Real Railroad History > EASTERN STATES FARMERS EXCHANGE

Rail cars for farm cooperatives.

Eastern States Farmers Exchange was a regional farmer's cooperative established in Springfield, MA, in the 1920's that grew to become one of the largest co-ops of its kind, serving the agricultural community of New England and Upstate New York, and eventually as far west as Northwestern Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio. The Exchange, along with the GLF (Grange League Federation) merged in 1964, to form Agway Inc., based in Syracuse, NY. The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau was added a year later. Called the embodiment of rural self-help ideals by then Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Agway made $338 million in sales while serving 85,000 members during its first year of operation.

The 2006-7 ESLES cars are a replication of the 40' plug door boxcars used to transport feed and other agricultural products from the Eastern States Farmers Exchange's milling operations in Huron, Ohio, and Tonawanda (Buffalo), New York, in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

 

Eastern States Farmers Exchange / Agway, Huron, OH, and lake boat unloading grain.

               

Eastern States Farmers Exchange / Agway, Buffalo (Tonawanda) NY, on Niagara Falls Branch Line.

HURON, OH

 

TONAWANDA, NY

 

Cars like the one modeled were rebuilt in 1958 for the New York Central at Despatch Shops, Inc. (formerly Merchants Despatch Transportation Co. 1897-1939; sometimes spelled Dispatch Shops, even though Despatch, NY, was a village named for a person) in East Rochester, NY.

ERDX cars from this series were seen all over the northeastern U.S. until well after the Agway merger. Their dark green livery with white lettering and graphics (pre-Penn Central) make these cars a colorful addtion to any railroad.

Penn Central closed the East Rochester Car Shops on Apr. 1, 1970, and assigned future car work to the former Pennsy facility at Hollidaysburg, PA, near Altoona.

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