Re: BLI 6K Tank Car photos posted

Ed Hawkins

On Mar 6, 2017, at 10:31 PM, matt.dowd4@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Does anyone have any more information about the prototypes BLI chose? I'm curious to see if any of these cars would have been painted in other, more plain looking lease schemes such as GATC or UTLX. I was considering buying some of these models but the paint schemes aren't all that flattering in my opinion. Thanks in advance for the help

I’ll take a shot at answering your question. 

Many, but not all, of the new BLI models are based on as-built cars in the schemes delivered from ACF’s Milton, Pa. plant. These follow the ACF paint specs as denoted in ACF bills of materials that are available for review at the Barriger National Railroad Library (a part of the St. Louis Mercantile Library). 

A relatively few number of these prototype cars were plain-jane black with simple white stencils when delivered during the 1930s into the 1940s. The majority were painted in colorful schemes with numerous cars equipped with what ACF termed as "mud guards" to reduce the grime otherwise collected on the lower section of the jacket due to wheel splash. Other cars may have been repainted black at some later date, however, in-service photos have not yet been located to confirm this. If anyone has such photos, please make them available to BLI.

Several owners continued to paint their tank cars in colorful schemes for many years. Hooker consistently applied their colorful orange/white/black scheme during the span of the steam era. Other companies keeping their spiffy paint scheme were Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPGX) and Southern Alkali (SACX), that in 1951 together became Columbia Southern. Similarly, the Ethyl Corp. (EBAX) cars for anti-knock compound were typically gray and black with colorful company trademarks. 

Regarding GATX or UTLX, none of these Type 27 chlorine tank cars for were built for them. To become GATX or UTLX would have required the owner to sell the cars to these large tank car leasing companies, who in turn may have painted them in their normal black with white stencils (GATC) or yellow stencils (UTLX). Perhaps that occurred, but again in-service photos are needed to confirm.

The plain-jane black/white schemes would more likely be cars owned by Shippers’ Car Line (SHPX), who by the postwar era may have repainted some of their cars black with white stencils. Approximately 50 SHPX cars built in 1946-1947 for lease to Mathieson Chemicals were painted black with white stencils, but they were on long-term lease and lettered with relatively large Mathieson company graphics.

During the 1950s many of the PSMX Penn Salt cars went to Shippers’ Car Line, so the challenge is to locate photos of them.
Ed Hawkins

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