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Nostalgia & History > UP asparagus express


Date: 12/07/12 06:29
UP asparagus express
Author: Copy19

Union Pacific issued this photo on April 6, 1953. The cation read as follows:

"While Old Man Winter gets in a last April lick, this Union Pacific train speeds eastward out of Laramie, Wyo., with a cargo of spring. Laramie is a re-icing stop for this high-priority express. Each of the refrigerator cars contains asparagus, which will reach the dinner tables of the East before the tender spears are a week out of their native California soil."

JEB




Date: 12/07/12 06:54
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: 4-12-2

Cool, John (ok, cold?)! I've seen this image but it's been a long time. Interesting that they ran it as 2nd #6, so basically on passenger timing.

Thanks for sharing!

John



Date: 12/07/12 07:31
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: robj

It still can be expensive depending on season. Wonder if this was mostly for rest. trade?

Bob



Date: 12/07/12 09:12
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: 1200v

That's pretty early in the season. Those well could be Railway Express refeers on passenger timing to make the highest market in the east. Real railroading and a great photo in any case.



Date: 12/07/12 10:01
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: rob_l

Wow, a solid train of asparagus running as a section of a passenger train, behind steam no less.

The peak of the harvest of asparagus in the Sacramento - San Joaquin delta is mid-February, which fits this photo.

By the 1970s, no asparagus moving via PFE.

Thanks for sharing!

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 12/07/12 10:34
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: mamfahr

Interesting that they ran it as 2nd #6, so basically on passenger timing.


John,

Yes, thanks for sharing that photo.

Readers of the UPHS publication "Streamliner" will recall that an "Asparagus Special" like the one in the photo was mentioned in a recent issue. The train was mentioned in the "Wyoming 1949" article (in Vol. 25, No. 4; it also ran as Second 6 with a 4-8-4 and 17 express reefers. It entered the ice house tracks at Laramie where 7 of the 17 cars were iced. The train mentioned in the article was running about 8 hours behind No. 6's schedule. From the angle of light in the photo posted here, it appears to me that the train is only a couple of hours behind TT schedule.

It was common for UP to run an express reefer train as a section of a regular (scheduled) train. They often used 6's schedule but 24's schedule was used frequently as well. When no available schedules "fit" well with the departure of an express train, they'd run it as an "Extra", which occurred about 1/4 of the time, I'd say.

Regarding the time of year, the PFE Books (Sig. Press) show in a bar graph that the Cali. asparagus harvest took place during Feb-May. The records I've seen for the Asparagus Specials on UP were all in March or April, roughly in the middle of the season if the PFE info is correct. For what it's worth, the Asp. Special that ran in 1949 (mentioned in the article) was identified as being the 5th one of that calendar year, operating on March 27th. That would indicate that something like 50-100 carload shipments of asparagus had moved eastward in dedicated "express trains" to that point (during Feb & March). However, there were likely other shipments of asparagus that moved east, mixed into other express trains, as "head-end" express on passenger trains, or maybe even in conventional freight trains.

So, just out of curiosity, does this mean that the UP Museum's paper/photo archive materials are once again available, following the flood relocation?

Take care,

Mark



Date: 12/07/12 13:53
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: masterphots

robj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It still can be expensive depending on season.
> Wonder if this was mostly for rest. trade?
>
> Bob

Most likely for restaurants. You wouldn't believe what a farmer friend of ours here in Chile gets for blueberries shipping in the next couple of months to NYC. Instead of trains, they go via LAN 767F. His product is prime quality and mostly ends up in Manhattan hotels/restaurants.

On the other hand, last July (winter here), a local super offered so-so cantaloupes from Fisher Farms in Blythe, California for about $US10 each. Ouch. They sold them too. Works both ways depending on the seasons.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/07/12 13:57 by masterphots.



Date: 12/07/12 14:03
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: Copy19

mamfahr Wrote:

>
> So, just out of curiosity, does this mean that the
> UP Museum's paper/photo archive materials are once
> again available, following the flood relocation?
>
> Take care,
>
> Mark

I don't know. The print I scanned for the post did not come from the museum archives. I've had it in my personal collection for years.

John Bromley
Omaha



Date: 12/07/12 14:23
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: mamfahr

> ... The print I scanned for the post did not come from the museum archives. I've had
> it in my personal collection for years.
>
> John Bromley


Thanks John,

Do you happen to know the date the photo was taken, if it's different from the "date issued" that you mentioned above?

Thanks,

Mark



Date: 12/07/12 14:46
Re: UP asparagus express
Author: Copy19

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > ... The print I scanned for the post did not
> come from the museum archives. I've had
> > it in my personal collection for years.
> >
> > John Bromley
>
>
> Thanks John,
>
> Do you happen to know the date the photo was
> taken, if it's different from the "date issued"
> that you mentioned above?
>


> Thanks,
>
> Mark

I assume it was taken in early April or perhaps that March.

John



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