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Is our Vinegar Car one of only two surviving examples?

Reinhradt Vinegar Car at Harbourfront Museum

On the TRHA website, we only briefly speak to the vinegar car in our collection as follows:

"This rare vinegar tank car was constructed for Reinhart Vinegars in 1938. It has a steel frame atop which ride wooden tanks specially designed to transport vinegar from Reinhart’s facilities to industrial consumers in southwestern Ontario – for example, pickling plants and other food preparation concerns. The car was a regular feature of local freight trains in the Toronto area for 38 years and is one of only two of its type in existence (the other is at the St. Louis Museum of Transport)."

In actual fact, there are several vinegar cars still in existence in museum collections in North America.  

Wikipedia describes them as follows:

"A vinegar car is a specialized type of tank car designed to transport vinegar. The largest such car built was built by Morrison Railway Supply Corporation in 1968. The car's underframe included all of modern facets of freight car design including roller bearing trucks and cushioning devices built by FreightMaster, while the tank that rode on it, made of Douglas Fir, had a capacity of 17,100 US gallons (65 m3; 14,200 imperial  gallons). The car, in what has been called 'the largest wooden tank car ever built', took 18 months to build. Vinegar is now moved in ordinary tank cars lined with glass, plastic, or alloy steel."

Vinegars cars were built of wood rather than steel because vinegar is an acid which would rapidly corrode a steel tank.  Apparently, vinegar cars also existed originally as a cheaper way to store vinegar than to use "land-based" solutions.  

In the picture above we see our vinegar displayed in a train set with a box cab locomotive and a C&O Caboose at the Harbourfront Railway Museum in Toronto.  This museum preceded the existence of our museum. 

A recent quick Internet search turned up several vinegar cars besides ours still in existence:
  • S.B.I.X. #1634: Built by the Fleishmann Transportation Co. for Standard Brands, this car is in the collection of the magnificent Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Missouri.  I visited this museum and it should be on every railfans bucket list.
  • Richter Vinegar RCVX #11: This car, built in 1929 by the American Car Company, is in the collection of the Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin.
  • Richter Vinegar RCVX #20: This car is in the collection of the National Railway Museum in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
So .... It appears that there are at least four wooden vinegar cars still in existence in North America.

We have no immediate plans for our vinegar car.  If we restore it, it will require a significant investment as much of the wood is in very poor shape.

Posting by Russ Milland

Click on each image for a closer look!

Richter Vinegar RCVX #20 in Green Bay, WI

Richter Vinegar RCVX #11 in North Freedom, WI

S.B.I.X. #1634 in St. Louis, MO
HO Model of S.B.I.X. #1634

HO Model by Overland Models

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