B&M Banana Reefer Cars

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B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby railfan1988 » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:01 pm

Does anyone have any information on the Boston and Maine reefer cars that were used to ship bananas? I believe they had a yellowish-orange paint scheme and said "Banana Service Only" on them. To whom did the Boston and Maine deliver these reefer cars and why were they only used for bananas? Also, for modeling purposes, I have seen a G scale model of this car, made by USA Trains.
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby edbear » Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:36 pm

Although I worked for the B & M (1968-86) the subject of the banana reefers never came up. However, I'd guess the banana boats came into the Hoosac Docks, which was Boston's wharf for the Savannah Line. United Fruit was headquartered in Boston and served Central American ports from where bananas are shipped. Banana reefers were probably cooled at much higher temps than regular reefers. United might have landed at Commonwealth Pier and I think B & M had a lighter to move freight from Commonwealth to Hoosac. Stick a banana into your refrigerator (at about 40 degrees) and see what happens.
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby Ocala Mike » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:07 pm

I can't resist posting this, mostly because I'm old enough to remember it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhif_hPP56A
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby jbvb » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:10 pm

The B&M Bulletin has printed a bit about the B&M's banana loading/shipping operation, but I don't recall seeing specific dates. In November 2005, the late Tim Gilbert wrote on BM_RR@yahoogroups.com that the cars were bought in 1923 and that at least one retained the special paint in 1943. The Yahoo group has an open archive, so anyone can search it.
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby philipmartin » Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:51 am

I was a freight handler for the New York Central, 1955-56. United Fruit had a pier in Weehawken, NJ, just south of the NYC's terminal there, and I swept out reefers in the North Bergen yard prior to them being spotted on the pier for loading. It ws a very easy job, but I was told to look out for scorpions. One day I worked loading bananas into reefers, on the pier, and was told that we could take all the bananas we wanted. For a few weeks after that, I didn't want to pay for bananas in markets. Funny feeling.
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby arcadia terminal » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:17 pm

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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby bmcdr » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:47 pm

reef-2.jpg
reef-1.jpg
Sorry I'm late getting in on this topic, but yes, B&M did have Banana Reefers. They were painted yellow and carried two different emblem styles, the attatched photos were taken 1n 1943, they have a placard attatched to them that reads:- When Empty Return To Greenfield,N.H. I don't know if that was their intended route in Banana Service or in later days as regular reefers still painted for the other service.
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Re: B&M Banana Reefer Cars

Postby railfan1988 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:14 pm

bmcdr wrote:
reef-2.jpg
reef-1.jpg
Sorry I'm late getting in on this topic, but yes, B&M did have Banana Reefers. They were painted yellow and carried two different emblem styles, the attatched photos were taken 1n 1943, they have a placard attatched to them that reads:- When Empty Return To Greenfield,N.H. I don't know if that was their intended route in Banana Service or in later days as regular reefers still painted for the other service.


Mr. Hutchinson, thank you very much for posting those pictures. I am amazed that you were able to find them, since I had been looking for a picture of a Boston and Maine banana reefer car for a long time. It would be interesting to find out who the customers were that received the banana reefers. Since bananas are imported to the United States by boat, my guess is that they came into Mystic Wharf. A B&M freight train consisting of banana reefers would back in and the bananas would be unloaded from the ship and loaded into the reefer cars. From there, they probably went to various places in New England.

Also, there is a very nice B&M banana reefer G scale model, made by USA Trains. It can be found here - http://usatrains.com/r16520.html
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