CHATEAU MARTIN

Wine Cars of the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s

Copyright 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by James E. Lancaster

Last
updated May 28,2014.

Notice: The images on this web page that are marked "Author's Collection" or "used by
permission" are
copyrighted photos and may not be reproduced for any reason without
permission from the author. Photos not so marked are the property of the indicated
owners and require their permission to be reproduced.  You can request
permission by
sending an email to
LJAMES1 @ ix.netcom.com (remove the spaces in the email address).

Roster of CHATEAU MARTIN Wine Cars from 1940 to 1975

The Chateau Martin wine cars were mostly former milk cars and were owned by the Commodities Car Company, Inc.
of New York City (reporting marks CMWX). To view a roster of the CMWX car fleet from 1940 to 1975, Click Here
Click your browser's Back button to return to this page.

The CMWX reporting marks first appeared in the ORER in October 1940. The final entries were in July 1975.
The July 1976 ORER had a note that the CMWX reporting marks would no longer appear.

There are several interesting entries in the roster. CMWX 110 was on the roster in 1950 and from 1953 to 1966 but
was missing in 1952. CMWX 113 and 115 only appear in 1950, CMWX 152 only in 1959 and CMWX 1002 only in 1962.

ORER data from the author's collection, Cliff Prather, Kurt Laughlin and the California State Railroad Museum.

AAR Designations Used in the ORERs

TL
- Tank car equipped with container lined with any material other than glass (for example, rubber).

BMT - House car constructed and equipped for passenger train service and used for the transportation of liquids.
Equipped with one or more insulated tanks and with or without pumps and compressor. Not equipped with means
of refrigeration.

XT - A house car with or without doors, with or without insulation, either metal lined or enclosing one or more
tanks.

By 1965 all remaining BMT cars had been redesignated XT.

With possibly one or two exceptions, all of the BMT and XT cars were former milk cars. Each BMT and XT car had two
internal tanks. 
CMWX 101-105 were conventional tank cars, CMWX 106-171 were wood cars and CMWX 1001-1009
were steel cars. The possible exceptions to being a former milk car were CMWX 1001 and 1002. CMWX 1001 had
a conventional box car body but with internal, glass lined tanks like the former milk cars.  Whether or not CMWX
1002 was a similar car has not been determined.


Other ORER Information

Commodities Car Co. was headquartered in New York City. Home points for the CMWX cars
were the Bronx
Terminal Market, NY, NY and Waterford, CA. The Home Repair Yard was Waterford, CA.


 
Brief History of CHATEAU MARTIN Wines

The Chateau Martin brand was owned by Eastern Wine Corporation of New York. The winery was in
Waterford, CA
on the SP Oakdale Branch and bulk wine was shipped in Chateau Martin cars from Waterford to the Bronx.
The wine was bottled in New York. The diagram below shows the track arrangement in Waterford in 1975.


Waterford, CA track diagram from Southern Pacific SPINS book dated 2-1-75. (Cliff Prather Collection)


This image is cropped from an aerial photo of Waterford, CA in 1947. The light-colored buildings in the
center are all part of the Chateau Martin winery complex. Just left of center and above the winery is
what appears to be the SP depot. (The original image, from the John Signor Collection, is in an article
by Gary B. Jones on the SP Montpellier Branch in the Summer 2010 issue (#104) of SP TRAINLINE,
the official publication of the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society. The photo is used by
permission.)


This photo shows two wine tank cars, CMWX 1006 and 1009, on the spur next to the Chateau Martin winery
in Waterford, CA. The photo was taken by Robert Schleicher in the late 1960s or early 70s and appeared in
an article on modeling milk tank cars in the September 2005 issue of Railmodel Journal.
(Robert Schleicher photo, used by permission)

A Chateau Martin wine bottle
label included the statement "From the San Joaquin Valley of California." CMWX cars
were
also loaded at wineries in San Martin, CA on the SP Coast Route and at Mattei, CA on the Santa Fe Visalia
District.

In February 1948, 25 tank cars of Chateau Martin wine were shipped from the Waterford winery to the Bronx NY.
The trade magazine
Wines & Vines reported in its March 1948 issue that the record trainload carried 200,000
gallons of wine. The train left Waterford behind 2-6-0 SP1770 with 15 cars of Port, 7 cars of Muscatel and 3 cars
of Dry Red Wine. A long banner on the side of the train proclaimed:

"LARGEST TRAINLOAD OF WINES in HISTORY
CHATEAU MARTIN WINERY in CALIFORNIA to N.Y.C."


This SP photo from the UP Museum shows the train ready to leave Waterford.
(UNION PACIFIC MUSEUM collection, used by permission)


The press covered the arrival of the train in the Bronx where digniteries were given a taste of wine directly from
one of the tank cars. The photo below shows the participants and some of the press at the celebration. Note that
the banner is again attached to the sides of the tank cars.


The 25-car trainload of Chateau Martin Wine arrives at the Bronx Terminal Market on February 21, 1948.
(Irving Haberman Photo, Author's Collection)


New photo added May 2014
An Eastern Wine Company publicity photo shows the end of the bottling process. The caption on the back of
the photo reads "GLAMOR TRIMMINGS All dressed up in gold foil, fancy labels and outer transparent
wrappings, the bottles come out of an infra-red dryer which insures that the labels are permanently fixed."
Bronx, New York, December 27, 1946. (Acme Photo Service, Author's Collection)

In 1972
Eastern Wine Company and its famous wine label were purchased by Canandaigua Industries.
On December 4, 1972,
Canandaigua Industries changed its name to Canandaigua Wine Company.

John Nehrich, writing on the NEB&W/Rensselaer Model Railroad Society Fanpage on Facebook,
has provided additional
historical information
:

In 1933, after Prohibition ended, Martin Lefcourt established Lefcourt Wine Co., later Eastern Wine.
The company purchased American wines from wine-growers and blended them to make their own
brand, which they sold as Chateau Martin. The "Chateau" part was to imply a quality French wine,
while the "Martin" part came from Lefcourt's first name.

A purple freight car is unusual, to say the least, and Chateau Martin's grape-colored wine cars
attracted more than their share of attention (and color film). While superficially all the cars had
the same scheme, there was variation - in fact, lots of variations. (Notice, too, that the schemes
were at odds with the billboard reefer laws.)

Chateau Martin owned "milk" cars with internal tanks to ship wine from Waterford, California to
Bronx Market Terminal in New York City. But despite the heritage of these cars, they did NOT
travel in milk trains or even in passenger trains - there was no need for speed. After all, the
longer the fruit of vine ages, the better, the opposite of "fruit of the bovine" JN (6/9/2013)




CMWX Photo Gallery

The gallery contains photos of three different types of cars (all ex-milk cars) and five different lettering schemes.
Between 1940 and 1975 the Commodities Car Company rostered a total of sixty two different cars. Twenty seven of
the cars are represented in the gallery: one of the five cylindrical tank cars, 19 of the wood cars, and seven of the
steel cars.

The photos are the property of the indicated owners and may not be reused without prior permission.

Recent Gallery Additions

May 2011: Photo of CMWX 2009 from author's collection.
October 2011: Photo of Erie RR tug and barge with Chateau Martin car from Philip M. Goldstein collection.
November 2011: Photos of CMWX 112, 157, 1001 and 1003 (2 photos) provided by Dick Kuelbs.
December 2011: Photos of CMWX 1001, 1005 and 1007.
February 2012: Photos of CMWX 131 and 143.
October 2012: Photos of CMWX 125, 157, 163, 171 and 1006 (2 photos)
August 2013: Color photo of CMWX 119.
November 2013: Color image of a Chateau Martin wine bottle label and color photo of CMWX 160.
May 2014 Black and white photo of the bottling process and color photos of CMWX 108, 123, 143 and 1008.



Cylindrical Tank Cars


C.M.W.X. 102, August 30, 1940.
(American Car & Foundry photo from the Hawkins-Wider-Long collection.)



Wood Cars


The Erie Railroad tug 'Chicago' pushes a barge of rail cars, including a Chateau Martin wood car, across a
part of New York harbor, ca. 1957. (Unkown photographer, Philip M. Goldstein collection)

The number of the Chateau Martin wood car in the photo above is not readable and the lettering scheme does not
match any of the examples shown below. In addition, the body color appears to be more purple than the magenta
color in the photos below. If so, it is the closest example that I've found of the purple body color used by several
manufacturers of models of Chateau Martin cars. The photo is reproduced from Philip Goldstein's website
www.freightrrofnyc.info, subject to the conditions stated on the website.


CMWX 108 at SP's Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, 1958. (Bruce Petty Photo, used
by permission)


New photo added May 2014
CMWX 108. Unknown location and date. (Author's collection)


CMWX 109. Except for the car number, this car appears to have no identification. San Francisco, CA, ca. 1963.
(Jim Haugh Photo,
used by permission)

Additional 1963 close-up photos show details of CMWX 109: left truck, bottom of door and underbody, right truck,
lower part of end, and upper part of end. (Jim Haugh Photos)


CMWX 112 in San Martin, CA on July 18, 1953. (Dick Kuelbs collection, used by permission)



CMWX 119. This car has unusual lettering. Location unknown, dated October 1952. (Author's Collection)


CMWX 119 on the SP. The car has been repainted with another unusual lettering scheme. Date and location
unknown. (Author's Collection)


CMWX 119. Date and location are unknown. (Soph Marty photo, property of Rensselaer Model Railroad
Society, used by permission)


CMWX 108, 109 and 119 are representative of "General American-built 40' wood milk tank cars as typically leased by
General American-Pfaudler under GPEX reporting marks (some of the earliest cars were leased by GA under GARE
reporting marks prior to GA's forming the car-leasing joint venture with Pfaudler)."  Reference: New Haven Railroad
Historical and Technical Society, New Haven Railroad Forum, July 24, 2005 (posted by "John in NY").


New photo added May 2014
CMWX 123 at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Unknown date. (Author's Collection)


CMWX 125 in the Bronx, NY on May 29, 1956. (G. J. Abere, Jr. Photo, Author's Collection)


CMWX 131. The photo was taken in Baltimore MD in 1965. (Author's Collection)

CMWX 132. This car has the same lettering scheme as CMWX 119, above. Oakdale, CA, 1954.
(Author's Collection)


CMWX 141 at SP's Taylor Yard in Los Angeles, 1958. (Bruce Petty Photo,
used by permission)


In an undated* photo, what appears to be CMWX 142 is in a cut of reefers passing the U.S. Post Office
(left) and MO Tower (right) on the New York Central in the Bronx, NY. The location is near the Bronx
Terminal Market, the eastern terminus of the CMWX cars. The lettering on the car is the same as on
CMWX 119, above. (Author's Collection)

* Although there is no date on the original slide, if the car is in fact CMWX 142 then the date is likely to be sometime
in the mid to late 1950s. CMWX 142 entered the Chateau Martin car fleet after October 1953 and was off the roster
before July 1961. The slide was processed by Pavelle Color of New York City. Pavelle was purchased by Technicolor
in August 1956 but it is not known how long after that the Pavelle name continued to be used.


CMWX 143. The photo was possibly taken at San Martin, CA, where one of the Chateau Martin wineries was
located. (Wilbur Whittaker Photo, used by permission)


New photo added May 2014
 CMWX 143. Location and date unknown. (Author's collection)


CMWX 143. This photo was taken in San Bernardino in August 1965. Compared to the previous photo, it can be
seen that the car has been rebuilt with plywood siding and a narrower single door.
(Bruce H. Jones Photo,
used by permission)



CMWX 151. Except for the car number, this car appears to have no identification. San Francisco, CA, ca. 1963.
(Jim Haugh Photo,
used by permission)

Additional 1963 close-up photos show details of CMWX 151: lower part of end, middle part of end and
upper part of end. (Jim Haugh Photos)


CMWX 154. Yet another lettering scheme photographed in San Francisco, CA, ca. 1963. (Jim Haugh Photo,
used by permission)



CMWX 155 in Baltimore, MD, circa 1965. (Gene Deimling Collection, used by permission)


CMWX 157 at at an unknown location in March 1967. (Dick Kuelbs collection, used by permission)


CMWX 157 at Superior, MT in June 1968. (Jim Parker Photo, used by permission)






CMWX 157. The car has new siding. San Jose, CA, May 28, 1970. (Kenneth Clyde Jenkins Photo,
used by permission)


CMWX 158 at Denver, CO, August 1965. (Matt Herson Photo,
used by permission)


CMWX 158 at North Little Rock, AR in 1966. (Charles Ost Photo, used by permission)


New Photo added November 2013
CMWX 160 at Gilroy, CA in November 1966. The car has been rebuilt with plywood sides and a narrow door.
Note that the fascia had been painted white. (Wesley L. Hammond Photo, Author's Collection)


CMWX 161 in the Santa Fe yard, Richmond, CA, circa 1969. The car's accident has partially revealed
one of the internal tanks. (Jeff Root Photo, Copyright 2007, used by permission)


CMWX 161. Date and location unknown.
The car has been rebuilt with plywood sides and a narrow door.


CMWX 163 at an unknown location in November 1967. The car has plywood sides but still has the wide door.
(Scott Vines Photo, Author's Collection)





Two photos of CMWX 170 at San Jose, CA on May 28, 1970. The car has new plywood sides and a narrower
door. (Kenneth Clyde Jenkins Photos,
used by permission)


CMWX 171 at Ritzville, WA in June 1968. (Jim Parker Photo, used by permission)


CMWX 171 at Escalon, CA on the Tidewater Southern. (Gene Deimling Photo,
used by permission)


End and Underbody of CMWX 171.
(Gene Deimling Photos, used by permission)


Another view of CMWX 171 in Southern California. (Ron Morse Photo, used by permission)


CMWX 171 in the Bay Area in the late 1960s. Compared to the photos of 171, above, the car has new
trucks as well as
new siding - probably plywood. It also has the narrower door, similar to CMWX 170.
(Gene Deimling Photo,
used by permission)


1967 Santa Fe Switchlist for freight train on
the Visalia District showing delivery of
CMWX 171 to Mattei, CA.
(Randy Sunada Collection,
used by permission)

CMWX 141 through 171 represent "classic 40' wood milk tank cars" of MDT design. They have the "later style
underframe with the distinctive exposed-channel side sill with outward-facing flanges.
" Reference: New Haven
Railroad Historical and Technical Society, New Haven Railroad Forum, July 24, 2005 (posted by "John in NY").



Steel Cars

CMWX 1001, San Martin, CA, September 29, 1962.
(
Richard Burg Collection, used by permission. Richard obtained the photo from Paul Dunn)

CMWX 1001 is unlike the other steel cars in the Commodities Car Company fleet, in that it's a box car rather than
a Pfaudler milk car (several of the Pfaudler cars are pictured below). It was most likely the only such car in the fleet
(the other possibility being CMWX 1002). Stenciled in the white rectangle at the lower right just above the side sill
are the following words:

FRAGILE   CONTAINS
GLASS LINED TANKS
DO NOT HUMP

According to the ORER the capacity of the tanks was 6,000 gallons, the same as the capacity of the Pfaudler milk
cars.


A Fully Painted CMWX 1001 is shown in Fort Worth, Texas, February, 1966.
(
K. B. King, Jr photo, Dick Kuelbs collection, used by permission)

The lettering scheme on CMWX 1001 is somewhat different from all the ex-milk cars and appears to have been
adapted to fit the car. In the color photo, above, the build date to the left of the door appears to be 8-53, although
it is difficult to read.


CMWX 1001 is shown at the winery in San Martin, CA, October 1971. Most of the reporting marks were
covered with dirt and grime but there was an ACI label on the car side. ACI labels were required starting

in the late 1960s.
(Author's collection)


CMWX 1003 in Southern California. The car has yet to be repainted from its former milk car paint scheme
into the Chateau Martin colors. Note the hand lettering. (Ron Morse Photo,
used by permission)


CMWX 1003 at the winery in San Martin, CA October 4, 1970. (Dick Kuelbs collection, used by permission)


CMWX 1003 with the standard Chateau Martin lettering scheme at Point Richmond, CA on January 23, 1972.
All of the steel cars (except CMWX 1001) had the narrow door opening, similar to what CMWX 170 and 171
had after rebuilding. (Kenneth Clyde Jenkins Photo,
used by permission)


CMWX 1003 in Needles, CA in February 1973. Compared to the photos above, this car has lost its express
type trucks. (Ed Stoll photo, Dick Kuelbs collection,
used by permission)


CMWX 1005 in Binghamton, NY. (Chuck Yungkurth Photo, Gene Deimling Collection,
used by permission)


CMWX 1005 in Oakdale, CA, June 1971. (Kenneth M. Ardinger Photo, Author's collection)


CMWX 1006 in Baltimore, MD in September 1966. (Jim Atkinson Photo, William Nixon Collection,
used by permission
)


CMWX 1006 at San Luis Obispo, CA in August 1973. (Peter Arnold Photo, Author's Collection)


CMWX 1007 near Barstow, CA, November 1970.
(K. B. King, Jr photo, Dick Kuelbs collection,
used by permission)


CMWX 1008 in Southern California. (Ron Morse Photo, used by permission)


CMWX 1008 in Pine Bluff, AR, January 1975. (Brian Ehni Photo, used by permission)


New photo added May 2014
CMWX 1008 in Baltimore, MD, October 1965.
(Scanned from a print from the Howard Ameling collection, print is now in the Author's collection
)


CMWX 1009 in Yonkers, NY in 1967. (Rick Dietrichson Photo, used by permission)

Either CMWX 1009 (above) was painted in a light color or the wine red paint has badly faded and bleached out. I
suspect the latter. Below is a closer look at the center of the car. Note the small patch of faded red to the lower left
of
the door. This same car appears in a photo on page 54 of the September 2005 issue of RailModel Journal. In the
RMJ photo the car is at the winery in Waterford, CA on the opposite side of the country from the Yonkers photo.



CMWX 1009 in Yonkers, NY in 1967. (Rick Dietrichson Photo, used by permission)

Rick Dietrichson provided additional photos of the car end, the left end of the side and the right end of the side.
(Rick Dietrichson Photos,
used by permission)


CMWX 1009 at San Martin, CA on June 14, 1969. (Author's Collection)

CMWX 1003, 1005, 1008 and 1009 represent "a General American milk tank car but of the postwar 40' all-steel
design. These cars were "once leased by General American-Pfaudler under GPEX reporting marks." Reference: New
Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Society, New Haven Railroad Forum, July 24, 2005 (posted by "John in NY").

The following photos show the remaining buildings of the Chateau Martin winery complex in Waterford CA as they
appeared in March 2008. (Photos by the author)








Chateau Martin ad from a 1943 issue of Esquire Magazine. (Author's Collection)

                                    
Chateau Martin Matchbook Cover, Unopened Bottle of 1946 Vintage Chateau Martin Wine, and
Close-up of Wine Bottle Label. (Author's Collection, purchased on E-Bay)