Re: UTLX Class X Tank Car Build

Dave Parker

A few things:

The "Big Inch" pipeline was completed in July of 1943, and at least some historians credit it with being a significant factor in victory on the European front. There was also a "Little Big Inch" pipeline completed three months later that extended from the Gulf refineries to Philly-NJ and carried four refined products.  My understanding is that, because of the U-boat threat, the goals was to originate all petroleum shipments to Europe in the Northeast (from Philly to Portland, ME, I believe).

Second, I think crude-oil pipelines have been around longer than some folks think  The first ones, albeit primitive, date to the 1860s and 70s.  This map, from the 1925 Atlas of Traffic Maps (LaSalle Extension University, Chicago) shows a pretty extensive network from production fields to refineries.

IIRC, this pipeline network was considerably more extensive by ~1940, but should be viewed in the context of the 1925 utilization of petroleum-based energy (still dwarfed by coal by a factor of ~4).

I suspect there were several general patterns of petroleum transport outside of the WWII years.  With my New England bias, I tend to think of a dominant one as being oilfields to Gulf refineries via pipeline to coastal terminals (tank farms) by boat to distributors by rail.  Patterns in the interior of the country would have differed I suppose, but I know very little about that region.

Last, another reason to emphasize coastwise transportation of refined products is the significant quantity of fuel oil that went to the bunkering facilities found in every port, large and small, for the refueling of ships. 
Dave Parker
Swall Meadows, CA

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