MDT #14053

The nearby community of East Rochester was once home to Merchants Despatch Transport, builder and operator of leased refrigerated freight cars. The long history of this town’s development stretches back to 1897, when MDT began construction of a new car construction shop in some grassy fields outside of Penfield. The first railcar to emerge from this complex rolled in 1898, thus beginning 72 years of manufacturing in East Rochester. By 1899, more than 700 workers were employed in the growing facility, which was used by MDT to manufacture and maintain its line of leased freight cars. The Despatch Shops eventually became a subsidiary of the New York Central, and was shut down by successor Penn Central in 1970. However, the MDT name would survive until the present day as a transportation lessor.

MDT 14053 was built by Pacific Car & Foundry in Renton, Washington in 1958, as part of a lot of 150 cars for Northern Refrigerator Car. Built as NRC 20065, it became MDT 14053 after Northern Refrigerator was merged into MDT in March 1962. Measuring 45 feet, the ice-cooled car uses with Equipco Model 54-6 electric air circulating fans powered by an axle generator. This particular car has has a combination of a 4’ sliding door and a 2' plug door on both sides.

In later years, the reefer was used as an MDT support car at Pennsy’s Enola Yard. The car was amazingly well kept, inside and out, and retained its mid-1960s appearance. MDT donated the car to Rochester Chapter, and it was delivered to Industry on October 18, 1993. The reefer traveled on its own wheels, using an all-Conrail routing. The ice-cooled reefer is currently on display in the yard at Industry, and houses an popular exhibit about East Rochester and Despatch Shops.


Technical Data

  • Ice bunker reefer car
  • Manufacturer: Pacific Car & Foundry, Renton, Washington
  • Donated: August 1993 by MDT
  • Delivery: All-Conrail routing to Industry on October 18, 1993
  • Originally carried reporting marks NRC20065  (NRC = Northern Refrigerator Car)
  • NRC was merged into MDT in March 1962 thus the car was probably repainted and relettered to MDT 14053 after that
  • Lot: Order of 150 cars built 1958.
  • Last Use: MDT support car in Enola Yard in Enola, PA
  • Currently houses exhibit on MDT and East Rochester Car Shops.
  • Length: 45'
  • Fans: Equipped with Equipco Model 54-6 electric air circulating fans powered by axle generator
  • Capacity: 70,000lbs
  • Doors: Combo 4' sliding and 2' plug door on both sides

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