't be packed and stacked tightly and they were "clean". I have Tony Thompsons PFE book but haven't read it through for years.

Virus-free. www.avast.com


On Fri, 26 Feb 2021 at 06:42, np328 <jcdworkingonthenp@...> wrote:
    I gave a presentation years ago by now on national reefer movements which covered about a two year time frame and can give several reason why canned goods by reefers many of which I am sure Tony is familiar with from compiling his book (that I need to remember to bring to the next RPM and get signed.)

I had based this talk on actual AAR documents from 1956 - 1957. Not ideally my my modeled time frame of 1953 however close.

Philip, 
   On their return trip in order to expedite them homeward, you could get three reefers for the price of one boxcar in the STMFC era.
Find more on the guidelines here: https://realstmfc.groups.io/g/main/files/Refrigerator%20Cars%20for%20Box%20Cars    John Barry was kind enough to put them all into a pdf, found on the bottom link. That might be easiest to look thru.  And getting three cars for one. That might offset the loss of bunker space. And to keep temperatures uniform might be advantageous to higher end gourmet canned goods. Or keep Captain Crunch crunchy in a muggy summer. 

         Reefers surprisingly - were busiest in winter time, providing what was referred to as Protective Service. Sometime protected from heat, other times cold. 
To see what, look in the files here:  https://realstmfc.groups.io/g/main/files/Perishable%20Commodities,%20definition%20and%20list%20of   
       Many goods need to be protected from temp extremes, and the above list shows many things that might be delivered to the "dirty bird" warehouse, a meme for Red Owl that was not uncommon here in the Twin Cities.  (In college that was a very welcome sight as one of my roommates mom often sent him up with extra groceries - for your house mates, and that Owl on several bags was a welcome sight. However didn't stop one of the fellows from stating, Ah, see your mom still shops at dirty bird.)

And at my presentation, someone walked out of the room commenting that it was a nice presentation, however they did not model winter.
         OK, think about that for just a moment, if winter is the busiest time for reefers, so the rest of the year there are reefer surpluses (mostly in spring and fall) and so these are the times one would see them hauling commodities - other than just harvested fruits and vegies.                       Jim Dick - Roseville, MN 
 


np328
 

   Other than bicycles, I have paperwork showing cigarettes, matches, tires, (yes tires) magazines and books were a big back-haul commodity as they were clean and headed from publishing houses in the east back west. Check past postings for other back-haul commodities as the "back-haul in reefers" has surfaced more than once.
Freight forwarders, a shipper that I have researched on repeatedly however found precious little historical data to be compiled for a presentation, liked reefers and the three for one deal, from what limited data I have found. However now we are veering off the original thread.        Jim Dick - St. Paul, MN 


Tony Thompson
 

Jim Dick wrote:

Freight forwarders, a shipper that I have researched on repeatedly however found precious little historical data to be compiled for a presentation, liked reefers and the three for one deal, from what limited data I have found. However now we are veering off the original thread.        

I think it's vital to remember that major refrigerator car owners like PFE, ART, and FGE had their primary obligation to shippers of fresh produce. To the extent that any backhaul might interfere with that, they actively tried to AVOID backhaul. And of course they were paid mileage for the cars, loaded or empty, so in revenue terms they could not have cared less.
     The parent railroads, of course, would have been happy to see revenue from backhauls, but understood that produce had to come first. That load of bicycles would be okay if shipped next week, but probably not the heads of lettuce.

Tony Thompson




Dennis Storzek
 

On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 02:08 PM, np328 wrote:
Other than bicycles, I have paperwork showing cigarettes, matches, tires, (yes tires) magazines and books were a big back-haul commodity as they were clean...

You can add ceramic tile to that list, which was typically shipped boxed to prevent damage, and the boxes were small enough (it's heavy!) to easily hand truck out through the narrow door. There was a distribution warehouse for American Olean tile in the neighborhood I grew up in, that received as many reefers as boxcars.

Dennis Storzek


Clark Propst
 

I've pretty done all I can with the grocery warehouse cars. I've found plenty of mistakes. I'm sure there was more. Please take a look at your favorite road and let me know if changes are needed? Would be nice to be able to add car classes, I know the ATSF, SP, UP used them. The PRR classes are in the ORER.
Thanks
Clark


Schleigh Mike
 

Light bulbs were another 'back fill' commodity for reefers and, western reefers that got close to Maine might ship seed potatoes west, but, they really were a reefer item were they not.

By the way those American Olean tiles that found their way onto reefers were loaded on the somewhat obscure Pittsburg Shawmut & Northern RR until April of 1947 and then by the Pennsylvania that took over switching the Olean portion that survived  the road's closing.

Mike Schleigh, Grove City in western Penna.

On Friday, February 26, 2021, 06:25:08 PM EST, Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...> wrote:


On Fri, Feb 26, 2021 at 02:08 PM, np328 wrote:
Other than bicycles, I have paperwork showing cigarettes, matches, tires, (yes tires) magazines and books were a big back-haul commodity as they were clean...

You can add ceramic tile to that list, which was typically shipped boxed to prevent damage, and the boxes were small enough (it's heavy!) to easily hand truck out through the narrow door. There was a distribution warehouse for American Olean tile in the neighborhood I grew up in, that received as many reefers as boxcars.

Dennis Storzek


Douglas Harding
 

Fantastic job Clark. Lots of great information for the grocery business. Interesting that they only got nine loads of meat during this time period. And even more interesting three of those meat loads arrived in SLRX cars, ie Anheuser Busch beer cars. I’m going to assume most meat arrived via truck as did all dairy products.

 

From a Sanborn Map it looks like the warehouse was served by the GN, with the MSTL tracks across the street. The MILW would have been near by. https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4144mm.g04339195006A/?sp=45&r=-0.005,0.919,0.835,0.53,0

 

Red Owl was started in 1922 in Rochester MN, and opened their store in Hopkins in 1948, just the year before your report. This is soon after Western Grocer, a large grocery distributor based in Marshalltown IA was sold to an eastern conglomerate, who was consolidating the grocery industry.

 

Here is a photo of the plant in Hopkins https://hclib.tumblr.com/post/55193243271/new-red-owl-plant-in-hopkins-once-a-common-sight

Supervalu still has a large distribution center at this location.

 

Doug Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Clark Propst
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2021 6:45 PM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Red Owl warehouse

 

I've pretty done all I can with the grocery warehouse cars. I've found plenty of mistakes. I'm sure there was more. Please take a look at your favorite road and let me know if changes are needed? Would be nice to be able to add car classes, I know the ATSF, SP, UP used them. The PRR classes are in the ORER.
Thanks
Clark


Todd Sullivan
 

Hi Clark,

Wow!  That Excel workbook is a labor of love. 

It also raises lots of questions about where cars came from and where the loads out were going.  E.g., where did all that sugar in NP boxcars come from?  I don't suppose the seal books have origin or destination information?

I did find one set of questionable initials = SLRX (St Louis Refrigerator Line - beer), which I think should be SRLX (Swift Refrigerator Line - meat).  See rows 184-185.

Otherwise, a great wealth of information to ponder.

Thanks!!

Todd Sullivan


Richard Townsend
 

Yeah, I think the SLRX should be SRLX. A common mistake. But what a job of putting this spreadsheet together! What struck me was the Hershey’s cars. I wonder if they did multiple deliveries per car, like some of the Swift cars did.


On Feb 26, 2021, at 6:46 PM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io <sullivant41@...> wrote:

Hi Clark,

Wow!  That Excel workbook is a labor of love. 

It also raises lots of questions about where cars came from and where the loads out were going.  E.g., where did all that sugar in NP boxcars come from?  I don't suppose the seal books have origin or destination information?

I did find one set of questionable initials = SLRX (St Louis Refrigerator Line - beer), which I think should be SRLX (Swift Refrigerator Line - meat).  See rows 184-185.

Otherwise, a great wealth of information to ponder.

Thanks!!

Todd Sullivan