Re: A point of order - war board cousins

Richard Hendrickson

On Sep 16, 2005, at 6:51 AM, Bob Webber wrote:

....However, I wonder then about
tank cars as that is one car type that always seems to be decried as
not having proper representation in the model world due to the many
variances and the uncertain prototypes so far chosen.
Actually, by ca. 1930 there were only two tank car manufacturers in the U.S., AC&F and General American, (plus one in Canada, Canadian Car & Foundry), and the two tank car designs that were being built from 1930 through WW II were the AC&F Type 27 and the GATC Type 30. These were thus de facto "standard" designs. The problem is that they were made in a variety of types (ICC-103, insulated ICC-104, insulated high pressure ICC-105, and other specialized tank designs for acids, corrosive chemicals, and such) as well as a variety of sizes, everything from 4,000 gal. to 12,500 gal. After WW II, both AC&F and GATC switched to all welded construction, though their tank car designs didn't change much in other respects.

Briefly, during WW II, there was a "war emergency" tank car design, intended to save steel, which was assigned specification USG-A and AC&F built more than 700 of them; they were essentially the 10,000 gal. tank of USRA design (never actually built during WW I but resurrected during WWII) mounted on a standard AC&F Type 27 underframe. Those cars can be modeled in HO scale with a Tichy tank on an Intermountain underframe, plus some detail modifications.

Conveniently, both AC&F and GATC mounted both 8k and 10K tanks on the same underframes, and Intermountain takes advantage of this to produce both 8K and 10K versions of the Type 27s with ICC-103 tanks, as does Life-Like in their models of the earlier AC&F Type 21s. But that's no help in modeling smaller size tank cars, of which there were many, nor multiple compartment cars which were almost all of 6K gal. or smaller capacity, nor large insulated ICC-105s used for chlorine and LPG service. So, in effect, the standardization of tank cars in that era meant that all the underframe components were the same, except that the underframes were of different lengths, while the tanks varied widely in size and type.

Richard Hendrickson

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