• Company Ice?

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by ABurns
I've been doing some research on the disposition of some B&M equipment, and I've stumbled across something I've never heard of before. The BMRRHS online archives have a searchable pdf titled Cars Books that have a substantial amount of data on B&M cars, purchasing, numbering, renumbering, disposition, etc. While looking at these records, I found that a number of cars that were renumbered and subsequently sent "to Company Ice". It doesn't seem they were sold, I'd assume that was something within the company. Does anybody know what "Company Ice" is? There are many more cars that went through the same listing, this is just one screenshot of many.

-Alden Burns
  by Cowford
I did some amatuer sleuthing (by no means am I an authority on B&M passenger equipment)... the number series indicates these were originally WWII-era, 50' troop sleepers later purchased by B&M and converted to baggage-express service. My guess is that "company ice" more or less a literal term - using non-revenue cars to move ice from central storage or production facilities to outlying stations for passenger equipment and refrigerator car icing. A 1959 conversion date seems late in the game for passenger equipment, though ice reefers were common into the 60s.
  by jbvb
Company Ice came into being on the B&M as ice-activated A/C was installed in Pullmans and B&M coaches in the 1930s. A number of ex-MDT ice reefers were renumbered with a special paint job in the 1940s. I've seen several photos of them parked on the west side of North Station, providing ice to employees topping off trains before departure.

October 1959 is indeed pretty late; by that date all B&M passenger cars with ice-activated A/C had been sold or scrapped as RDCs took over everything but interline trains. Perhaps they still needed to service heavyweight Pullmans on camp trains, CN equipment on the Conn River line or CP equipment on the Gull. It would be worth comparing that list of numbers with ex-troop sleepers surviving into the 1960s; there were quite a few around even into the 1980s as storage in yards like Salem, Gardner etc.

When the troop sleepers were acquired in 1946 or 1947, they may have been bought via an Equipment Trust. Their normal term was 15 years, and typically equipment owned via a Trust had to be kept serviceable. As mail, baggage and express service had just been terminated and the facilities at North Station removed, Company Ice may also have been a convenient placeholder for the few years of the Trust's term.
  by jaymac
Someone older than me and/or with access to company mags from the late 50s will know better than I do, but I think there was an icing facility at Deerfield up through the early 60s for non-mechanically refrigerated perishables. Deerfield may have manufactured its own ice. If not, the ice-service cars could have brought it into Deerfield as well as distributing to other icing points.
  by edbear
B & M built a brand new icing plant at Mechanicville about 1956-57 and it lasted about 25 years.
  by jbvb
I have a photo of a private-owner steel ice reefer spotted at a customer in Winchester MA from 1980 or 1981. Don't know lading or whether the ice hatches and bunkers still worked.