Bob Lucas Photo Courtesy of ACY Historical Society
Source: AC&YHS Web Site Gallery
The prototype photo above has the later, light yellow door. The ESLES cars have the scheme as originally painted by AC&Y. Numbered 610-614 by the AC&Y, these class XMI cars were originally built for the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton in 1951. They were subsequently purchased by the AC&Y in 1962.
George Ellwood Fallen Flags Collection
Developed in the early 1950s, insulated box cars usually carry perishables such as boxed, dry foods or canned goods that needed some protection from extreme temperatures (55 degrees or more, or 32 degrees or less). The flush, "plug" style sliding door was introduced as an option that provides a larger door to ease loading and unloading of certain commodities. The tight-fitting doors are also better insulated and allow a car's interior to be maintained at a more even temperature. The five DT&I/AC&Y cars were continuously used in dedicated service for the Campbell Soup Supply Company in Napoleon, Ohio, until being retired in 1978. The Napoleon plant is Campbell's largest of three, and is the largest food processing facility in the United States. Its products include soups, vegetable juices, Italian foods, and pork and beans.
The DT&I Modelers Page
Since The Akron, Canton & Youngstown Railroad Co. did not serve Napoleon, it is likely that the DT&I moved loads eastward in these cars, probably to an interchange at Columbus Grove, OH, thence on the AC&Y to an Akron area wholesale grocer (e.g. The Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. - Acme Markets). Anyone with definitive details, please contact us.
"One comment regarding use of the AC&Y cars assigned at Napoleon. I'm certain that the AC&Y was asked to contribute a "pro-rata" share to the Napolean pool (managed by DT&I) in exchange for favored routings by Campbell Soup.... thus the reason and justification for acquisition of the five (5) plug door insulated boxcars. This was (and still is) a common industry practice, particularly with the auto shippers with which I am most familiar. The serving railroad, in this case the DT&I, had the responsibility for managing and maintaining all the cars in the pool. Most often, the serving road will also fulfill the bulk of the pool requirements as would have been determined thru frequent communication with Campbell's traffic department... production schedules, planned shipping destinations, load make-up, car utilization/turn-around times, etc.
There are also exceptions to this practice for a variety reasons. Effectively, the AC&Y ownership cars in the pool could be and were billed to any destination nationwide, not just to Akron. Conversely, any pool car (I may still have a partial ownership list of the several hundred cars assigned at Napolean) could be routed (billed) via the AC&Y. So, it would be more statistically frequent to find DT&I-ownership or other owner cars running on the AC&Y.
As you mention, there were several grocery warehouses served by the AC&Y (among them, Albrechts and Betsy Ross) in Akron. In addition, as an overhead participant, the AC&Y offered superior service to the many East Coast destinations via the "Alphabet Route"... e.g. DT&I - Columbus Grove - AC&Y - Spencer, Ohio - NKP - P&WV - Western Maryland - CNJ, etc. As you note, perhaps more definitive information will surface some day. From the little I have learned about Napoleon, until truck competition displaced rail in the late 1980's (in-transit damage via rail was a big factor), the Campbell plant sidings held an interesting mix of inbound rail cars for cans, tinplate, coal, fresh and frozen vegetables, tomato paste, etc., plus the outbound canned goods traffic. Even though the DT&I pulled out of town long ago, I'm told some of this material still moves via rail to a nearby distribution center in the Toledo area, thence delivered by truck to Napoleon." Bob Lucas, ACYHS.