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View Full Version : Reefers vs boxcars



MooseID
25th Apr 2010, 09:34 PM
I am having a bit of trouble distinguishing the difference between them.

I know the difference in what they carry.

What are the obvious external things to look for in order to tell the difference?

Pictures would help

aroc
25th Apr 2010, 09:42 PM
I don't have any pics but don't refers generally have grating on the bottom corner of the car.....that is where the cooling system generally is.

TwinDad
25th Apr 2010, 09:42 PM
Older reefers will have hatches in the top (on the older ones) for loading ice or brine into the ice chambers.

Newer "mechanical" reefers will have a refrigeration unit on it somewhere, but I don't know where (it may vary by brand and model).

Bigsparky65
25th Apr 2010, 09:45 PM
i'll try to help you. Here are a couple of pics that might help, the first is a referagarated box car.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxcar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_car

Sparky(Jeff)

http://www.krunk.org/~joeshaw/pics/csxt/rbl/csxt198945tropicana-1-medium.jpg


http://www.railwaymuseum.ab.ca/files/u1/512719boxcar.jpg

Jazzbass01
25th Apr 2010, 09:47 PM
Older era cars have doors/hatches on top to load ice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_car

MetroRedLn
25th Apr 2010, 10:16 PM
Reefers are really boxcars with insulation and a fridge inside. Most modern reefers are 57' long while most boxcars are 50'. The extra length is devoted to the fridge unit.

NH2006
26th Apr 2010, 12:04 AM
Reefers won the fight, 2-1, with a TKO in the 10th round.

Jaxtrainnut
26th Apr 2010, 12:29 PM
i'll try to help you. Here are a couple of pics that might help, the first is a referagarated box car.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxcar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refrigerator_car

Sparky(Jeff)

http://www.krunk.org/%7Ejoeshaw/pics/csxt/rbl/csxt198945tropicana-1-medium.jpg


http://www.railwaymuseum.ab.ca/files/u1/512719boxcar.jpg

LOL......I was thinking about posting a pic of a Tropicana unit as well....beat me to the punch.

Normally a reefer is slightly larger in dimension (HxWxL) than a standard boxcar due to the insulation and machinery compartment. I would also hazard to guess the doors are slightly different in how they drop into the opening, in order to provide a nice airtight seal. Wonder if there is a difference in the trucks and the way they ride? Most of the time reefer loads are somewhat fragile, so I wonder if there is a difference. <shrug> Just a thought that popped into my head.

MooseID
26th Apr 2010, 07:32 PM
I get it now.

Boxcars have the sliding doors on rails external to the sides.

Reefers have plug doors that hinge outward from the sides.

Am I right?

jnevis
26th Apr 2010, 07:42 PM
I get it now.

Boxcars have the sliding doors on rails external to the sides.

Reefers have plug doors that hinge outward from the sides.

Am I right?

Not always. It is more likely that a reefer has the plug doors but a standard box can have a variety of doors, including plugs.

Every reefer can be a box, but not the other way around. Turn off the cooling equipment and a reefer become a standard box car. To go the other way requires extensive modification to the car.

dennispacific3
26th Apr 2010, 08:23 PM
Some have an external diesel powered fridge unit on the top of the car like this one...

MooseID
27th Apr 2010, 02:58 PM
Thanks again, my friends.

I think I have a handle on it now.

I shall do some railfanning next weekend to test my new knowledge.

epumph
27th Apr 2010, 03:45 PM
Then there is ventilation cars - that use outside air to heat/cool the car. According to Jeff Wilson's book they could be used in winter to keep things cool that needed to be cool but not frozen. They had hatches on the roof too.

Two Truck Shay
27th Apr 2010, 06:10 PM
reefers have a way-cooler name. far out man...

bigford
27th Apr 2010, 10:00 PM
anybody sell the diesel unit's as a aftermarket part?

TwinDad
27th Apr 2010, 11:55 PM
I shall do some railfanning next weekend to test my new knowledge.

Take pictures!

j edgar
28th Apr 2010, 10:17 AM
I get it now.

Boxcars have the sliding doors on rails external to the sides.

Reefers have plug doors that hinge outward from the sides.

Am I right?

lol...all plug-door cars are not reefers but yes all modern reefers are plug-door...biggest spotting fearture is indeed the size (and the noise from the refridge unit) as well as other minor details..filler caps for fuel...exposed grills or louvers..access doors for control panels..

older wood reefers have the roof-hatches as metioned and usually smaller double side doors that are hinged...drains for melting ice...cleanout hatches to remove sticks dirt rocks and sawdust that collect in the ice-bunkers...some ice-reefers have brine tanks as well as ice bunkers and the assoiciated drains....some wooden ice cars were rebuilt with mechanicals with grills and vents on the sides usually towrd the bottom ends were the ice bunkers used to be....and for those of you in the NE (BAR MC etc) the reefers used to haul spuds would have charcoal fires (and exhaust stacks) in the ice bunkers to keep the spuds from freezing (i guess it gets cold in Maine ;))