Re: Multi-dome tank car data

Douglas Harding

Distilate was an early fuel, a cheap byproduct (some considered a waste product) of the petroleum refining process. It is not diesel nor is it gasoline. Distilate was commonly used over gasoline because it was half the cost. Diesel engines were expensive, thus were not commonly used in farming or highway trucks until the late 50’s when their higher torque proved popular. A lot of early farm tractors ran on distillate (but started with more expensive gasoline or kerosene), hence the large amounts of distilate delivered to local oil jobbers in the 30’s & 40’s. A three dome tank car could contain distilate, kerosene and gasoline in amounts a small dealer could receive. Distilate was also used in the earliest gas electrics, the UP’s M10000 burned distilate. The early Winton engines were designed to burn distilate.


The group files contains a spreadsheet “M&STL Station Books.xls” showing freight car delivery, and their contents, to two small towns on the M&StL, Minburn and Dallas Center IA. Years from the mid 40’s and mid 50’s are listed. The late Tim Gilbert took these spreadsheets and created one showing just the petroleum products and tank cars delivered to these towns in 1949, it is in the group files “49mslminburndallascenteroil.xls”. Note distilate is a common load, as is gasoline. A few loads of fuel oil (ie home heating oil), but no diesel in 1949.


Doug Harding


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