GRAMPS tank cars

Frank Pearsall

Narrow gauge UTLX and GRAMPS tank cars

To look at these cars, please step back and see the overall picture.
Originally, between 60 to 66 cars, the Van Dyke standard gauge cars
were of 1908 and 1912 vintage. They were rebuilt to narrow gauge in
two styles, “narrow framed” and “frameless.”

The frameless cars were of 6,500 gallon capacity. Sills were not
used. The bottom tank plate was very heavy with the draft gear
riveted to it. Trucks used would be another large message.

The GRAMPS cars were numbered 11034 to 11058. Number 11034 was a Type
O Heater Car; numbers 11035 to 11040 were Type R; numbers 11041 to
11049, Type C; numbers 11050 to 11056, Type D and numbers 11057 and
11058, Type J. These cars were lettered “GRAMPS” before 1940. The
GRAMPS cars did not have side ladders.

As stated in my message to Schuyler Larrabee yesterday, these cars
were named after Lafayette “Gramps” Hughes. He owned an oil refinery
in Alamosa (closed 1964). He refined oil from fields in Chama, N.M.
The story that has circulated for years is his grandchildren wanted
to be able to identify “his” cars.

Surprisingly, plans for these cars have not appeared in the Narrow
Gauge & Short Line Gazette magazine. Ken Pruitt plans drawn in
quarter-inch of UTLX and GRAMPS cars are available from the
Underground Railway Press. Other UTLX car plans are available from
John Maxwell (via his son) and Carl Mulvihill. I will be happy to
provide individual addresses via private messages.

Finally, there was another message yesterday that said: “There seems
to be some confusion about the origin of these cars. I’ve even had
narrow gauge fanatics express surprise that...were standard gauge

Unfortunate and condescending choice of words. As a “narrow gauger”
of over 50 years, I would never come on this list and refer to people
as “standard gauge fanatics.” Further, I’ve never talked to any
narrow gauger that didn’t know the GRAMPS tank cars were originally
standard gauge cars. Narrow gaugers are dedicated researchers too.
In researching this message, I had originally typed four pages. I
boiled it down to spare us all...

Frank A. Pearsall
Brevard, N.C.

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