The Merchants Despatch Transportation Company (MDT, also known as the Merchants Despatch Refrigerator Line) was established in 1857 or 1858 by the American Express Company of New York (then a freight forwarding service). 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.
Notable Number Series
Series @ 118, 134 bore the reporting mark SUCX and were leased to Sioux City Dressed Beef.
Series @ 122 bore the reporting mark MIDX and were leased to Minnesota Iowa and Dakota Packing Company (MID).
Series 200-799 bore reporting mark DSDX and were leased to Dairy Shippers Despatch Company. (They owned others and also leased from National Car Company.)
Series 300-399 all-steel reefers appeared between 1948-50 and bore the reporting mark APPX and were leased to the Agar Packing Company (Chicago).
Series @ 401, 434 wood-side reefers would have been built circa 1936-37 and bore the reporting mark MERX and were leased to National Packing Company. They featured square-corner Dreadnaught ends and a Universal 2050 hand brake.
Series @ 547 bore the reporting mark MERX and were leased to National Packing Company.
Series @ 700 bore the reporting mark IBPX and were leased to Iowa Beef Packers (IBP).
Series @ 902, 908 were built before 1937 and were leased to Oscar Mayer.
Series 9000-9499 were built in 1947 and equipped with half stage icing and Preco FG-43 floor fans.
Series 9500-10999 were built in 1949-50s and equipped with half stage icing and Preco FK-3 air circulating fans
Series 11000-13999 were equipped for stage icing, air circulating fans, Miner D-3290-XL hand brake and the Standard Improved R2/4 Dreadnaught ends. Cars 12200-12699 had Equipco M-289-3 overhead fans. Some cars from this series bore the NYC logo.
Series 14000-14199 were equipped with plug doors, staged icing, and air circulating fans.
Series 16000-16799 bore the reporting mark NRC (Northern Refrigerator Car Line) and Illinois Central logo.
Series 17000-18999 were 1943-53 rebuilds of series 16000-18999 which were originally built in the 1930s. Rebuilding included half stage icing and Preco Model AA-28 air circulating fans.
Series 18500-19299 were all-steel cars with flat ends with the reporting mark NRC (Northern Refrigerator Car Line).
Series 19400-19499 were all-steel cars with reporting mark NRC (Northern Refrigerator Car Line). Until the merger with the Illinois Central, some bore the logo of the Bulf, Mobile and Ohio.
Series @ 52131 bore the reporting mark QMRX.