Price: $ 65.00 Quantity:

Pacific Fruit Express

Anthony W. Thompson, Robert J. Church and Bruce H. Jones


PFE jacket

The first edition of this book was a thorough and complete history of the world's largest refrigerator car operator, the Pacific Fruit Express Company. The 432-page book had 663 photos (some in color), scale car drawings, shop track layouts, system map, paint scheme drawings, and accurate color drift panels. It included an appendix, a complete index, and a comprehensive bibliography. Published in June, 1992 (old ISBN: 09633791-2-7), the book was declared "out of print" to bookstores in August, 1996 to permit the last remaining copies to be sold to individuals. As of January, 1997, all 3000 copies printed had been sold.

A second edition (see description elsewhere on this site)has now been issued with corrections and updating on a number of pages, and 32 new appendix pages. A number of changes in the main text were made, and a few photographs substituted; new color images, as well as extensive tabular information, were added to the appendix. In total, about 100 pages were revised, in addition to the 32 new pages added.

Six years in preparation, the original book has become a must for the historian and serious modeler. Covered in detail are company history, management organization, turn of the century predecessor refrigerator cars, all wood and steel ice refrigerator car classes, mechanical refrigerators, trailers, flat cars and containers, car repair shops, natural ice and manufactured ice plants, western agricultural development and produce shipping, and an album of PFE in action across America.

The new edition returns this classic book to print in a bigger and still better version of one of the standard texts about railcar and operations history.

Comments on the First Edition

"This book is comprehensive, carefully researched, and abundantly illustrated. It is an indispensable resource for scale modelers as well as historians." (full text of this review is available)

-- Richard Hendrickson, in Railroad Model Craftsman magazine

"Thorough research has yielded much information and is well synthesized into a whole. The company, operations, and freight cars have been given their due. This is the finest book of its kind ever published."

-- Al Westerfield, freight car historian

"Here is a superb illustrated history of the company whose name is synonymous with perishable freight. Rounding out the work is the most complete bibliography and index I have ever seen in a rail history book." (full text of this review is available)

-- Jim Hediger, in Trains magazine

"A giant subsidiary of two major railroads, usually only referred to as a sidelight, has been thoroughly researched and accurately presented. An exceptional book."

-- William Kratville, railroad historian


Particulars: Pacific Fruit Express, by Anthony W. Thompson, Robert J. Church and Bruce H. Jones
First Edition Size: 432 pages, 8.5" x 11"; hard cover
First Edition Contents: 41 drawings and maps, 656 B&W photographs, 7 color photographs, index, bibliography
Price of first edition: $75