Thursday, July 7, 2022

Bangor & Aroostook RS-4 Refrigerator Cars


Providence, RI, June 1958, Col. Chet McCoid photo, Bob's Photo

While on vacation in Jonesport, Maine, we ventured to Machias to pick up a few things. Adjacent to the old train station are two freight cars: a Maine Central PS-1 as well as a Bangor & Aroostook class RS-4 reefer. This group of BAR cars was built in 1955 by Pacific Car & Foundry's Renton, Washington plant and placed in series 8000-8349. The photo above is of a car from the same class a few years after it was constructed.

The reefer is entirely derelict at this point, its doors inoperable and the brake gear having been removed at some point. However, there are a wealth of details that can still be viewed, offering a quasi time machine. Here are some of the details that I recorded, mostly of the Camel hardware for the Camel flush-mounted ("plug" doors):

All of these photos are of details. This shows the door latching and roller mechanism. The actual rollers have been disconnected and will be shown in a separate photo. You can see there they were located in the prototype image shown above

This is part of the mechanism for the door locking hardware. This is second generation hardware not present on the earlier BAR flush door reefers that were effectively clones of the PFE R-40-26 

The placard boards dropped into a frame of sorts

This is a "Cheeper" defect card holder (or a copy thereof). Defect card holders were located on the right side of the car. The tube held the defect card (when needed)

The defect card holder with the door rotated upward to access the tube

Side view of the opened door and hollow tube

The door rollers, having been detached from the door hardware at some point

The right hand door stop

Alternate view of the right hand door stop. Note the hard, rubberized insert for cushioning the impact of the door sliding against it

View of the intersection of the floor stringers and the crossbearers as well as the train line pipe

View of the crossbearer and crosstie and the stringers

The remnants of one attachment point for the reservoirs which had been removed, as well as the welded plates that strengthened where the lower crossbearer cover plates meet the center sills

These cars (as well as PFE cars) carried this admonition about the risks of the insulation catching fire! The grabs on these cars (and the earlier R-40-26 clones) used this style grab as opposed to the more common (for the era) bracket style 

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