Posts Tagged ‘Reefers’

UP Ending Reefer Service to East Coast

May 11, 2020

The “salad shooter” is no more.

Union Pacific plans to close its Cold Connect reefer service, which had provided truck-competitive transit times for perishable produce between California and the Pacific Northwest with the Northeast via a dedicated train that ran east of Chicago on CSX through Cleveland.

Cold Connect, which is part of UP’s Loup Logistics subsidiary, informed employees on Friday that it would cease operations after the last loads are delivered.

The produce shipments originated as unit trains from UP terminals in Delano, California, and Wallula, Washington, that were combined in Wyoming and handed off to CSX in Chicago.

CSX delivered the trains, typically operating as symbols Q090 and Q091, to a warehouse in Rotterdam, New York, near Albany.

The produce was unloaded at Rotterdam Sunday through Thursday nights and delivered from there by truck to points in the Northeast and New England.

Last year UP shifted the reefers into its merchandise train network, a move CSX also made after it, too, shifted to the precision scheduled railroading operating model.

In a statement, UP attributed the closing of Cold Connect service to with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting volume and truck prices.

“It is no longer sustainable to continue operations,” UP said in the statement without further elaborating.

The reefer shipments began in 2006 with Railex, which UP acquired in January 2017. The trains almost always operated with Union Pacific motive power although in recent years they could have CSX locomotives east of Willard.

UP has at various times spoken of the service as successful and indicated it planned to expand the Cold Connect network.

As recently as January this year, UP executives were speaking of how the carrier had gained market share in the food and beverage shipment business because its consistent service allowed the railroad to better compete with trucks.

UP provided real-time GPS-based tracking on each pallet shipped and was able to make door-to-door delivery in seven or eight days.

Trucks take two days longer to make the same trip largely due to a 2017 electronic logbook rule implemented to enforce hours of service regulations for drivers.

At times the reefers in the service returned to the West Coast with hard cider, beer, and wine loaded in Rotterdam.

Returning for Another Load of Lettuce

February 2, 2018

CSX and Union Pacific team up to haul perishable produce between warehouses in California and Washington state and distribution centers in New York state.

The trains typically have UP motive power and fans and railroaders alike have dubbed them the “salad shooter.”

On a trip to Conneaut last fall, the salad shooter was the first train that I saw and photographed.

It is shown rushing westbound past the former New York Central passenger station and beneath the iconic town water tank.

Roll em Salad Shooter, Roll em

August 13, 2017

Running as L090, the salad shooter approaches Bort Road in North East, Pennsylvania.

The white refrigerated reefers on the end are a hallmark of the salad shooter.

Q090 passes has just passed the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania.

Qo90 is one of those trains that I can go for months without seeing and then I go through a spell where I see it regularly.

I seem to be in the latter mode this summer with the train that some CSX crews have nicknamed the salad shooter, a handle that has stuck in the railfan community.

It is a train of perishable produce that originates in California and the Pacific Northwest on Union Pacific with the two sections joining somewhere on the UP network.

Operating on an expedited schedule, the train is handed off to CSX in Chicago which takes it to a warehouse near Albany, New York.

I have rarely seen the return trip, which operates as Q091. I don’t believe this is a daily train. Almost always when I’ve seen it it has been a Sunday.

I’ve never seen the salad shooter have anything other than UP motive power.

In past years, the train had a fairly uniform consist of white refrigerated boxcars.

Those along with the UP motive power was a tell-tale sign that the train you were seeing was the Q090.

But in recent sightings, the consist has included what appear to be regular boxcars, many of them lettered for Golden West Service.

The cars appear to be marshaled in a series of cuts, which might reflect a series of loading docks and/or shippers.

I’ve never seen the Tropicana Juice train, but in my mind the salad shooter plays a similar role across the northern tier of CSX between Chicago and the Middle Atlantic. Both are a specialized service moving products that need to get there in a hurry in order to stay fresh.

Century-old Reefer To be Restored in Indiana

March 27, 2014

It needs a new paint job and new brakes, but a 104-year-old Kingan Refrigerator Line wood refrigerator car will be restored by the Indiana Transportation Museum.


The car was rescued from a warehouse that was being demolished in Indianapolis. The Kosnick Supply Co., a lumber supply firm, had used the car to store paper records.


Being located inside the warehouse had shielded the car from the elements. It still had its original paint scheme, lettering and numbers, including the slogan “Reliable Sliced Bacon.”

ITM obtained the car through a donation by Brian Fahle, CEO and president of Indianapolis apparel merchandising company Main Event Merchandise Group.


Fahle had purchased the property at 925 E. Vermont St. sight unseen a few years ago as an investment and didn’t realize the car was in the warehouse.

A demolition contractor razed the building around the car until 18 museum volunteers and a heavy-equipment mover were able to put the car onto a trailer using a forklift.


The 12-ton car was moved to Kirklin, Ind., for storage until it can be restored.

Kingan was the first company to sell sliced bacon and was the largest meat packing company in Indianapolis.


In the early 1900s, the packing of beef and pork was the largest industry in Indiana. One of Kingan’s customers invented the method of preserving meat with ice, allowing meat to be shipped all over the nation in ice-filled cars year-round.