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The pickle industry and railroading


ARCHIVES, SOO LINE HISTORICAL AND TECHNICAL SOCIETY


SDX 116 (above) was one of seven cars Squire Dingee owned in 1960; it had a 50-ton capacity and was AAR class TW, tank car with one or more wooden containers. The corrosive brine led to the use of wooden tanks on pickle and vinegar tank cars. Soo Line 4491 (below), a 40- ton capacity car, was built as a flat car in 1913 by ACF. Retired March 30, 1955, the tanks were installed on it and three others in the late 1930’s by Gedney Company, who owned the tanks.


ARCHIVES, SOO LINE HISTORICAL AND TECHNICAL SOCIETY PHOTO COURTESY OF RICK MILLS; NORTH ISLAND, NORTH DAKOTA


side for receiving cucumbers and ship- ping pickles in barrels or pickle cars. Inbound loads would be salt, dill and empty barrels. You do not need a pick- le car, but several going from the salt- ing stations to the processors would certainly add interest. The processing plants were typical in- dustrial buildings of the era. The pickles were transferred from the pickle cars by scooping them out with cotton dip nets into wooden crates, baskets or barrels. It was a very messy job and since the brine contained a large percentage of salt con- crete could not be used for floors. Some plants had outside tanks of wood or con- crete lined with a non-corrosive material to store the pickles until needed. In later years fiberglass tanks were used. In- bound loads would be the pickles, plus tank cars of vinegar and boxcars with packaging supplies. Outbound loads would be the finished product loaded in boxcars or trucks. Several models of pickle cars are or


have been available, both as kits and ready-to-run, and have proved to be popular among modelers. There have also been plans and modeling articles for pickle cars and salting stations over the years in the hobby press.


Sources Official Railway Equipment Register, 1903-1981 Wisconsin Gazetteer, 1901-1902, 1924- 1925, 1927-28


Vegetable Growers News, 2001 Fruit Products Journal, American Vinegar Industry, 1921 Canning Age, 1923 “Canning, Pre- serving and Pickling” (Campbell, 1937) Michigan Agriculture Experiment station technical bulletins Waupaca Republican, 1910-1926 Chicago Tribune


88 DECEMBER 2011


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