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
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."