Re: A Purpose For Frt Car Distribution Studies. Was: Re: Re:Fwd: Re: Freigh

Richard Hendrickson

Sorry to be slow in responding; I was away over the weekend.

On Aug 17, 2008, at 4:03 PM, Bruce Smith wrote:

On Fri, August 15, 2008 5:45 pm, devansprr wrote:

But I do not have good info on details such as tank car manufacturer
type (e.g. 11, 21, 27, etc). If that exists let me know and I'll
for it - there is a wealth of data in this site - it could use a full
word index system for quicker and more accurate searches.

Tank cars - (Information from Tim Gilbert summarizing the January
1943 ORER)
Union Tank Car Co. 38,707
General American Transportation Co. 27,867
Pennsylvania-Conley Tank - div. of GATX 10,327
Shippers Car Line 6,949
Sinclair Refining Co. 6,447
AT&SF 3,567
US War Department 2,475
SP - Pacific Lines 2,219
Gulf Oil Co. 1,551
UP 1,096
Dupont 1,068
Sun Oil Co. 1,035

However, given that the ORER does not allow us to decipher types,
and tank
car companies were notorious for mixing cars from multiple makers into
series, the best I think we can do is try to convey the impression
of the
WWII fleet.

From my perspective, "conveying the impression" isn't just the best
we can do, it's exactly what we're trying to do: convey the visual
impression in miniature of the real thing. It seems to me that, in
the process of flogging the subject of freight car distribution to
death, some list members have lost sight of that fact. Building a
realistic freight car fleet for a model that represents a specific
railroad at a specific time and place is what most, if not all, of us
want to do. Every kind of information that helps us do that is
valuable: train and yard photos, conductor's train sheets, switch
lists, and, yes, the insightful statistical analyses of Tim Gilbert,
Dave Nelson, et. al. Depending on prototype RR, location, era, and
other variables each of us has to interpret the available data for
ourselves, with the objective of running trains which will be
visually convincing not just to the average viewer but to the
cognoscenti, i.e. the kind of people who subscribe to this list.
Above all, we want to avoid the kinds of anachronisms or
improbabilities that will make the illusion go "pop!" - e.g., in the
case of WW II tank car trains, running RC's otherwise very nice
models of postwar welded ICC-103Ws.

Having said that, let me elaborate a bit on Bruce's useful
observations about WW II tank cars.

Some rules of thumb -
-UTLX had the biggest fleet so the X-3 would likely be the most common
tank (Lots of Sunshine kits!) and IIRC, the 8K size was NOT the most
common (10K?)

Yes, 10K gal. X-3s were far more numerous than 8K gal. X-3s, and
should be ubiquitous. But remember that UTL also owned many cars
that were older types (the frameless type Vs and the similar type Xs
with underframes in 6, 8, and 10K sizes) as well as cars of other
than UTL design (e.g., a whole bunch of early GATC radial-course 8K
gal. cars which UTL purchased new in the early'20s as well as some 8K
and 10K AC&F Type 21s, and even a few STC tank cars, all acquired

-AC&F production of type 21 cars outnumbered type 27 by a significant
margin, and the 8K size was the most common of the type 21s.

More importantly, by the 1930s when the Type 27s had replaced the
Type 21s, few oil companies were buying new tank cars, having turned
to pipelines as a more efficient and economical way to transport
petroleum products. Similarly, few GATC Type 30s were in petroleum
service. The vast majority of the cars that were equipped for, and
available for, crude oil shipments during WW II were built in the
'teens and '20s.

-GATC built tanks were fairly common and we have no reasonable
model in HO

Type 30 models are on the horizon, but - as noted above - the GATC
tank cars we most need are earlier cars, many with radial course
tanks. And we need a lot of those.

-"Oddballs" such as the UTLX "van Dyke", and earlier type 7 and 11
should not appear in great numbers, but were certainly in use.

I agree that the Van Dykes would not have been numerous, though a
surprising number of them did get resurrected for the WW II oil
crisis. I don't agree about the earlier AC&F cars; Type 11s and Type
17s, and even some Type 7s, were very common in the fleets of many
petroleum shippers, and the many WW II photos I have show them all
over the place.

So, for now, a fleet of Sunshine and Walthers/P2K tanks with a few
Intermountain, Precision Scale, Speedwitch (NATX tanks), IM/Tichy
USG-A, Southern Car and Foundry (STC cars) and whatever else I've
forgotten (like the RC brass GATC cars and other brass cars) will
make a
reasonable fleet with the exception of missing GATC cars. Like
this approach will give you the varying sizes and features seen in
era "pipelines on rails"

All true, as far as it goes (and Bruce goes about as far as he
reasonably can at present). We certainly need GATC cars built ca.
1915-1930, but the problem is that GATC kept changing them so that
some designs were built only for a very few years, so we probably
won't see these in styrene any time soon. I would add that we very
much need models of the UTL class X cars, which were built in large
numbers and lasted, in many cases, into the 1960s. Something else we
need are 3-course AC&F Type 21 tanks to go on the P2K underframes;
the four course tanks modeled by L-L were built only in the early
1920s, and I have many photos of three course 10K gal. Type 21s in
petroleum service. Once Jon Cagle gets his STC models in production,
we could also use Pennsylvania Tank Car Co. underframes; PTC's plant
was right next door to STC's in Sharon, PA and PTC bought tanks from
STC to put on their own underframes, so a decent PTC underframe
combined with Cagle's STC tanks and a few minor detail modifications
would enable us to model another group of tank cars that were
produced in large numbers in the 1920s. Other tank cars that have
been modeled in brass over the years will add variety, if you can
find (and, nowadays, afford) them. However, in the forseeable
future, it's not going to be possible to model realistic WW II tank
trains by popping RTR plastic models out of their boxes and putting
them on the track.

As for comprehensive prototype information on steam era tank cars,
I'm working on it, but a couple of other books are currently higher
on my priority list.

Richard Hendrickson

Join to automatically receive all group messages.