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REA Refer Question...

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REA Refer Question...
Posted by marksrailroad on Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:57 PM

Hey guys. Can someone tell me what REA refers carried and what railroads used them.

Thanks in advance...

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Posted by DSchmitt on Saturday, December 30, 2017 2:21 PM

The REA express reefer carried any product consigned to the REA for shipment that needed to be refrigerated    Most often seasonal berries and fruit when speedy delivery was necessary.

  http://www.sunshinekits.com/sunimages/sun27e.pdf

 

Note that they were also designed to carry dry goods (non refrigerated) with ice bunkers colasped.  So they could carry anything shipped by REA.

They were owned by the REA (Railway Express Angency).  The REA was owned by the railroads.   Rpt mark   REX

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by marksrailroad on Saturday, December 30, 2017 3:05 PM

Thanks guys. I only have one REA refer in my collection but have always wondered about its history and so forth. All I know about it is that Santa Fe used them a lot.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:29 AM

Streamliners and short passenger trains also had them on the headend in the late 60's if to make up for losing the RPO's. There could be as many as 3-4 REA refers in a train behind the locomotives.

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Posted by 7j43k on Sunday, December 31, 2017 12:26 PM

Railway Express was used for small package transportation.

So a person might wonder at their extensive purchase and use of refrigerator cars.

Very few small packages needed refrigeration.  And suppose one did.  You walk down to your local REA office, and drop off your package of "whatever, but needs refrigeration".  Does the REA agent then schedule a refrigerator car for your package?  How would that all work, being as most small packages didn't need refrigeration?

Two possibilities come to mind:

One is that REA needed express cars.  By buying refrigerated cars, they could run them either "cold", or not.  Perhaps usually not.  Also, being insulated, the contents wouldn't suffer hugely fluctuating temperatures.

The other is that REA thought it a good idea to get into the refrigerated express fruit and vegetable transportation area.  Keep in mind that many railroads already had refrigerated express cars.  Perhaps REA thought it something they could naturally expand into.

Or both.

In 1945, a year of extensive REA useage, REA owned 741 cars.

1  business car

6  horse express cars

734 express refrigerator cars

0  express cars

Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, December 31, 2017 5:34 PM

While I'm sure that REA cars were often seen in Canada, both the CNR and CPR had their own express businesses, including refrigerated cars.  One thing to which I've often seen references for the Canadian cars was cut flowers - very time-sensitive and I'd guess a year-round commodity, too.  I'd guess that to be the case in the U.S., too.
While there were dedicated reefer trains from the south, and probably on priority schedules, express reefers travelled on express schedules, whether in passenger trains or mail/express trains.  So for priority perishable freight (fish and flowers come to mind, but there must be others to justify that number of reefers), the fastest shipping would not be in a freight train.

Apparently, when REA was re-organised, 86 railroads had controlling interest commensurate to their express traffic, so there's probably a good chance their express cars became part of the REA pool.

Wayne

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:43 PM

I'm sure REA reefer were gone by the late 60's/early 70's.

A few may survive today.

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Posted by Paul3 on Sunday, December 31, 2017 11:50 PM

Another reason to use reefers is that in addition to being insulated, they are also sealed air-tight (or as much as possible).  Railroading has been and will always be a dirty business, and regular boxcar and baggage car doors let in moisture and dirt like you wouldn't believe.

A reefer offers a clean(er) experience for freight.  For example, you could send newsprint/magazines in a reefer but not in a regular boxcar.

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Posted by DSchmitt on Monday, January 01, 2018 12:18 AM

from     

 

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,2657858,nodelay=1

"01/11/12 14:21

Re: REA 50' express reefers
Author: CShaveRR  

The REA Express refrigerator cars you're most likely referring to were their most recent cars, built in about 1957: REX 6900-7899. 

In the late 1960s, additional reporting marks were added and given to some of these cars based on their assignments (OREX=C&O/B&O, PREX=PC, SREX=MILW). 

Reporting marks REX (and the other three) disappeared in 1973 or 1974, with various companies purchasing over 800 of the original 1000 cars. San Luis Central got the most: 500 cars, numbered in SLC series 200-699 originally (some were modified and renumbered above 700).

Carl Shaver
Lombard, IL"

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, January 01, 2018 1:38 AM

Any pics of them at museums?

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Posted by DSchmitt on Monday, January 01, 2018 2:00 AM

Looks like here              http://slorrm.com/QR-REA.html

 

 

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

I don't have a leg to stand on.

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Posted by JWhite on Monday, January 01, 2018 1:51 PM

I have consist list of IC passenger trains through Memphis on October 6, 1946.

Train 25 departed Memphis at 9:25 PM with 17 cars, 12 of them were express cars, two were mail cars, 3 were actual passenger cars.

Train number 1, the Panama Limited, departed Memphis at 11:15 PM with 16 cars, 3 of which were express cars, one arrying milk and the other two express freight.

There were a lot of REA cars in use in that era.  The IC ran a strawberry train, The Crimson Flyer which was all REA reefers with an old coach to carry the messengers from the produce dealers in place of a caboose.  It would start in Louisiana and head north to Chicago.  Often the carloads hadn't been sold yet and the sales force would work the phones and the wires and cars would be set off at interchange points as the berries were sold.  The messengers were responsible for inspecting the berries at stops and often for selling the berries to local produce dealers.

Jeff White

Alma, IL

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, January 01, 2018 4:58 PM

JWhite
There were a lot of REA cars in use in that era.

I understand there was a great deal of traffic generated by fresh-cut flowers, too. I don't have specifics but I recall some old timers discussing it a while back.

 REA_Express by Edmund, on Flickr


Thank You, Ed

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, January 01, 2018 10:10 PM

I just went through the consists for SP&S passenger trains for the first half of 1945. 

I would have thought there would have been more REA express reefers than there were.  In 6 months, there were only maybe 5.  There WERE express reefers from other roads.

Don't assume that every express reefer is REA.

 

Ed

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Posted by JWhite on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 3:45 PM

I've got photographs of express reefers and even some mail storage cars that are lettered for a railroad and Railway Express Agency.  Who owned the cars?  I'm assuming that REA owned them and leased them back to the railroad, but maybe it was the other way around.

Anyone know what the arrangement was.  The article I read about the IC Crimson Flyer talked about gathering REA reefers from all over the country a few weeks before the strawberry harvest and moving them to Louisiana.  They needed to be cleaned and pre-cooled.

Jeff White

Alma, IL

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 5:50 PM

JWhite

I've got photographs of express reefers and even some mail storage cars that are lettered for a railroad and Railway Express Agency.  Who owned the cars?  I'm assuming that REA owned them and leased them back to the railroad, but maybe it was the other way around.

Anyone know what the arrangement was.  The article I read about the IC Crimson Flyer talked about gathering REA reefers from all over the country a few weeks before the strawberry harvest and moving them to Louisiana.  They needed to be cleaned and pre-cooled.

Jeff White

Alma, IL

 

 

I've got photos of Great Northern gas electrics lettered for a railroad and Railway Express Agency.  They most definitely were not owned by REA.

I expect all the cars you're referring to that had a railroad name were railroad owned.

Beyond that, I'm not sure what the arrangement was.  One version could be that REA leased a certain amount of space and could then have their name on the car side.  A somewhat less likely possibility was that if a railroad-owned car EVER wanted to carry REA packages, they would have to have the lettering--so the railroad would then put the lettering on everything that might possible be used, ever.

 

Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, January 03, 2018 7:26 PM

Mike's post, third down from the top of this thread, includes a link to the history of the Railway Express Agency, which explains the operations and car ownership situation over the years in which it existed.

Wayne

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