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August 1977 - Page 48


T? e sub tle weathering of this model does much to point up the excellence of the author, the authentic appearance of the car, and a fme model of a proto type reefer. The photo is by the author.

PFE W ood-Sheathed

by R. H. Hendrickson

Steel End Reefers
likely that the numbers above 67420 were never used, and that not all of the num bers between 62501 and 67420 were actually assigned. Also, the evidence I've seen indicates that both 30 ton and 40 ton wood-sheathed reefers were rebuilt with steel ends (the two types were virtually identical except for the size of the truck journals), and that 30 ton cars were re classified R-30-21 while the 40 ton cars were reclassified R-40-21. Anyway, I 've seen photos of car no. 64599, rebuilt in 1-46 as class R-30-21 and car no. 65309, rebuilt in 2-46 as class R-40-2 1 , so these two class/number combinations I 'm sure are correct.

D uring the 1920s Pacific Fruit Express established the world's largest fleet of refrigerator cars by purchasing thousands of 40' wood-sheathed reefers built to a standard PFE design. By the mid-thirties, year and tear were beginning to take their toll on these cars, so an extensive renova tion program was begun which lasted into the 1950s. Eventually, almost all of PFE's surviving wood-sheathed reefers were vari ously rebuilt, reclassified, and renumbered, some of them more than once (a process which made a historian's nightmare of the PFE roster) . This rebuilding program gained added impetus from the freight car shortages of the World War II period, so that by the mid-forties older wood-sheathed cars were being modernized in the PFE

shops to the extent of receiving AB brake equipment, air circulating fans, new roofs, and all-steel drednaught style ends. Trans formed this way, they represented a dis tinctive transition between the completely wood sheathed reefers of the 1920s and the all-steel cars of the post-war period. Though the numbering and classifica tion of PFE's rebuilt reefers remains some what puzzling, the steel-end rebuilds were apparently assigned numbers in the 6250169999 series. Not all of these numbers were used, however; according to the January, 1948, Railway Equipment Reg ister, there were only 3482 live cars in the series at that time. This issue of the regis ter also shows cars numbered 63501-67420 as being equipped with air circulating fans, which would add up to over 3900 cars if all numbers were assigned. So it seems

Modeling a wood-sheathed, steel-end

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