Thursday, December 2, 2021

PFE Trust Plate

I am not normally a collector of railroadiana and such, but with an interest in PFE cars and freight cars, in general, this was something that struck me. The "buy it now" option on eBay was modest (relatively) and the seller offered a further discount after I had "watched" the item. So... I decided to treat myself. If you're not familiar with such things, you might inquire what exactly this thing is.

Many railroads financed equipment purchases via trusts. The trusts were effectively like bonds. The capital markets provided money to finance purchases, the railroads received their equipment, and the owners of these bonds ("certificates") received regular cash payments until the terms were satisfied. At that point, the railroad owned the equipment and the obligations under trust were satisfied. Once satisfied, the plate that designated that the car was owned as part of a trust could be removed as the railroad then owned the equipment outright.

Which brings us to this particular trust plate. The details of the trust are noted in the text from Moody's Analyses of Investments and Security Rating Service for Railroad Securities, 1925, Moody's Investor Service (digitized by Google Books.) The cars in question were 5,000 refrigerator cars for freight service and 300 refrigerator cars for use in express service via passenger trains. I do not have the relevant specifics for the freight reefers, but it is likely they were a mix of classes R-30-12 and -13. The express cars were those in the 500-799 series, built in 1923-1924. The plate does not have the specific information about which builder and series it was a part of, but it is a cool thing (to me) to have, both for its age (~98 years old at this writing) and because of my interest in Steam Era freight equipment.

Relevant text from Moody's

While this "investment" is purely a luxury, it will look nice adorning a spot on the wall in the room where I do my modeling.

P.S. for those who are curious, it measures 18 x 8 x approx. 3/8 inches and weighs about 25 pounds.