Re: B&O Boxcar with oil tank


Eric, who evidently is a New York Central fan, wrote in part;
"I came across this photo on the LOC site. Any have information
regarding it? It's WWII era. It had the following caption:
"New type of boxcar petroleum carrier which the Office of Defense
Transportation hopes may soon be helping to solve the oil shortage in
the East. The car is a standard automobile-type steel box car fitted
with four steel tanks enclosed in wooden boxes. It has a capacity of
12,200 gallons--considerably more than the average tank car serving
the East.""

I recently read somewhere (on-line?, in a magazine?) that the boxcar
with oil tanks was an early war attempt to increase the volume of
oil/petroleum products transported by railroads in 1942/43.

As you are probably remember, during the first 12 to 24 months of the
Second World War, German submarines sank a lot of coastwise shipping
(the German submariners called it "the happy time") including a
significant portion of the tanker shipping between Texas and the East
Coast. Most of the coastwise oil shipments were transferred to the
railroads, which immediately created a critical tank car shortage. And
until the production of tank cars could ramp up to satisfy the need, the
railroads converted boxcars into ersatz tank cars through the addition
of four 3,050 gallon tanks.

It would be interesting to determine if there was a plumbing manifold,
interconnecting the tanks, installed to expedite loading and emptying
the tanks. The presence of a manifold would indicate the ersatz tank
cars were intended to be more than a temporary measure.

Regards, Mike Carson

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