Re: Tankcar Challange

Richard Hendrickson

On May 30, 2013, at 11:03 AM, soolinehistory <destorzek@...> wrote:

OK, enough aeroplanes. I've got a freightcar question.

On the Railway Preservation News discussion board there is a question as to the origins of a tankcar presently at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana. The car was last used by the Walter Haffner Company, who dealt in animal by-products... yuck! Anyway, the museum would like to restore/repaint the car for an earlier era, and in general would like to nail down its history. One thought they had is since the car rides on Vulcan trucks with NYC cast in the sideframes, that the car is ex-NYC, but that really doesn't seem likely (it's possible) and it's not unusual for used trucks to make their way into service in the lease fleets.

Here's what is known so far:

AAR III, Built by AC&F 7/1919, last tested by Keith Tank Line at Longview TX 4/30/54. The last reporting marks were WCHX 1114, previous mark was PTCX 1103.

Photos are in the discussion at, I don't think you need to be registered to view the discusston at this link:

If you read through the thread, you'll see I make quite the case for collaborating with the modeling fraternity, since modelers seem to do considerably more in depth research than the railway meseums do, simply because the museum folks are pre-occupied with just preserving and maintaining the stuff. Let's show them what we can do. I'm sure any information we can add, even general histories of the car design or fleets it was in would be appreciated.

Dennis, the car in question is an 8,000 gal. AC&F Type 17 built, as the stenciling says, in July, 1919. And that is the original AC&F underframe with AB air brake equipment replacing its original KC brakes. This car would originally have had two safety valves on an elbow attached to the dome, but they were doubtless removed and the hole plated over when the car was converted to carry non-regulatory commodities in the late 1950s; note the frangible disk relief valve on top of the dome. We know the car wasn't used for regulatory commodities much after 1954, since that's the last pressure test date. Cars used for non-regulatory commodities were not required to be pressure tested. As several people who contributed to the discussion pointed out, the fact that the truck side frames were originally cast for the New York Central is of no significance; most Type 17s were delivered with arch bar trucks which were, of course, required to be replaced on cars in interchange by 1941, and the original trucks were often replaced with second hand trucks. The Keith Railway Equipment Co. operated its own tank car fleet, but their extensive shops at Longview, TX performed tests and maintenance on cars for many tank car owners. PTCX were the reporting marks of the People's Transportation Co. of New Orleans, LA and first appeared in the Official Railway Equipment Registers in the mid-1960s showing six cars numbered 1101-1106. The ORERs provide no data about People's Transportation Co. or the commodities their cars carried, but someone with access to a major business affairs library might be able to track down more information. Their tank car fleet was short lived, as it appeared in the 10/65 ORER but was absent from the 10/67 ORER. I have no clue about who owned the PTCX cars before People's Transportation acquired them second hand, but there might some evidence for that on the car itself. The Walter Haffner Co., originally of Chicago, first appeared in the ORERs at the end of World War II with a fleet of almost 200 tank cars operating under WCHX reporting marks, mostly if not entirely second hand. By the '60s they had relocated their headquarters to Mobile, AL and operated a sizable tank car fleet. It appears that their cars carried a lot more than animal by-products, as they had insulated cars, high pressure cars. cars with aluminum tanks, etc. Photographic evidence indicates that most, if not all, of these cars continued to be acquired second (or third or fourth) hand.

Richard Hendrickson

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