Re: "Good Gulf No-Nox Ethyl" Tank Cars


GRCX 3746 was donated to ITM by the Alcoa plant in Lafayette, Indiana, along with several additional freight cars and a 25 ton Ohio crane. Alcoa purchased an unknown number of tank cars for in-house service. They had their tanks cut up and the frames plated over for use as flat cars. This car escaped by being used to store used oil from retired transformers. When the equipment was being prepared for shipment, someone realized 3746 was full (PCB's)! Alcoa contracted to have it emptied and cleaned before it left their property. It was cleaned three times. It may be the cleanest 85 year old tank car in existence.

The car was still wearing paint from Oct.3, 1968 as WRNX 14141. I was very surprised to find it on the cover of "Railroad Slogans and Heralds Photo Archive" by John Kelly. Inside the image is credited to Bob's Photo, taken in Providence, Rhode Island, May 26,1969.

I exchanged a few emails with Richard Hendrickson while we were working on the car in 2006, including the one below:

Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@...>
Thursday, October 05, 2006 2:24 PM

On Oct 5, 2006, at 5:34 AM, c.presler wrote:

We finally began refinishing our Gulf tank car as shown in the attached photos. We did find "I.C.C. 103.",  "P.I.W.CO.",  "10. 14. 30." & "14894" stamped on the end of the tank while sand blasting. The trucks also have P.I.W.CO. cast on the side frames and bolsters. Although we did find traces of orange paint on the rivets and fixtures on the dome, we didn't find the large logo on the tank as shown on the photo of GRCX 5016 you sent me earlier. I understand that car was a 10,000 gallon car built before the Stock Market crashed and this one is an 8,000 car. The photos of 8,000 gal. cars you kindly sent show an all black car with basic lettering. I would have believed Depression economics might have dictated the plain paint and lettering, but the orange on the dome makes me hope this car might have gotten the flashier paint scheme. Do you have any thoughts on this ?

The information stamped on the tank and cast into the truck frames establishes without question that the car was built by the Petroleum Iron Works (ex-Pennsylvania Tank Car Co.) at Sharon, PA in October, 1930. That's no surprise, as Gulf bought a bunch of both 8K and 10K gal. tank cars from PIW at that time.

As for paint and lettering, the traces of orange that survive on the dome confirm that, during the 1930s, the car was painted in the P/L scheme shown on the photo of GRCX 5016 that I sent you, as were most or all of the cars in the Gulf fleet at that time. Most of the extant photos of GRCX cars were taken in the 1950s and '60s and therefore show the basic black with reporting marks and data only which was adopted by Gulf during WW II. You would therefore be justified in painting it either way. The 1930s lettering with the orange and white logo would, of course, be more labor-intensive, but more colorful and interesting. Your call.

Richard Hendrickson

We painted the car based on what was traced when the car was blasted and Richard's note. We did trace the WRNX 14141 lettering also. I'll be grateful for any additional info you may find. I'll try to post some photos in a folder tonight, including Richards' shot of 5016.

Craig Presler

Join to automatically receive all group messages.