A refrigerator car (or "reefer") is a refrigerated boxcar (U.S.), a piece of railroad rolling stock designed to carry perishable freight at specific temperatures. Refrigerator cars differ from simple insulated boxcars and ventilated boxcars (commonly used for transporting fruit), neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus. Reefers can be ice-cooled, come equipped with any one of a variety of mechanical refrigeration systems, or utilize carbon dioxide (either as dry ice, or in liquid form) as a cooling agent. Milk cars (and other types of "express" reefers) may or may not include a cooling system, but are equipped with high-speed trucks and other modifications that allow them to travel with passenger trains.
After the end of the American Civil War, Chicago, Illinois emerged as a major railway center for the distribution of livestock raised on the Great Plains to Eastern markets. 1,200 miles (1,900 km) to railheads in Kansas City, Missouri or other locations in the midwest, such as Abilene and Dodge City, Kansas, where they were loaded into specialized stock cars and transported live ("on-the-hoof") to regional processing centers. Driving cattle across the plains also caused tremendous weight loss, with some animals dying in transit.Transporting the animals to market required herds to be driven up to
Upon arrival at the local processing facility, livestock were either slaughtered by wholesalers and delivered fresh to nearby butcher shops for retail sale, smoked, or packed for shipment in barrels of salt. Costly inefficiencies were inherent in transporting live animals by rail, particularly the fact that approximately 60% of the animal's mass is inedible. The death of animals weakened by the long drive further increased the per-unit shipping cost. Meat processors sought a method to ship dressed meats from their Chicago packing plants to eastern markets.
During the mid-19th century, attempts were made to ship agricultural products by rail. As early as 1842, the Western Railroad of Massachusetts was reported in the June 15 edition of the Boston Traveler to be experimenting with innovative freight car designs capable of carrying all types of perishable goods without spoilage.The first refrigerated boxcar entered service in June 1851, on the Northern Railroad (New York) (or NRNY, which later became part of the Rutland Railroad). This "icebox on wheels" was a limited success since it was only functional in cold weather. That same year, the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad (O&LC) began shipping butter to Boston in purpose-built freight cars, utilizing ice for cooling.
The first consignment of dressed beef left the Chicago stock yards in 1857 in ordinary boxcars retrofitted with bins filled with ice. Placing meat directly against ice resulted in discoloration and affected the taste, proving to be impractical. During the same period Gustavas Swift experimented by moving cut meat using a string of ten boxcars with their doors removed, and made a few test shipments to New York during the winter months over the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR). The method proved too limited to be practical.
Detroit's William Davis patented a refrigerator car that employed metal racks to suspend the carcasses above a frozen mixture of ice and salt. In 1868, he sold the design to George H. Hammond, a Detroit meat packer, who built a set of cars to transport his products to Boston using ice from the Great Lakes for cooling.The load had the tendency of swinging to one side when the car entered a curve at high speed, and use of the units was discontinued after several derailments. In 1878 Swift hired engineer Andrew Chase to design a ventilated car that was well insulated, and positioned the ice in a compartment at the top of the car, allowing the chilled air to flow naturally downward. The meat was packed tightly at the bottom of the car to keep the center of gravity low and to prevent the cargo from shifting. Chase's design proved to be a practical solution, providing temperature-controlled carriage of dressed meats, This allowed Swift and Company to ship their products across the United States and internationally.
Swift's attempts to sell Chase's design to major railroads were rebuffed, as the companies feared that they would jeopardize their considerable investments in stock cars, animal pens, and feedlots if refrigerated meat transport gained wide acceptance. In response, Swift financed the initial production run on his own, then — when the American roads refused his business — he contracted with the GTR (a railroad that derived little income from transporting live cattle) to haul the cars into Michigan and then eastward through Canada. In 1880 the Peninsular Car Company (subsequently purchased by ACF) delivered the first of these units to Swift, and the Swift Refrigerator Line (SRL) was created. Within a year, the Line's roster had risen to nearly 200 units, and Swift was transporting an average of 3,000 carcasses a week to Boston, Massachusetts. Competing firms such as Armour and Company quickly followed suit. By 1920, the SRL owned and operated 7,000 of the ice-cooled rail cars. The General American Transportation Corporation would assume ownership of the line in 1930.
Live cattle and dressed beef deliveries to New York (short tons):
|(Stock Cars)||(Refrigerator Cars)|
|Year||Live Cattle||Dressed Beef|
The subject cars travelled on the Erie, Lackawanna, New York Central, and Pennsylvania railroads.
Source: Railway Review, January 29, 1887, p. 62.
19th Century American Refrigerator Cars:
|1880||1,000 est.||310||1,310 est.|
|1885||5,010 est.||990||6,000 est.|
|1890||15,000 est.||8,570||23,570 est.|
|1895||21,000 est||7,040||28,040 est.|
|1900||54,000 est.||14,500||68,500 est.|
Source: Poor's Manual of Railroads and ICC and U.S. Census reports.
In the 1870s, the lack of a practical means to refrigerate peaches limited the markets open to Samuel Rumph, a Georgia peach grower. In 1875, he invented a refrigerated railcar and crates that allowed him to grow peaches on a very large scale and ship them to distant markets. He was the first to achieve this. His innovations created Georgia's fame for peaches, a crop now eclipsed economically by blueberries.
Edwin Tobias Earl was born on a fruit ranch near Red Bluff, California on May 30, 1858. His father was Joseph Earl, his mother Adelia Chaffee, and his brother was Guy Chaffee Earl. He started his career in the shipping of fruits. By 1886, he was President of the Earl Fruit Company. In 1890, he invented the refrigerator car to transport fruits to the East Coast of the United States. He established the Continental Fruit Express and invested US$2,000,000 in refrigerator cars. In 1901, he sold his refrigerator cars to Armour and Company of Chicago and became a millionaire.
By the turn of the 20th century, manufactured ice became more common. The Pacific Fruit Express (PFE) - a joint venture between the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, with a fleet of 6,600 refrigerator cars built by the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF) 1,200 short ton s (1,100 t ) of ice daily, and Roseville's docks could accommodate up to 254 cars. At the industry's peak, 1,300,000 short tons (1,200,000 t) of ice was produced for refrigerator car use annually.- maintained seven natural harvesting facilities, and operated 18 artificial ice plants. Their largest plant (located in Roseville, California) produced
The use of ice to refrigerate and preserve food dates back to prehistoric times. Through the ages, the seasonal harvesting of snow and ice was a regular practice of many cultures. China, Greece, and Rome stored ice and snow in caves, dugouts or ice houses lined with straw or other insulating materials. Rationing of the ice allowed the preservation of foods during hot periods, a practice that was successfully employed for centuries. For most of the 19th century, natural ice (harvested from ponds and lakes) was used to supply refrigerator cars. At high altitudes or northern latitudes, one foot tanks were often filled with water and allowed to freeze. Ice was typically cut into blocks during the winter and stored in insulated warehouses for later use, with sawdust and hay packed around the ice blocks to provide additional insulation. A late-19th century wood-bodied reefer required re-icing every 250 miles (400 km) to 400 miles (640 km). Top icing is the practice of placing a 2-inch (51 mm) to 4-inch (100 mm) layer of crushed ice on top of agricultural products that have high respiration rates, need high relative humidity, and benefit from having the cooling agent sit directly atop the load (or within individual boxes). Cars with pre-cooled fresh produce were top iced just before shipment. Top icing added considerable dead weight to the load. Top-icing a 40-foot (12 m) reefer required in excess of 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg ) of ice. It had been postulated that as the ice melts, the resulting chilled water would trickle down through the load to continue the cooling process. It was found, however, that top-icing only benefited the uppermost layers of the cargo, and that the water from the melting ice often passed through spaces between the cartons and pallets with little or no cooling effect. It was ultimately determined that top-icing is useful only in preventing an increase in temperature, and was eventually discontinued.
The typical service cycle for an ice-cooled produce reefer (generally handled as a part of a bice was sporadic) using specially designed field icing cars.
Refrigerator cars required effective insulation to protect their contents from temperature extremes. "Hairfelt" derived from compressed cattle hair, sandwiched into the floor and walls of the car, was inexpensive, yet flawed over its three- to four-year service life it would decay, rotting out the car's wooden partitions and tainting the cargo with a foul odor. The higher cost of other materials such as "Linofelt" (woven from flax fibers) or cork prevented their widespread adoption. Synthetic materials such as fiberglass and polystyrene foam, both introduced after World War II, offered the most cost-effective and practical solution.
The United States Office of Defense Transportation implemented mandatory pooling of class RS produce refrigerator cars from 1941 through 1948. World War II experience found the cars spending 60 percent of their time traveling loaded, 30 percent traveling empty, and 10 percent idle; and indicated the average 14 loads each car carried per year included 5 requiring bunker icing, 1 requiring heating, and 8 using ventilation or top icing.
Following experience with assorted car specifications, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association (UFF&VA) listed what they considered the best features of ice refrigerator cars in 1948:
In the latter half of the 20th century, mechanical refrigeration began to replace ice-based systems. Soon after, mechanical refrigeration units replaced the "armies" of personnel required to re-ice the cars. The sliding plug door was introduced experimentally by P.F.E. (Pacific Fruit Express) in April 1947, when one of their R-40-10 series cars, #42626, was equipped with one. P.F.E.'s R-40-26 series reefers, designed in 1949 and built in 1951, were the first production series cars to be so equipped. In addition, the Santa Fe Railroad first used plug doors on their SFRD RR-47 series cars, which were also built in 1951. This type of door provided a larger six foot opening to facilitate car loading and unloading. These tight-fitting doors were better insulated and could maintain an even temperature inside the car. By the mid-1970s, the few remaining ice bunker cars were relegated to "top-ice" service, where crushed ice was applied atop the commodity.
The Topeka, Kansas shops of the Santa Fe Railway built five experimental refrigerator cars employing liquid nitrogen as the cooling agent in 1965. A mist induced by liquified nitrogen was released throughout the car if the temperature rose above a pre-determined level. Each car carried 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) of refrigerant and could maintain a temperature of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (−30 °C). During the 1990s, a few railcar manufacturers experimented with the use of liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) as a cooling agent. The move was in response to rising fuel costs, and was an attempt to eliminate the standard mechanical refrigeration systems that required periodic maintenance. The CO2 system can keep the cargo frozen solid as long as 14 to 16 days.
Several hundred "cryogenic" refrigerator cars were placed in service transporting frozen foodstuffs, though they failed to gain wide acceptance (due, in part, to the rising cost of liquid carbon dioxide). Because cryogenic refrigeration is a proven technology and environmentally friendly, the rising price of fuel and the increased availability of carbon dioxide from Kyoto Protocol-induced capturing techniques may lead to a resurgence in cryogenic railcar usage.
Several experimental cars were built when wartime production restrictions were relaxed in 1946:
During the 1930s, the North American Car Company produced a one-of-a-kind, four-wheeled ice bunker reefer intended to serve the needs of specialized shippers who did not generate sufficient product to fill a full-sized refrigerator car. NADX #10000 was a 22-foot (6.71 m)-long, all-steel car that resembled the forty-and-eights used in Europe during World War I. The prototype weighed 13.5 short tons (12.2 t; 12.1 long tons) and was outfitted with a 1,500 lb (680 kg) ice bunker at each end. The car was leased to Hormel and saw service between Chicago, Illinois and the southern United States. The concept failed to gain acceptance with eastern railroads and no additional units were built.
The Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch (SFRD) briefly experimented with dry ice as a cooling agent in 1931. The compound was readily available and seemed like an ideal replacement for frozen water. Dry ice melts at −109 °F or −78.33 °C (versus 32 °F or 0 °C for conventional ice) and was twice as effective thermodynamically. Overall weight was reduced as the need for brine and water was eliminated. While the higher cost of dry ice was certainly a drawback, logistical issues in loading long lines of cars efficiently prevented it from gaining acceptance over conventional ice. Worst of all, it was found that dry ice can adversely affect the color and flavor of certain foods if placed too closely to them.
In 1969, the Northern Pacific Railroad ordered a number of modified covered hopper cars from American Car and Foundry for transporting perishable food in bulk. The 55-foot (16.76 m)-long cars were blanketed with a layer of insulation, equipped with roof hatches for loading, and had centerflow openings along the bottom for fast discharge. A mechanical refrigeration unit was installed at each end of the car, where sheet metal ducting forced cool air into the cargo compartments.
The units, rated at 100 short tons (91 t; 89 long tons) capacity (more than twice that of the largest conventional refrigerator car of the day) were economical to load and unload, as no secondary packaging was required. Apples, carrots, onions, and potatoes were transported in this manner with moderate success. Oranges, on the other hand, tended to burst under their own weight, even after wooden baffles were installed to better distribute the load. The Santa Fe Railway leased 100 of the hoppers from ACF, and in April 1972 purchased 100 new units, known as "Conditionaire" cars.
The cars' irregular, orange-colored outer surface (though darker than the standard AT&SF yellow-orange used on reefers) tended to collect dirt easily, and proved difficult to clean. Santa Fe eventually relegated the cars to more typical, non-refrigerated applications.
Examples of many styles of refrigerator and ice cars can be found at railroad museums around the world.
The Western Pacific Railroad Museum at Portola, California features a very complete roster of 20th century cars, including wood bodied ice cars, steel bodied ice cars, one of the earliest mechanical refrigerator cars, later mechanical refrigerator cars and a cryogenic reefer, as well as several "insulated" boxcars also used for food transport.
The first refrigerated cars in Japan entered service in 1908 for fish transport. Many of these cars were equipped with ice bunkers, however the bunkers were not used generally. Fish were packed in wooden or foam polystyrene boxes with crushed ice.
Fruit and meat transportation in refrigerated rail cars was not common in Japan. For fruits and vegetables, ventilator cars were sufficient due to the short distances involved in transportation. Meat required low temperature storage, transported by ship, since most major Japanese cities are located along the coast.
Refrigerator cars suffered heavy damage in World War II. After the war, the occupation forces confiscated many cars for their own use, utilizing the ice bunkers as originally intended. Supplies were landed primarily at Yokohama, and reefer trains ran from the port to U.S. bases around Japan.
In 1966, JNR developed "resa 10000" and "remufu 10000" type refrigerated cars that could travel at 62 mph (100 km/h) They were used in fish freight express trains. "Tobiuo" (Flying fish) train from Shimonoseki to Tokyo, and "Ginrin" (Silver scale) train from Hakata to Tokyo, were operated.
By the 1960s, refrigerator trucks had begun to displace railcars. Strikes in the 1970s resulted in the loss of reliability and punctuality, important to fish transportation. In 1986, the last refrigerated cars were replaced by reefer containers.
Most Japanese reefers were four-wheeled due to small traffic demands. There were very few bogie wagons in late years. The total number of Japanese reefers numbered approximately 8,100. At their peak, about 5,000 refrigerated cars operated in the late 1960s. Mechanical refrigerators were tested, but did not see widespread use.
There were no privately owned reefers in Japan. This is because fish transportation was protected by national policies and rates were kept low, and there was little profit in refrigerated car ownership.
Due to the shorter distanse to be travelled in the United Kingdom, the need for refrigeration was limited to specialised goods, which could in express-train format - mostly run overnight to avoid delays from passenger traffic - be transported in suitable timescales of less than a day from the area of production to processing, or onwards to the point of consumer consumption.
Hence whilst similar cattle, fish, fruit and farm-fresh produce shipping requirements existed, the need to refrigerate was often minimalised by the use of non-stop express train service to the required destination. In example, the London Midland and Scottish Railway ran specialised express trains from meat producer hubs in Scotland and the North of England to the Smithfield Meat Market in London, with a dedicated goods station located below ground level directly into the market's slaughtering house. The LMS and the LNER also ran express fish trains from Fleetwood and Grimsby to Broad Street to access Billingsgate Fish Market.
The big four railway companies standardised within their own networks their own ice-chilled wagons, which being built with more insulation again minimised the need for onboard mechanical refrigeration. The Great Western Railway designed and built their own Mica A (ventilated) and Mica B (Non-vetilated) vans for such express produce trains, with ice supplied by the original product producer from their own plant.
One specialised form of fresh produce train which existed in the UK was the milk train, which through use of specialised chilled glass-lined wagons remained in service until 1981.
Like many railways around the world, modern UK railways do ship specialised refrigerated containers on intermodal trains, with such trains now taking-over the roll again from long-distance trucking on hub-to-hub routes to reduce carbon foot print. DB Cargo UK runs Europe's longest-distance single-operator handled train from Valencia, Spain to Barking in East London twice weekly, in partnership with Eddie Stobart Logistics and retailler Tesco's, shipping fresh fruit and produce 1,800 km in refrigerated ISO containers.
Standard refrigerated transport is often utilized for goods with less than 14 days of refrigerated "shelf life" — avocados, cut flowers, green leafy vegetables, lettuce, mangoes, meat products, mushrooms, peaches and nectarines, pineapples and papayas, sweet cherries, and tomatoes. "Express" reefers are typically employed in the transport of special perishables: commodities with a refrigerated shelf life of less than seven days, such as human blood, fish, green onions, milk, strawberries, and certain pharmaceuticals.
The earliest express-service refrigerator cars entered service around 1890, shortly after the first express train routes were established in North America. The cars did not come into general use until the early 20th century. Most units designed for express service are larger than their standard counterparts, and are typically constructed more along the lines of baggage cars than freight equipment. Cars must be equipped with speed-rated trucks and brakes, and — if they are to be run ahead of the passenger car, must also incorporate an air line for pneumatic braking, a communication signal air line, and a steam line for train heating. Express units were typically painted in passenger car colors, such as Pullman green.
The first purpose-built express reefer emerged from the Erie Railroad Susquehanna Shops on August 1, 1886. By 1927, some 2,218 express cars traveled America's rails, and three years later that number rose to 3,264. In 1940, private rail lines began to build and operate their own reefers, the Railway Express Agency (REA) being by far the largest. In 1948, the REA roster (which would continue to expand into the 1950s) numbered approximately 1,800 cars, many of which were World War II "troop sleepers" modified for express refrigerated transport. By 1965, due to a decline in refrigerated traffic, many express reefers were leased to railroads for use as bulk mail carriers.
For many years, virtually all of the perishable traffic in the United States was carried by the railroads. While railroads were subject to government regulation regarding shipping rates, trucking companies could set their own rate for hauling agricultural products, giving them a competitive advantage. In March 1979, the ICC exempted rail transportation of fresh fruits and vegetables from all economic regulation. Once the "Agricultural Exemption Clause" was removed from the Interstate Commerce Act, railroads began aggressively pursuing trailer-on-flatcar (TOFC) business (a form of intermodal freight transport) for refrigerated trailers. Taking this one step further, a number of carriers (including the PFE and SFRD) purchased their own refrigerated trailers to compete with interstate trucks.
In 1970, Tropicana orange juice was shipped in bulk via insulated boxcars in one weekly round-trip from Bradenton, Florida, to Kearny, New Jersey. By the following year, the company was operating two 60-car unit trains a week, each carrying around 1,000,000 US gallons (3,800,000 L; 830,000 imp gal) of juice. On June 7, 1971, the "Great White Juice Train" (the first unit train in the food industry, consisting of 150 100-short-ton (91 t; 89-long-ton) insulated boxcars fabricated in the Alexandria, Virginia, shops of Fruit Growers Express) commenced service over the 1,250 miles (2,010 km) route. An additional 100 cars were soon added, and small mechanical refrigeration units were installed to keep temperatures constant. Tropicana saved $40 million in fuel costs during the first ten years in operation.
In 2006 Railex LLC launched service in partnership with the Union Pacific Railroad and CSX between Wallula, Washington, and Rotterdam, New York, followed in 2008 by a Delano, California, to NY line, and Jacksonville, Florida service from the west coast in 2014. Railex runs unit trains of 55 large, "plate F" refrigerated cars.Two additional refrigerated unit-train services were announced in 2013, the Green Express, from Tampa, Florida to Kingsbury, Indiana, operated by CSX and the Tampa Port Authority, and the TransCold Express operated by McKay Transcold, LLC and BNSF, connecting the California Central Valley with the midwest.
|RA||Brine-tank ice bunkers||RPB||Mechanical refrigerator with electro-mechanical axle drive|
|RAM||Brine-tank ice bunkers with beef rails||RPL||Mechanical refrigerator with loading devices|
|RAMH||Brine-tank with beef rails and heaters||RPM||Mechanical refrigerator with beef rails|
|RB||No ice bunkers — heavy insulation||RS||Bunker refrigerator — common ice bunker car|
|RBL||No ice bunkers and loading devices||RSB||Bunker refrigerator — air fans and loading devices|
|RBH||No ice bunkers — gas heaters||RSM||Bunker refrigerator with beef rails|
|RBLH||No ice bunkers — loading devices and heaters||RSMH||Bunker refrigerator with beef rails and heaters|
|RCD||Solid carbon-dioxide refrigerator||RSTC||Bunker refrigerator — electric air fans|
|RLO||Special car type — permanently enclosed (covered hopper type)||RSTM||Bunker refrigerator — electric air fans and beef rails|
Refrigeration is the process of cooling a space, substance, or system to lower and/or maintain its temperature below the ambient one. In other words, refrigeration means artificial (human-made) cooling. Heat is removed from a low-temperature reservoir and transferred to a high-temperature reservoir. The work of heat transfer is traditionally driven by mechanical means, but can also be driven by heat, magnetism, electricity, laser, or other means. Refrigeration has many applications, including, but not limited to: household refrigerators, industrial freezers, cryogenics, and air conditioning. Heat pumps may use the heat output of the refrigeration process, and also may be designed to be reversible, but are otherwise similar to air conditioning units.
Reefer may refer to:
A reefer ship is a refrigerated cargo ship, typically used to transport perishable commodities which require temperature-controlled transportation, such as fruit, meat, fish, vegetables, dairy products and other foods.
In railroad terminology, a stock car, cattle car, cattle truck or cattle wagon is a type of rolling stock used for carrying livestock to market. A traditional stock car resembles a boxcar with louvered instead of solid car sides for the purpose of providing ventilation; stock cars can be single-level for large animals such as cattle or horses, or they can have two or three levels for smaller animals such as sheep, pigs, and poultry. Specialized types of stock cars have been built to haul live fish and shellfish and circus animals such as camels and elephants. Until the 1880s, when the Mather Stock Car Company and others introduced "more humane" stock cars, death rates could be quite high as the animals were hauled over long distances. Improved technology and faster shipping times have greatly reduced deaths.
In United States railroad terminology, a troop sleeper was a railroad passenger car which had been constructed to serve as something of a mobile barracks for transporting troops over distances sufficient to require overnight accommodations. This method allowed part of the trip to be made overnight, reducing the amount of transit time required and increasing travel efficiency.
A refrigerator consists of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump that transfers heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so that the inside of the fridge is cooled to a temperature below the room temperature. Refrigeration is an essential food storage technique in developed countries. The lower temperature lowers the reproduction rate of bacteria, so the refrigerator reduces the rate of spoilage. A refrigerator maintains a temperature a few degrees above the freezing point of water. Optimum temperature range for perishable food storage is 3 to 5 °C. A similar device that maintains a temperature below the freezing point of water is called a freezer. The refrigerator replaced the icebox, which had been a common household appliance for almost a century and a half.
"Juice Train" is the popular name for famous unit trains of Tropicana fresh orange juice operated by railroads in the United States.
Gustavus Franklin Swift, Sr. was an American business executive. He founded a meat-packing empire in the Midwest during the late 19th century, over which he presided until his death. He is credited with the development of the first practical ice-cooled railroad car, which allowed his company to ship dressed meats to all parts of the country and abroad, ushering in the "era of cheap beef." Swift pioneered the use of animal by-products for the manufacture of soap, glue, fertilizer, various types of sundries, and even medical products.
An icebox is a compact non-mechanical refrigerator which was a common early-twentieth-century kitchen appliance before the development of safely powered refrigeration devices. Before the development of electric refrigerators, iceboxes were referred to by the public as "refrigerators". Only after the invention of the modern day electric refrigerator did the early non electric refrigerators become known as an icebox. The terms ice box and refrigerator were used interchangeably in advertising as long ago as 1848.
Fruit Growers Express (FGE) was a railroad refrigerator car leasing company that began as a produce-hauling subsidiary of Armour and Company's private refrigerator car line. Its customers complained they were overcharged. In 1919 the Federal Trade Commission ordered the company's sale for antitrust reasons.
The Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch was a railroad refrigerator car line established as a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1884 to carry perishable commodities. Though the line started out with a mere 25 ventilated fruit cars and 8 ice-cooled refrigerator cars, by 1910 its roster had swollen to 6,055 total units.
The Merchants Despatch Transportation Company was established in 1857 or 1858 by the American Express Company of New York. The entity was reformed as a joint stock trading company on June 1, 1869, with ownership divided among the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railway (CCC&I), the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, and the New York Central Railroad (NYC), all part of the Cornelius Vanderbilt rail empire.
The Swift Refrigerator Line was a private refrigerator car line established around 1875 by Chicago meat packer Gustavus Swift, the founder of Swift and Company.
Two distinct and separate railroad refrigerator car companies have operated under the name Western Refrigerator Line.
Milk cars are a specialized type of railroad car intended to transport raw milk from collection points near dairy farms to a processing creamery. Some milk cars were intended for loading with multiple cans of milk, while others were designed with a single tank for bulk loading. Milk cars were often equipped with high-speed passenger trucks, passenger-type buffer plates, and train signal and steam lines seldom found on conventional refrigerator cars.
A refrigerated container or reefer is an intermodal container used in intermodal freight transport that is refrigerated for the transportation of temperature-sensitive cargo.
A refrigerator truck or chiller lorry is a van or truck designed to carry perishable freight at specific temperatures. Like refrigerator cars, refrigerated trucks differ from simple insulated and ventilated vans, neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus. Refrigerator trucks can be ice-cooled, equipped with any one of a variety of mechanical refrigeration systems powered by small displacement diesel engines, or utilize carbon dioxide as a cooling agent.
A refrigerated van is a railway goods wagon with cooling equipment. Today they are designated by the International Union of Railways (UIC) as Class I.
The ice trade, also known as the frozen water trade, was a 19th-century and early-20th-century industry, centring on the east coast of the United States and Norway, involving the large-scale harvesting, transport and sale of natural ice, and later the making and sale of artificial ice, for domestic consumption and commercial purposes. Ice was cut from the surface of ponds and streams, then stored in ice houses, before being sent on by ship, barge or railroad to its final destination around the world. Networks of ice wagons were typically used to distribute the product to the final domestic and smaller commercial customers. The ice trade revolutionised the U.S. meat, vegetable and fruit industries, enabled significant growth in the fishing industry, and encouraged the introduction of a range of new drinks and foods.
The Victorian Railways used a variety of air-cooled and iced wagons or refrigerated vans for the transport of all manner of goods. This page covers the history and development of the various classes, and how they changed through their lives.