Fruit Growers Express

   The Fruit Growers Express Company was formed in 1920 by Southern Railway’s Henry Spencer. The Federal Trade Commission made the Armour Co. sell its large fleet of refrigerator cars after they ruled unfair competition. Spencer saw the need for refrigerator car service and formed FGE with 10 original railroads, the Southern, and Atlantic Coast Line being of the first 10. The Fruit Growers Express Company was incorporated in Delaware with shops in Alexandria VA and Jacksonville Florida along with various ice plants and stations around the east coast.  By the end of the 1920’s Spencer also had partner Western Fruit Express and Burlington Refrigerator Express join operations to even out traffic demands for the produce seasons in the southeast and northwest by pooling cars as needed.

   Jacksonville was a major player in the roll of re-icing northbound traffic with ice platforms at the Florida East Coast’s Bowden Yard, the Seaboard’s Baldwin Yard and the Atlantic Coast Line in Moncrief Yard. The major FGE shop in Jacksonville was at the north end of Moncrief Yard..

   FGE bought, but also built their own cars in Alexandra and Jacksonville.  FGE experimented with its first mechanical reefer and heavy insolated cars without ice bunkers in 1950. In 1960 FGE began using refrigerated piggyback trailers, and moved all car building from Jacksonville to Alexandra leaving Jacksonville as a heavy repair facility.

   The unregulated trucking business took its toll on the refrigerator car lines. Ice bunker cars were gone by the early 70’s; refrigerated piggyback trailers were gone by the mid 80’s, leaving only a few mechanical reefers. The only remaining part of FGE in Jacksonville is the old FGE shops now a CSX repair facility.

 

Our examples of FGE reefers are Intermountain and Red Caboose Kits:

Steel Fruit Growers Express Reefer by Intermountain

Wood Fruit Growers Express Reefer by Red Caboose

Steel Fruit Growers Express Ice Bunker by Athearn

Steel Burlington Express Ice Bunker by Athearn

Wood Fruit Growers Ice Bunker by Athearn

Wood Western Fruit Express Ice Bunker by Athearn

40 ft insulated Box Car by ConCor

50 ft Mechanical Reefer by Athearn

40 ft Refrigerated Trailer by Athearn

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