Tank Car Deliveries To Gas Stations?


Was there a time when some gas stations received deliveries directly by tank car?


I have come across some possible photographic evidence of this practice and several narrative accounts attesting to this.




Dome Oil Company station, circa 1920.



Caption: This image of a gasoline station in Detroit, Michigan shows the result of only one of many postwar strikes that affected America as it returned to a peacetime economy. Yank-Wacon truck drivers on strike at the time stopped the deliveries to most filling stations in the area. Motorists line up at a no-name station on September 24, 1945 while waiting to get fuel at one of the few facilities open that received its supplies from a different source, possibly the railroad tanker on the far-left.





A 1984 letter from Bill Garner describes some of the industries that were on the Santa Fe's First District in San Bernardino, CA. (Bill was a Santa Fe signal maintainer helper and freight office clerk. He first hired on in 1924. Bill also helped edit "Wheel Clicks", a contemporary account of railroad happenings in the 1930s-1950s published by the Pacific Railroad Society.)


According to the letter, a Union Ice Company spur in San Bernardino extended to a Standard Oil gas station and the last spot on the spur was used for gasoline deliveries "by UTLX tank cars" to the gas station.


Another person stated, "When I was a kid in Detroit there was a string of cheap gas station next to the railroad tracks. This was in Detroit, the motor city. It was on West Fort Street or Jefferson Avenue. I found the sidings on a map one time which had rail lines on it...


There must have been six or eight stations in a row which had tank cars on sidings behind the stations plugged into the ground."


Another person stated, "In Brooklyn, NY, there was the same kind of sidings on the east side adjacent to Manhattan. Real cheap gas and bottled oil. The track was owned by the Standard Oil Company."




Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


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