The Atlas HO Master Express 1947 Reefer REA Express 6118 models the new steel reefer cars with welded construction and high speed trucks designed for the faster post World War II streamlined passenger trains. The car design featured collapsible ice bunkers that enabled these cars to handle both express and parcel traffic as well as perishable items as required. The Railway Express Agency (REA) ordered 500 of these express reefer cars in 1947 in anticipation of the postwar passenger train boom. Starting in the 1950s and continuing into the 1960s the demise of the passenger train caused the REA Express fleet to decline as well.
Note: This model reflects Railway Express Agency's paint scheme in the "as delivered" colors (1947).
Road Name and History:
REA Express: The express parcel business had grown from being carried by stagecoach or by horse to transport by rail as the North American rail system spread nationwide from the 1830s to the 1890s. With consolidation of the express companies by World War I four companies dominated the business: Adams Express Company, American Express Company, Southern Express Company, and Wells Fargo. The United States Railroad Administration, that took over US rail operations during the First World War, consolidated the express companies into the new American Railway Express, Inc. In 1929 the Railway Express Agency (REA) - a consortium owned by 86 US railroads- was created to assume operations of American Railway Express. The express business was profitable for the railroads- starting in the 1940s REA concentrated on refrigerated commodities (this model was part of that effort) but truck competition and the decline of rail passenger service sent REA into a long period of decline. By 1959 REA was using truck and air in addition to rail, but the carrier continued to decline. In 1975, REA Express (name adopted in the early 1960s) was bankrupt and operations were terminated.
We recommend Ages 14 and Up.