Re: Tank Car Reweigh and Other Markings

Bruce Smith


I'm not sure why you are confused. Tony's comments are clear. Tank cars are not box cars. They were not required to be reweighed on a regular interval. Their cargos were not billed based on weight, but on volume. This a shipper has no need for an accurate light weight of the tank car, since the car will not be weighed and the weight of the cargo will not be calculated from the total weight minus the light weight. Thus, just as Tony says, there are plenty of examples of tank cars with reweigh dates a decade or more old.  And yes, they can also have more current dates if they have undergone some kind of service, again, just like Tony sez...

So to answer your question, the relevance of an older scheme depends on several issues, but generally not reweigh. Older lease schemes can be inappropriate due to the lease having ended. Likewise if an owner has changed paint schemes in the intervening years, the car may have been repainted into the newer scheme. 

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

From: <> on behalf of Ray Carson via <PrewarUPModeler@...>
Sent: Sunday, October 4, 2020 8:58 PM
To: <>
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Tank Car Reweigh and Other Markings

Hello everyone,

With the release of Tangent's new run of 8000 gallon 1917-design tankers, I was interested in something that got me confused months before.

So I was reading on Tony Thompson's blog regarding an SP tank car he was building in 2014 ( and in one part he says:

On the tank at this point, there is no reweigh date. Tank car cargoes were billed by gallonage, not by weight, so the car’s light weight was of no importance (unlike all other types of freight cars). Prototype photos commonly show tank cars having weigh dates a decade, or even multiple decades, prior to the photo date. But when cars were repaired, they were ordinarily reweighed, and SP tank cars often do show that change.

Okay, that makes sense. However I've seen photos of tank cars with their dates reflecting when the photo was taken in service. I even recall seeing photos of tank car models with reweigh dates for some modelers modeling a year. Was this something overlooked or am I getting myself confused with tank cars?

So in the end, would a Tangent 1936+ scheme tank car fit my 1939 year without making any decal changes? How about older tank cars that are 5+ years older? I'm overall used to the concept of freight cars being reweighed every 1-2 years depending on whether wood or steel bodied and tank cars being an exception confuses me a bit.

Thanks, Ray

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