The Pennsy Modeler

In order to portray Pennsylvania Railroad and interchange partners as accurately as possible, this blog contains articles which are essentially notes to myself, but are shared should the community desire the same information.

Articles are sorted by modification date, so if an existing article receives an update it will be presented at the top of the list again.

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Western Fruit Express (WFE) was a railroad refrigerator car leasing company formed by the Fruit Growers Express and the Great Northern Railway on July 18, 1923 in order to compete with the Pacific Fruit Express and Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch in the Western United States. The arrangement added 3,000 cars to the FGE's existing equipment pool. It is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF), the Great Northern's successor.

The success of the WFE led to the creation of the Burlington Refrigerator Express (BREX) in May 1926.

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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 anti-trust reasons. Fruit Growers Express was incorporated in Delaware on March 18, 1920 -- based out of Washington, D.C. -- to provide a shared reefer pool for the benefit of the ACL, B&O, PRR and Southern Railroads. Additional railroads later joined -- New Haven and N&W (1920), L&N and FEC (1923), C&O (1927), NYO&J (1931), and Pere Marquette (1940). (This list may not be all-inclusive.)

In order to compete with the Pacific Fruit Express and Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch in the west, FGE and the Great Northern Railway formed the Western Fruit Express (WFE) on July 18, 1923, a move that added 3,000 cars to the equipment pool. By 1926, FGE had expanded its service into the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest through the WFE and the Burlington Refrigerator Express (BREX), its other partly owned subsidiary (formed in partnership with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) on May 1). That same year, FGE purchased 2,676 36-foot-long (11 m) reefers from the Pennsylvania Railroad.In order to compete with the Pacific Fruit Express and Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch in the west, FGE and the Great Northern Railway formed the Western Fruit Express (WFE) on July 18, 1923, a move that added 3,000 cars to the equipment pool. By 1926, FGE had expanded its service into the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest through the WFE and the Burlington Refrigerator Express (BREX), its other partly owned subsidiary (formed in partnership with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) on May 1). That same year, FGE purchased 2,676 36-foot-long (11 m) reefers from the Pennsylvania Railroad.

In February, 1928 FGE formed the National Car Company as a subsidiary to service the meat transportation market. Customers included Kahns, Oscar Mayer, and Rath Packing.

The company is now controlled by the CSX Corporation.

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strates posterStrates Shows, America's only railroad carnival, travels the United States during a seven-month season, transporting personnel and equipment with 61 rail cars and 34 trucks. Traveling with the show are some 400 employees and families who operate the many rides, games and concessions.

26001334 1755336301177512 4600953790711396682 nThe Railway Express Agency (founded as American Railway Express Agency; later, American Railway Express Inc.) was a national package delivery service that operated in the United States from 1918 to 1975. REA arranged transport and delivery via existing railroad infrastructure, much as today's UPS or DHL companies use roads and air transport. It was created through the forced consolidation of existing services into a federal near-monopoly to ensure the rapid and safe movement of parcels, money, and goods during World War I.

REA ceased operations in 1975, when its business model ceased to be viable.

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Pacific Fruit Express (reporting mark PFE) was an American railroad refrigerator car leasing company that at one point was the largest refrigerator car operator in the world.

The company was founded on December 7, 1906 as a joint venture between the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. It began operation on October 1, 1907, with a fleet of 6,600 refrigerator cars built by the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF). The company was founded on December 7, 1906 as a joint venture between the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads. It began operation on October 1, 1907, with a fleet of 6,600 refrigerator cars built by the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF).

In 1923, the Western Pacific Railroad joined the venture by leasing its own new fleet of 2775 reefers to PFE. They were painted in standard PFE colors with only WP heralds on the cars instead of the paired UP-SP markings. The WP cars were all retired by the late 1950s, among the last wooden reefers in PFE's fleet. WP ended its partnership with PFE in late 1967 and joined Fruit Growers Express instead.

PFE's assets were divided between the UP and SP when the company was split on April 1, 1978. It is now a UP subsidiary.

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Nope, no Pennsy content here! I've always been a closet Auto Train fan, ever since it was first featured in Model Railroader in December 1972 and January 1973. I had the privilege of riding the train later in 1973.

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by Doug Riddell

Published in 2016 by Doug Riddell with the underwriting of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Historical Society, auto-train is the definitive work on the auto-train Corp. story to date.

At 218 pages, the book is filled with tales of the auto-train, from its first days to its last -- all lavishly illustrated with hundreds of color photos.

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Over the years, many lettering "schemes" have graced the sides of the Pennsy's vast fleet of rolling stock used in freight revenue service. This is a brief summary of an article by Brady McGuire which originally appeared in the Summer 1988 (Vol.21 No.2) issue of The Keystone, published by the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. I highly recommend referring to the original text which contained much more information, prototype photos as examples, and official painting and lettering diagrams.

For modeling purposes, please remember that a particular scheme could be seen well after the period indicated below for the scheme. The period indicated represents what scheme would be applied to a car if painted during the period in question. But many cars, especially gondolas, were rarely repainted. For instance, a Circle Keystone gondola might be seen well into the 1960s...or even today!

Lettering banners and slogans were periodic modifications to lettering schemes which were not tied to a specific scheme but rather to a type of service or concept. For example, "Merchandise Service" or "Buy War Bonds".

reefer train.jpgAs of 1954, the PRR's "Makeup of Trains" consist books list show only PRR reefers used in the creation of passenger trains. With few exceptions, class R50b is prescribed. Videos and photos, however, show Railway Express Agency reefers in use as well, though to a lesser extent.

The following table was created from data contained in The Official Railway Equipment Register.

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General Information

Gregg Mahlkov writes "Fresh fruits and vegetables went to two types of consignees. The largest portion, by 1954, would have gone to grocery store chain warehouses, like Acme Markets of Philadelphia. The remainder would have gone to the "Pennsylvania Produce Terminals" in the larger cities, where it was sold by brokers who maintained offices and leased trackage in the terminal and sold to restaurants and independent grocery stores."

These are the paint schemes applied to the GG1 over the course of the Pennsy. The green was actually darker, but is shown light here in order to contrast with black.

Early Prototype Scheme
1934 PRR: Dark Green, block pinstriping, small number keystone

1934: 4899/4800 only. (unit changed numbers in this scheme)

Developed by the PRR, this scheme predates the Loewy design. A similar design was used on the R1 experimental.

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