Re: Gulf tank cars

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>


Your research is quite interesting. Please allow me to point out some possibilities, all complete speculation on my part.

Sticking railroads with tank cars might not have worked well for the USRA, as most tanks were operated as privately-owned fleets tailored to the owners' needs.

(b) The Federal Tank Line cars in question might have been first operated by some other agency of the US Government, maybe the Army itself, and were never intended for distribution to railroads by the USRA. If so, they should show up some place in the ORERs of the time, unless they were only used in "on-base" service. If the latter, there might be photos and other documentation in War Department archives (training documents or operating/loading manuals, for example; such materials still exist for the WWII era).

(c) The cars might not have actually been used before WWI ended, but stored for some purpose that never came to pass because of the Armistice. One possibility could have been future use on US Army-operated railroads in Europe. Then they were sold off to FTL as "war surplus".

The documentation on these cars might have been lost long ago. Likely nobody thought it would be of interest to historians a hundred years later, and many such government documents were trashed. Or it might be in some forgotten file folder
totally unconnected with the USRA in the National Archives.

I find the 3500-gallon tanks intriguing. On wonders what such small tanks carried. Maybe it was some especially dense liquid chemical, like later cars used in tetra ethyl service. They might not have even looked like other tank cars.

I love a mystery. I love solutions even more.

Yours Aye,

Garth Groff  🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

On 11/20/18 1:05 AM, Steve and Barb Hile wrote:
Let's see if I can make an explanation that doesn't sound too much like weasel wording.
The pictures from the Indiana Historical Society of the Lincoln Oil cars showed up pretty late in my research process.  It may have been Brian, or someone else on the Steam Era Freight Car list that first pointed out FTX 10073 sometime earlier this year.  However, I had no information that would indicate that FTX 10073 ever became an LINX or UTLX car.  In fact, the UTLX records showed that they purchased only 8000 gallon cars from Lincoln Oil.  But the link to FTX 10073 lead to other photos from that site, including the other on on page 125, which shows what UTLX did buy.
However, when I searched on the Federal Tank Line, I ran across the attached bond listing
This states that the Federal Tank Line was incorporated in 1919 for the purpose of acquiring 746 tank cars constructed for and purchased by the US Government in 1918 and 1919 and then leasing them out.
I did not fully intend to say that FTX 10073 was a USRA tank car, per se.  The underframe does match the USRA design, while the tank does not.  It certainly would be interesting to see what some of the other cars in the fleet looked like.
They certainly also had some ARA Class V tank cars, as is shown in this ORER listing from 1926
The illustration of FTX also appears to be of the USRA style underframe.  The Federal Tank Line listing was gone from the ORER by 1930.
We, Ted, Dave Parker and I, discussed the interrelationships between Pennsylvania Tank Car Company, Pennsylvania Iron Works and General American, as the car was, apparently built in Warren, Ohio by General American, but it does not use their Type 17 underframe design.  The tank matches the GATX Type 17 ten thousand gallon tank (think Tangent car.)
An interesting kitbash could be pairing the Tangent tank with the Tichy underframe.  If we only knew where the FTX cars cars went....
So, is it a USRA car?  The answer is - sort of...
At least this explains my statement about Federal Tank leasing USRA tank cars.  At least they were originally owned by the government and some used a USRA underframe design.
Probably more information than most of you need.
Steve Hile

From: [] On Behalf Of Tim O'Connor
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2018 8:34 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Gulf tank cars

Tony, it sounds kinda like we're playing with semantics.

Fact: there was a design for a tank car, and Gould followed it.

This FTX 10073 might be a tank car that follows that design.

If that is TRUE, then we must admit that at least one tank car was built
that can be modeled correctly with the Gould kit.

Whether or not this design was PROPOSED or SUBMITTED to USRA is something
of a moot point, since we KNOW (and have said for years) that no tank cars
were built for the USRA.

Disclaimer: I do not have the UTLX book so I have no knowledge of page 125.

Tim O'Connor

Brian Leppert wrote:

Get a copy of Steve Hile's new UTLX book and look at page 125 for the photo of FTX 10073 and read the caption on the opposite page.  I'll argue that's a tank car BUILT to the USRA drawings FOR the USRA.

    I do already have Steve's book. I would respond that there are several scholarly articles available in the literature which provide excruciating detail from government records on ALL cars ordered by and for the USRA. There is not a single tank car listed in any of them.
       There were a number of car designs created for the USRA, but only five of them received USRA specification numbers. The tank car is not among them. This and many additional details are readily accessible in sources such as James Lane's article in _Railroad History_ no. 128. That "tank cars were built as part of the war effort," I would not doubt, but that does NOT mean that any such cars followed the USRA design, much less that they were ordered by USRA.
         Steve's assertion that some tank cars were built for USRA has no research foundation that I know of, but I would be intrigued to know more. What, exactly, is the basis of this assertion?

Tony Thompson 

Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts

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