I know that shellfish were shipped as far as Chicago by rail.

How were fresh fish shipped by rail? 

Were the fish shipped in ordinary ice bunker refrigerator cars? Were they shipped in box cars in barrels? Were they shipped in REA head end cars? Were there special trains scheduled for transporting fresh fish?

Are there any articles or books that describe this service that you can refer me to.

Thank you.

 

 

Original Post

Interesting article on transporting fish for stocking.

I am looking for information about shipping fresh fish to eat.

Think "Cannery Row" most fish was canned at the dock.

Reefers were not for Frozen food, just food that should be keep cool.

Express shipments on fast passenger trains with Dry Ice may have been used by high end shippers.

Today Fresh Fish is flow to markets around the world, something the fastest train could not do.

Some heavyweight baggage cars and express boxcars were equipped with fish racks. This was essentially a slotted floor with a drain pan underneath to direct away the water from the melted ice. The fresh fish was packed in boxes or totes, surrounded by crushed ice. I don’t specifically know how the crushed ice was periodically replenished en route. 

I found a few pictures by doing a Google Image search using “baggage car fish racks”. Also diagrams in the GN Passenger Car diagrams which can sometimes be located online. 

I have an interesting story about fresh fish being shipped by rail.

July 5, 1961.  The westbound PRR General-Trailblazer struck a semi tractor-trailer carrying a punch press that high-pointed on the SR 49 railroad crossing in Convoy, Ohio.  The train was being pulled by three E7 locomotives.  The lead unit remained on the tracks, but the two trailing units, as well as an express car, baggage car, lounge car and four coaches all derailed.  While all remained upright, several were leaning at a 45 degree angle. There were no fatalities, however, eleven were injured.  One seriously.

The express car was filled with fresh fish heading from New York to Chicago.  As the car was damaged and the tracks were torn up, it was not going to make a timely delivery to Chicago.  The clean up crew decided that the best course of action was to give the fish away to the local citizens.  My father and grandfather gathered as many coolers as they could find and went down to the wreck site.  They, along with many other residents, ate fresh fish for several days.  What couldn't be eaten was put into freezers for consumption later.  I remember my grandfather talking about the awful smell, as not all of the fish was taken and it began to rot in the summer heat.  He never said how the fish was packed in the express car.

Here are some photos that my mother took of the wreck.

2 Train Wreck 19617-5-61 Train WreckJul 5, 1961 wreck in Convoy 5 37 AMTrain Wreck 19611961 Train Wreck 11961 Train Wreck 2

Tom

Attachments

Images (6)
Tom Densel posted:

I have an interesting story about fresh fish being shipped by rail.

July 5, 1961.  The westbound PRR General-Trailblazer struck a semi tractor-trailer carrying a punch press that high-pointed on the SR 49 railroad crossing in Convoy, Ohio.  The train was being pulled by three E7 locomotives.  The lead unit remained on the tracks, but the two trailing units, as well as an express car, baggage car, lounge car and four coaches all derailed.  While all remained upright, several were leaning at a 45 degree angle. There were no fatalities, however, eleven were injured.  One seriously.

The express car was filled with fresh fish heading from New York to Chicago.  As the car was damaged and the tracks were torn up, it was not going to make a timely delivery to Chicago.  The clean up crew decided that the best course of action was to give the fish away to the local citizens.  My father and grandfather gathered as many coolers as they could find and went down to the wreck site.  They, along with many other residents, ate fresh fish for several days.  What couldn't be eaten was put into freezers for consumption later.  I remember my grandfather talking about the awful smell, as not all of the fish was taken and it began to rot in the summer heat.  He never said how the fish was packed in the express car.

Here are some photos that my mother took of the wreck.

2 Train Wreck 19617-5-61 Train WreckJul 5, 1961 wreck in Convoy 5 37 AMTrain Wreck 19611961 Train Wreck 11961 Train Wreck 2

Tom

I remember hearing that story

Great story.

Appears that the fish had to get to their destination quickly in cars that could be connected to passenger trains.

Hope to hear some more.

ctr posted:

Great story.

Appears that the fish had to get to their destination quickly in cars that could be connected to passenger trains.

Not really, as back in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, pretty much only Railway Express Agency cars would have been included in only some passenger trains. The "top of the line" passenger trains, such as the Super Chief, California Zephyr, 20th Century Limited, Broadway Limited, etc did NOT carry express cars. Plus, as stated earlier, most fish would have been canned back in those days. By the 1960s, fresh fish would have been transported by air, on ice.

Hope to hear some more.

 

Well, I know that Connecticut towns like Stonington, Noank, etc. sent fresh fish and shellfish into NYC via express, hence the famous Grand Central Oyster Bar.  Other seafood was canned, and not a little was just ground up, squeezed to extract the oil, and then sold as fish meal fertilizer.

We have a story similar to Tom Denzel's.  Supposedly, a car carrying live lobsters derailed in North Manchester, CT.  But, not being familiar with the creepy crawling crustaceans, the locals are said to have just started hitting them with sticks.  Would definitely be worth modeling if you had the space!

Because I didn't like the stuff I have clear childhood (probably '55-'60 when I was 5-10yr old) memories of fresh Swordfish for supper. It came from the A&P supermarket in Arnold, Pa. About 300mi from the sea. The store was served by a PRR siding and although I can't speak directly regarding Swordfish shipment methods I do remember in season there would be a display of Imperial Valley cantaloupe Dad said had been unloaded from the Reefer parked on the siding. I suppose the fish could have come in by truck because the Pennsylvania Turnpike had an interchange about 5mi from the A&P but that siding often/usually had a car or cars on it. I wonder now how their distribution system worked. Surely much of what came in was in LCL lots but I have no idea as to how many carloads a month of food moved through that store. Maybe the fish came in with the meat&poultry in a Reefer from an A&P warehouse?

My railroad "Bible", Beebe and Clegg's "Mixed Train Daily", on pages 38-39, has pictures of a shipment of mullet being transferred from a Central of Georgia baggage car to a Sylvania Central center door combine baggage compartment.

Add Reply

Post
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×