2024年02月09日

The Great Yellow Fleet -A History of American Railroad Refrigerator Cars

by John H. White, published in 1986, Golden West Books
hard cover, letter size, monochrome printing, 186 pages, US$44.95

Great Yellow Fleet.jpg

WITH more than 235 illustrations, 47 diagrams, 4 model railroad plans, maps, advertising reproductions, bibliography, index

Table of Contents
6 Introduction
11 Chapter One: The Coming of the Railroad Refrigerator Car
23 Chapter Two: Refrigerators in the Ice Age
53 Chapter Three: Reform without Revolution
129 Chapter Four: Some Curious Refrigerator Cars
137 Chapter Five: Private Refrigerator Car Lines
149 Chapter Six: Pacific Fruit Express - Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch
177 Notes
181 Refrigerator Car Lingo
184 Bibliography
185 Index

The development of freight transportation in America is nowhere more strikingly illustrated than in the shipment of perishables, which was conceived in the 1840's when a few experimental shipments of fish, citrus, and strawberries were made. With the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869, the railroad refrigerator car formed a link between the farm and the market place. Some of the nation's best croplands were located in the west and south, far removed from the mass of consumers who were located along the northeast coast. When the two were united, America capitalized on an opportunity to provision its population with fresh meat, fruit and vegetables on a year around basis.

The railroad refrigerator car has often been referred to as the railroad car that changed the eating habits of the nation. It began life as an insulated and ventilated boxcar, later receiving ice compartments called "bunkers" in order to maintain an even temperature inside the car during its journey. Various unusual types of insulation, icing methods, and car designs were patented and tried as a means of decreasing temperature to protect the produce. Over the years, Tiffany, Wickes, Ayer, Bohn, and many others patented methods to correct car defects, to develop the perfect ice bunker, and to control air circulation through the car.

The "reefer," as it is most often called, began as a wood constructed car, and, because it was felt metal absorbed heat, it was one of the last types of freight rolling stock to receive steel body construction. Most often refrigerator cars were painted yellow, or a yellow-orange as a means of identification, and were operated in trains called "fruit blocks" to insure quick handling and faster transit.

The railroads, hesitating to provide the necessary rolling stock for the developing traffic in meat and produce which was growing during the 1880's, caused the beef packers to develop a large fleet of private refrigerator car firms. After 1910 many of these fleets had been broken up by governmental order, and consequently railroad controlled lines developed.

The Great Yellow Fleet tells the complete story of the railroad refrigerator car from its trucks to the roof ice bunker. Examined are the various experiments to replace the ice car with ammonia cars, Silica Gel cars, and the diesel-powered mechanical reefer with sub-zero controlled temperatures.
Described are the unique and the unusual cars such as narrow-gauge reefers, beer and wine cars, and cars to carry poultry and dairy products, etc. Also, discussed is where refrigerator car ice came from, how it was mechanically made and stored in huge quantities, and examined and explained are the loading of ice cars and their reicing en route. Not forgotten is the servicing and precooling of cars prior to loading during the ice era.

Explored are four of the largest refrigerator car lines, Merchants Despatch Transportation Co. and Fruit Growers Express, plus the Pacific Fruit Express (Southern Pacific - Union Pacific - Western Pacific) and Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch.

By the time the last ice cars were retired, rail refrigerated transit had almost totally given way to unregulated highway carriers. The railroads, now deregulated to some extent, are getting back some of the lost business and the present rail food shipments travel in refrigerated containers and piggyback truck trailers.

The Great Yellow Fleet is the complete story of the railroad refrigerator car, starting with the ventilated fruit car, the ice car, the mechanical reefer, and including the present day mechanical trailers handled by piggyback. A story served up in easy-to-read style with a matchless pic-ture collection of refrigerator cars covering a full century.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John H. White, senior historian, was formerly Chairman of the Department of Industries, and Curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, he has written more than 50 articles on various railroad topics, especially about steam locomotives and locomotive builders. He has written four paperbound volumes: Early American Locomotives (1972), Horsecars, Cable Cars, and Omnibuses (1974), The John Bull: 150 Years a Locomotive (1981), American Locomotive Builders (1982), He has compiled four hardbound books: Cincinnati Locomotive Builders (1965), American Locomotives: An Engineering History 1830-1880 (1968), The American Railroad Passenger Car (1978), The Great Yellow Fleet (1986). For ten years he was editor of Railroad History, the journal of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society.

ラベル:REEFER Freight Car
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