Re: more on asphalt cars (Unloading Road Tar)

Douglas Harding

There are two photos of the UTLX car at Marietta MN being unloaded into a road oil truck. The date is June 1954. I don’t think the photo has anything to do with asphalt. In the mid-west it was a common practice to spray gravel (rock) roads with oil to control the dust during the summer. Note the truck has a propane tank and a spray boom, indicating the oil was heated to ease spraying. The second photo, taken from a higher angle clearly shows the hose from the top of the tank car dome to the top of the trailer. The trailer is equipped with a heater and a pump, to heat the oil so it can be pumped from the car to the truck. It is possible the car contained oil to be used in making an asphalt road, but I am pretty sure it was oil used to spray for dust control. This is a practice that was common up through the 60’s and later in rural areas of Iowa.

Doug Harding


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2016 3:34 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: more on asphalt cars (Unloading Road Tar)


I think it’s possible that the hose “connected” to the top of the tank car may be an illusion. Since there is a grain elevator behind the car, it’s possible the “hose” is actually a line to the rooftop of the elevator, and just appears to connect to the car due to the angle of the photographer and the single eye of the lens, which gives no stereoscopic vision.



On Sep 16, 2016, at 2:36 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Bob Chaparro wrote:

Could someone explain the flow of material from the tank car to the tank truck?

I see a hose on the top of the tank car and another on the bottom. This picture is a little too fuzzy to make out what is being done by what appears to be a mobile pump.

Good question, Bob, and I wondered the same thing. The tank car isn't insulated, meaning that either it has built-in steam coils or some other method must be used to liquidize the asphalt/tar. Could the line into the dome manway be a steam line, to an immersion coil? These were used elsewhere for such a purpose. I agree with Bob also that it is too bad we can't see more clearly what the mobile "pump" or whatever it is is doing, but it might have a small boiler or hot-water heater to feed a coil.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

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