Not limiting my interests to simply trains (can I get away with using "simply"?), I also like old gas pumps. My grandfather worked in the Ellwood Beach oilfield up the coast 10 miles from Santa Barbara which was the only mainland US target of axis shellings during WWll, in this case by a Japanese sub. The oil company was the Barnsdall Oil Co. which was a somewhat big player in the West as the "Rio Grande Oil company"
I mention this because the Rio Grande Oil Co was an early proponent of catalized cracking refining. so much so that they bragged about it on their gas pump face art with the logo "Cracked" diagonally across the shield.
Anyone interested; I have a scan of art Jerry Glow created for my 1944 Bennett 546 gas pump, which I can share by simply contacting me off-list at .
From: "jmischke@... [STMFC]"
I can think of one possible exception. At the outbreak of WWII, the oil refiners were moving from heat cracking to catalysed cracking, which was far, far more efficient. Won the war, to hear the oil companies' version of history. The alumina catalyst would go from a supplier like Davison in Baltimore to any refiner who bought it. Not every day, just when the catalyst had to be refreshed maybe a couple times a year. In 1940-41, this was a brand new hot (pun intended) technology; a western refinery would have to be tooled up to use catalyst, and be able to unload a covered hopper car. A tall order, if to be in time for your pre-WWII era theme.