Re: Barnsdall Company car BIGX 119 and the Rio Grande Oil Co.

Steve and Barb Hile

As far as I know, the Barnsdall tank cars were purchased by UTLX in 1933 and UTLX provided cars to Barnsdall under lease arrangements.


Steve Hile


From: [] On Behalf Of Andy Carlson
Sent: Saturday, May 8, 2021 10:13 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Barnsdall Company car BIGX 119 and the Rio Grande Oil Co.


In 1928, the Barnsdall-Rio Grande Oil Co. built an iconic gas station on the edge of their site of the very profitable Ellwood Beach oil field. Their colorful RGOX tank car, featured on the cover of "Focus of the Freight Car" book was part of a West coast complete gasoline business from drilling to company retail gas stations.


I would like to learn more about Barnsdall's tank car operations and if morphed into the Rio Grande Oil Co. by the 1937 time of the RGOX cover featured tank car.  There is very little to be found from my online searches.



-Andy Carlson

Ojai CA


On Saturday, May 8, 2021, 7:50:02 AM PDT, Claus Schlund \(HGM\) <claus@...> wrote:



Hi Garth and List Members,


With respect to the "Athearn model of three-dome tank car", Garth wrote:


"No prototype at all. Yes, there were three-compartment tank cars, but nearly all were much smaller than the Athearn . . . uh . . . model. The tank size represents a total volume of about 12,000 gallons. Most triples were 8,000 or smaller"


Decades back, in 1978, Cyril Durrenberger wrote an article in Prototype modeler Dec 1978 issue pg 54 with respect to shortening this car to make a model of Barnsdall Company car BIGX 119. See link below for an image of his result...



You can see the entire article at


Mr Durrenberger mentions that a prototype photo of this car was to be found on page 33 of 15Apr1927 issue of 'Petroleum Age' - I have looked around for a copy of this publication on the internet but have had no luck.


My Dec1930 ORER confirms that the series BIGX 101-120 were 8000 gal 80,000 lb three compartment cars.


(1) Has anyone seen the prototype photo of this car found on page 33 of 15Apr1927 issue of 'Petroleum Age'? If so, care to comment on the accuracy of  Mr Durrenberger's result? Or better yet, care to share the photo?


(2) I assume shortening the car probably would leave it still too large to be in the 8000 gal range, is that accurate? Probably because the tank diameter is too large, and that cannot be easily corrected, right?


All thoughts on the topic welcome.


Claus Schlund



Join to automatically receive all group messages.