Fruit Growers Express
|Eastern United States|
|Services||Freight Car Repair|
Fruit Growers Express (FGE) was a railroad refrigerator car leasing company that began as a produce-hauling subsidiary of Armour and Company's private refrigerator car line. Its customers complained they were overcharged. In 1919 the Federal Trade Commission ordered the company's sale for anti-trust reasons.
Incorporated on March 18, 1920 the firm took possession of 4,280 pieces of rolling stock, repairs shops at Alexandria, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida, and numerous ice plants and other facilities scattered throughout the East Coast on May 1. By year's end, the Chicago and Eastern Illinois, New Haven, and Norfolk and Western railroads became major stockholders.
In order to compete with the Pacific Fruit Express and Santa Fe Refrigerator Despatch in the west, FGE and the Great Northern Railway formed the Western Fruit Express (WFE) on July 18, 1923, a move that added 3,000 cars to the equipment pool. By 1926, FGE had expanded its service into the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest through the WFE and the Burlington Refrigerator Express (BREX), its other partly owned subsidiary (formed in partnership with the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q) on May 1). That same year, FGE purchased 2,676 36-foot-long (11 m) reefers from the Pennsylvania Railroad.
— (December 31, 1903). "FRUIT SHIPPERS' COMPLAINT. Want Investigation of Armour Company, Which has New Contract" (PDF). New York Times. p. 6. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
Austin, Texas December 30.—The Texas Railroad Commission was to-day advised that the Southern Pacific has renewed its contract with Armour & Co. for the operation of the cars of the fruit growers' express between California and New Orleans another period of two years. The fruit shippers of California have complained bitterly of the alleged excessive charges of Armour & Co., and an effort is being made to have the Inter-state Commerce Commission conduct an investigation of the abuses complained of.
"Fruit Growers Express Company Refrigerator Car No. 35832". Sacramento, California: California State Railroad Museum Foundation. Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-04-02.
The most successful private refrigerator car company was the Armour Car Lines, including its subsidiary, the Fruit Growers Express. Success led to downfall, for in 1919 the Federal Trade Commission ordered the sale of the produce hauling subsidiary for anti-trust reasons. A group of eastern and southern railroads formed a new Fruit Growers Express Company in 1920 to take over the operations. By 1926 FGE had expanded service into the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest through its partly owned cooperating subsidiaries, Western Fruit Express and Burlington Fruit Express.
- Class I Railroad Annual Report: CSX Transportation, Inc. To The Surface Transportation Board For the Year Ending December 28, 2007
- The Great Yellow Fleet, p. 16.
- White, John H. (1986). The Great Yellow Fleet. San Marino, CA: Golden West Books. ISBN 0-87095-091-6.
- White, John H. Jr. (1993). The American Railroad Freight Car: From the Wood-Car Era to the Coming of Steel. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4404-5. OCLC 26130632.
- The Florida Railroad Company Inc. / The Fruit Growers Express Company Short History of Fruit Growers Express
- Fruit Growers Express Company #35832 — photos and short history of an example of the wooden ice-type "reefers" commonly placed in service between 1920 and 1940.
- Fruit Growers Express Company #56415 — photos and short history of an example of the wooden ice-type "reefers" used in the first half of the 20th century for shipping produce.