Shipping Seafood

Bill Parks

Copying this from another group -

Anyone on here have any information about how Florida seafood was handled?


The comments below are a bit off our main interest (citrus) but this has some bearing on refrigerator car utilization and assignments.


James Dick said, "Seafood shipping is where refrigerators went to die, not unlike hide cars in the same manner.


I have a copy of a letter (somewhere in the pile of research data spread about the house) that an officer of the (my studied) railroad stated "refrigerator cars, once used for the shipment of fish, are unsuitable for any other commodity". Not unlike the fish impregnated Styrofoam coolers that people state innocently "Oh, I've got a cooler you can have, for free".


How did my railroad keep this usage in check? A number series sufficient to handle said fish trade was transferred out of general (reefer) usage and into the fish/seafood trade."


Keith Jordan commented, "If cars were in dedicated service, there would be bulletins, etc., that would indicate which cars were in a particular service or restricted from general service."


I seem to recall the assignment to Galveston, TX, of some SFRD reefers for seafood service. Keith also cited San Diego and said a photo in the Santa Fe reefer book (Page 144) shows a white “Fish Loading Return To San Diego When Empty” rectangle painted on the side of a Class Rr-33 reefer, SFRD 36350.


He noted that signage may have been the way these reefers were “controlled,” and thus restricted to some sort of “shuttle” service, i.e., not allowed to be sent to the citrus regions. He also said opening the door to the reefer would tell you a lot as well! The caption stated that once a reefer was in fish service it was always in fish service.