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Billboard Reefer Question...or two

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  • Billboard Reefer Question...or two

    I am just getting into billboard reefers. I like the old Billboard Reefers. A couple of quick questions, The wood sheathed billboard reefers with roof tops and ends were outlawed; but I don't know when. My layout is not very strict on eras; but I am modeling around the mid thirties era. Would these type of reefers be allowed (even remotely) in the mid thirties? And another question for those that have the billboard reefers, do you have an ice platform to go with them. I was looking at the JL Innovative HO ice platform.

  • #2
    According to Wikipedia (, in 1937 the ICC forbade shippers from painting their logos etc. on cars they didn't lease or own. I've read that the problem was basically shippers "buying naming rights" for RR-owned and car-line (ART, PFE etc.) owned cars. Other shippers complained that their product would be delivered in an advertisement for the competition. I believe it remained legal for a shipper to paint cars they owned or leased as they wished.


    • #3
      By the way Art Griffin Decals has dozens, if not hundreds, of decals for billboard reefers.
      Dave Husman

      Iron Men and wooden cars

      Visit my website :


      • #4
        The definitive work on this type of car is the book "Billboard Refrigerator Cars" by Richard Hendrickson and Edward S. Kaminski. The actual sequence of events around the banning of billboard refrigerator cars is more complex and far-reaching than what's on Wikipedia. It's true that shippers found their product traveling in cars advertising the competition, however the railroads also had reasons to end the practice.

        The book is still available from Signature Press at this writing:

        You'll recognize many of the paint schemes as having been done on cars for many decades now. Micro-Trains and Atlas draw from the cars in this book on a regular basis for their models.