Re: Tank cars for molasses delivery

irv_thomae <ithomae@...>

I can answer a few of Lynn Finch's questions, but don't know of any

The "VT feed store" he has heard about was a "For-All Store",
located in South Ryegate, in a dairy region on the Montpelier & Wells
River some half-dozen miles west of the B&M/CP Connecticut River main
line. A few years ago, as part of an oral history project, a friend
and I interviewed "Andy", a now-retired farmer who worked there in the
late 30's as a teenager.
Andy told us that back then, feeds were quite commonly mixed to
order, and molasses was a frequent component. Understandably,
however, no Depression-era Vermonter would use store-bought feed when
his own pastures were green, so most feed sales occurred during the
winter months - when the overnight temperatures often reached -30 F.
To keep the molasses manageably fluid, it was stored underground, in
the recycled body of an 8,000-gallon tank car. (You probably couldn't
do that today - I have no idea how they cleaned residual oil out of it
before its first load of molasses.)
When For-All needed more molasses, it came up from Boston via the
Concord-Plymouth line. By the time it got to Woodsville, of course,
it was pretty solid - so the tank car was spotted next to the
Woodsville roundhouse for 24 hours or so, with its heating coils
connected to a steam line. The next morning, the M&WR hauled it out
to South Ryegate, where simple gravity was now sufficient to refill
the store's tank. I don't know if portions of a single tankcar load
were delivered to other customers, but I tend to doubt it would have
been practical.

After WWII, that feed store changed hands a few times. Eventually,
the building was demolished, and its 8000-gallon tank was sold to a
fuel-oil dealer, who returned it to its original use - sort of. They
set the tank up on steel legs in Bradford, VT, and it was still there
the last time I looked.

I have no idea how much of this story can be generalized to NYO&W
territory, but it may give some sense of what problems had to be dealt
with - along with the unlikelihood that any two businesses solved them
exactly the same way.

If you do track down any photos, please let me know - So. Ryegate
will be a major focus of my (HO) layout, so I really need at least one
appropriately lettered tank car.

Irv Thomae
in Norwich, Vermont

--- In, "loconut35" <lmfin@c...> wrote:
Looking for info on tank cars used to tranport molasses from 1940
to the mid 50's
I have the Illinois Railway museum photo of GATX 75470 but I
believe this car was built in 1960. I understand there is a Ben
Brown photo of an 8,000 gal. tank car at a VT feed store and a photo
of ISTX 533 by John LaRue but I have not been able to locate
either. I believe I have read every posting in the archive about
molasses tank cars (helpful) and am looking for help in locating
more articles and photos.
I am building a model of a feed store complex on the NYO&W
located in Merrickville, NY. An 8,000 gallon tank car would fit in
the area nicely but from an interview with the owners daughter it
appears the storage tank may have been half that size. It appears
that most tank cars of this era were 8000 gallon capacity. Were
tank cars, used for molasses shipment, of this era, smaller than
8000 gallons? Or was the molasses too heavy to fill 8000 gal cars to
capacity? Or tanks cars delivered to one feed mill, partially
unloaded and then sent on to another mill? Or only loaded to the
quantitiy ordered? Or?
Thanks for your help, Lynn Finch

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