Reefers : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Did either the SAL or ACL ever have 40 foot reefers painted in the railroad schemes. I realize that they leased from FGE but were there ever any that weren't owned by FGE? I have Falk's Book and have seen what is listed there.

-- Dave George (, October 16, 2001


Both roads did have passenger-equipped express refrigerator cars (SAL's were wood and built about 1930, ACL's were steel and built in 1947-48), but as John points out, these were not the typical 40' wood cars that I believe the original question has in mind. The Railway Equipment Register shows that in the very early 1900s many roads, I think ACL perhaps among them if I recall, had "ice cars" - but I imagine these were probably insulated boxcars for carrying ice around rather than reefers for refrigerated cargo.

-- Larry Goolsby (, October 17, 2001.

Hey Dave, No, neither road had any refrigerators or refrigerator fleets in the classic sense. The closest thing ACL or Seaboard had were their fleets of ventilator boxcars--the so-called "watermelon" cars. Seaboard and ACL moved perishables in refrigerator cars owned by Fruit Grower's Express (23 RRs), Pacific Fruit Express (SP, UP and WP), American Refrigerator Transit (MP and Wabash), Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch (AT&SF), Burlington Refrigerator Express (CB&Q), Northern Refrigerator Car Co. (NRC) and others. Originally many of railroads car fleets were operated by and for each individual railroad, but in the 1930s most cars eventually became part of a nationwide pool, per se. The railroads discovered that carloadings could be doubled by using cars in the south during winter months and using those same cars in the west during summer western harvest season. Therefore, cars didn't have to sit around during the off season on captive railroads. This higher utilization also brought about the end of the ventilator car fleet. It's also another reason why you'll see pictures of all kinds of different company's cars all over the country (it was quite common to see SFRD, ART or PFE cars in the south during the winter). Hope this helps!

-- John Golden (, October 16, 2001.

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