5488PFE R-70-5 Reefers
- Mar 3, 2014
Here is another on-line TrainLife reprint, this time from the February 1978 PROTOTYPE MODELER. The article by Michael E. Reynolds is titled “The History of PFE Class R-70-5 Cars”.
These were fifty-foot ice bunker reefers that lasted, with major modifications, through 1977. The first 75 cars were built in May through July, 1952 and an additional 100 cars were built in December 1953 and January and February 1954.
As built the cars had extra thick insulation to make them suitable for the frozen food service. However, these cars had problems holding temperatures low enough for frozen food. The 1950s also saw the introduction of mechanical refrigerator cars which were ideal for transporting frozen food. The R-70-5 cars subsequently were rebuilt into RP type mechanical refrigerator cars in 1955.
The R-70-5 cars had an interesting history beyond this as many had beef rails installed in the late 1950s to early 1960s and subsequently had the refrigeration units removed and were converted into "top ice vegetable" cars in the 1970s.
These changes came with re-numberings and the article covers that as well.
If you want to model these cars, TrainLife reprinted a how-to article from that same issue of PROTOTYPE MODELER by James L. Scott:
The basis for the model is an Athearn No. 1624 undecorated 50-foot mechanical reefer.