unloading a tank car through the bottom valve


ed_mines
 

The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow the car to be emptied in a timely manner.

I have a feeling they were difficult to open too; otherwise thieves, vandals, hobos etc. would be opening them.

I think tank cars used to transport ashphalt, roofing tar etc. were the tank car equivalent of hide loading box cars.

Remember that oil was cheap through most of the steam era.

I think ashphalt, roofing tar, car cement were all similar in composition and of the same origin.

Ed Mines


Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>
 

Ed Mines wrote: "The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow the car to be emptied in a timely manner."

Ed, this generalization doesn't square with certain facts. For example, the Santa Fe's method of unloading locomotive fuel oil at San Bernardino, Cal., and other major terminals was to open the bottom outlet valves on tank cars standing on a fuel delivery track with a concrete trough under the rails. The trough fed into a submerged tank, and as the cars were emptied, the oil was pumped from the submerged tank into nearby above-ground storage tanks.

This was explained in the article, "Fuel Oil for Steam Locomotives" by the late Russell Crump in the Fourth Quarter 1989 "Santa Fe Modeler" magazine of the old Santa Fe Modelers Organization (a predecessor of today's Santa Fe Ry. Historical & Modeling Society, atsfrr.org). A yard plat drawing included with Russell's article shows that the Waynoka, Okla., engine terminal had an oil trough 190 feet long for emptying tank cars through bottom outlets.

Also, as a teenager in New Orleans I routinely saw "steam-era" tank cars carrying glue to a plywood mill near the Texas Pacific-Missouri Pacific Terminal along the riverfront. The cars were unloaded through hoses connected to their bottom outlets, which also had steam connections so the plant's boiler could heat the loads for easier flow. And I saw steam-era tank cars being unloaded through bottom outlets at a bulk lube oil distributor near the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line.

So long,

Andy


Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
asperandeo@...
262-796-8776, ext. 461
FAX 262-796-1142


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Ed Mines wrote:
The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow the car to be emptied in a timely manner.
Where do you get this idea? It was done very widely and all the time. And photos I've seen of top unloading pipes are no larger than the outlet pipes at the bottom.

I have a feeling they were difficult to open too; otherwise thieves, vandals, hobos etc. would be opening them.
Nope, the accessible part is just a pipe cap on the outlet pipe, but that's not enough to unload. You also have to open the valve, which is INSIDE the tank and operated from the dome. See any steam-era Cyc or a book like Ed Kaminski's _AC&F Tank Cars_ for drawings.

I think tank cars used to transport ashphalt, roofing tar etc. were the tank car equivalent of hide loading box cars.
Not at all. Tank cars could be and were cleaned for new cargoes. Of course it cost time and money, but it was certainly possible. The major exceptions were cars with particular linings, such as rubber linings for acid, which you would not want to use for anything which could interact with the lining.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Ed Mines wrote:
The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow
the car to be emptied in a timely manner.
Where do you get this idea? It was done very widely and all the
time. And photos I've seen of top unloading pipes are no larger than
the outlet pipes at the bottom.
Boy, I sure hope I didn't start this, because I in no way intended to say the bottom outlet was never used, only that the common unloading apparatus at oil jobbers of the period was set up for suction unloading through the dome. One of the reasons was likely that since the common oil storage tank was above grade, a pump was going to be involved anyway, and suction unloading was likely faster.

Digging around in the dim recesses of my memory, I recall that when I was a wee child, my uncle owned an oil blending business on Chicago's west side, named Murphy Oil Co. (even though my uncle's name was not Murphy, and he was not Irish ;-) He shared a tall trestle off the CB&Q's grade separated line with a fuel and material dealer, and as far as I know, unloaded through the bottom outlet strictly by gravity. Of course the trestle gave him about 30' of head.

Dennis


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:
Boy, I sure hope I didn't start this, because I in no way intended to say the bottom outlet was never used, only that the common unloading apparatus at oil jobbers of the period was set up for suction unloading through the dome. One of the reasons was likely that since the common oil storage tank was above grade, a pump was going to be involved anyway, and suction unloading was likely faster.
Dennis, I haven't tried to look at Midwestern practices, but the photos I have, both historic ones and ones I took myself, of California bulk oil dealers are mostly bottom unloading. I take your point about pumping, but maybe it was a regional preference or had some other basis. (Maybe the Coriolis force is bigger in California . . . or something <g>.)

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Jeff Coleman
 

The bottom outlet valves used on steam era tank cars were 4 & 6 inch plug valves, the same design that's still in used today. On the tanks with expansion domes the valve handle (wheel) was located in the dome.
I'm sure they were used often.

Jeff Coleman

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Ed Mines wrote:
The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow
the car to be emptied in a timely manner.
Where do you get this idea? It was done very widely and all the
time. And photos I've seen of top unloading pipes are no larger than
the outlet pipes at the bottom.

I have a feeling they were difficult to open too; otherwise thieves,
vandals, hobos etc. would be opening them.
Nope, the accessible part is just a pipe cap on the outlet
pipe, but that's not enough to unload. You also have to open the
valve, which is INSIDE the tank and operated from the dome. See any
steam-era Cyc or a book like Ed Kaminski's _AC&F Tank Cars_ for
drawings.

I think tank cars used to transport ashphalt, roofing tar etc. were
the tank car equivalent of hide loading box cars.
Not at all. Tank cars could be and were cleaned for new
cargoes. Of course it cost time and money, but it was certainly
possible. The major exceptions were cars with particular linings, such
as rubber linings for acid, which you would not want to use for
anything which could interact with the lining.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


dennyanspach <danspach@...>
 

Tony writes-

Maybe the Coriolis force is bigger in California . . . or something <g>.
Ah, yes: the Coriolis Effect- the truly great universal answer to everything in modeling that we do not know, are are likely to ever know...

However did we get along until Tony invoked this Great Mystery some years ago?

Denny

Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento


al_brown03
 

That's why right-side wheels turn clockwise and left-side counterclockwise, yes?

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

--- In STMFC@..., dennyanspach <danspach@...> wrote:

Tony writes-

Maybe the Coriolis force is bigger in California . . . or something <g>.
Ah, yes: the Coriolis Effect- the truly great universal answer to everything in modeling that we do not know, are are likely to ever know...

However did we get along until Tony invoked this Great Mystery some years ago?

Denny

Denny S. Anspach MD
Sacramento







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Al Brown wrote:
That's why right-side wheels turn clockwise and left-side counterclockwise, yes?
Originally it was part of an explanation of the SP's "Tunnel Motors." I explained that due to the Coriolis force, there was a tendency for tunnels in the northern hemisphere to rotate along their long axes clockwise (naturally opposite in the southern hemisphere), tending to close them up, and that SP had applied small motors to the walls of its tunnels to exert an opposite torque and keep the tunnels open. Thus the name "Tunnel Motor." In the southern hemisphere, the voltage to the motor is simply reversed.
Hopefully the Coriolis force, which is truly quite small, was overwhelmed in this case by the force of tongue against cheek.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


Tim O'Connor
 

Coriolis Effect: The tendency of email threads to travel in endless circles

However did we get along until Tony invoked this Great Mystery some years ago?
Denny


Steve Lucas <stevelucas3@...>
 

I have a photo from the 1920's showing an Imperial Oil tank car being unloaded thorugh the bottom valve.

But using these valves can sometime be attended with problems. I was told (at a "TransCaer Safety Train" seminar on their demonstration tank car CCPX 911) of objects like pens falling into a tank after the bottom outlet cap (chained to the bottom outlet) was replaced on the outlet. Now, the bottom valve does not close fully, as that pen is stuck in it...

On arrival at the consignee, their employee places a five-gallon bucket under the outlet to catch the half-gallon or so of product that will be trapped in the cap. He unscrews the cap, to find the valve partly open, allowing the contents of the car to drain into the bucket. Uh-oh! Now imagine trying to hook up the discharge hose to the outlet with product issuing from it. And what's in the car that may block and/or damage that hose?

Flammable product spilt on the ground, a mess to clean up, and no way to stop the flow other than to replace the cap with product still flowing out of the car. Lost product = money. The mess will be expensive to clean up, too.

Which to me expalins why many consignees preferred to unload tank cars by suction/eduction pipes rather than through that bottom outlet valve.

Steve Lucas.

--- In STMFC@..., "traininsp" <Bbear746@...> wrote:

The bottom outlet valves used on steam era tank cars were 4 & 6 inch plug valves, the same design that's still in used today. On the tanks with expansion domes the valve handle (wheel) was located in the dome.
I'm sure they were used often.

Jeff Coleman

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@> wrote:

Ed Mines wrote:
The bottom valves on steam era tank cars are way too small to allow
the car to be emptied in a timely manner.
Where do you get this idea? It was done very widely and all the
time. And photos I've seen of top unloading pipes are no larger than
the outlet pipes at the bottom.

I have a feeling they were difficult to open too; otherwise thieves,
vandals, hobos etc. would be opening them.
Nope, the accessible part is just a pipe cap on the outlet
pipe, but that's not enough to unload. You also have to open the
valve, which is INSIDE the tank and operated from the dome. See any
steam-era Cyc or a book like Ed Kaminski's _AC&F Tank Cars_ for
drawings.

I think tank cars used to transport ashphalt, roofing tar etc. were
the tank car equivalent of hide loading box cars.
Not at all. Tank cars could be and were cleaned for new
cargoes. Of course it cost time and money, but it was certainly
possible. The major exceptions were cars with particular linings, such
as rubber linings for acid, which you would not want to use for
anything which could interact with the lining.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@
Publishers of books on railroad history


ed_mines
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Not at all. Tank cars could be and were cleaned for new
cargoes. Of course it cost time and money, but it was certainly
possible.
How would this be done, particularly after a load like tar or ashphalt?

How would you scrub the sides of the tank? Or don't you think this is necessary?

What about getting the last little bit of liquid (either the previous load or the cleaning solution) out?

In one of the CBCs they show a revolving head which is inserted in the dome and squirts solvent throughout the car. Is there a guarantee that all of the previous load is gone? After a while the solvent gets expensive; disposal of a tank car of liquid (even water) is a problem too.

A few years back someone wrote that they saw pictures of tank cars being cleaned out with steam. I think this would be done on cars used to transport crude oil and then common refined products like gasoline.

Ed Mines


Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>
 

Ed Mines wrote:
How would this be done, particularly after a load like tar or ashphalt?
Steam, hot water, solvents. In some cases workmen did have to go into the tank to make sure residues were gone

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@...
Publishers of books on railroad history


soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

--- In STMFC@..., Anthony Thompson <thompson@...> wrote:

Dennis, I haven't tried to look at Midwestern practices, but
the photos I have, both historic ones and ones I took myself, of
California bulk oil dealers are mostly bottom unloading. I take your
point about pumping, but maybe it was a regional preference or had
some other basis. (Maybe the Coriolis force is bigger in
California . . . or something <g>.)
I think you're right, Tony, I can't seem to find any evidence of top unloading standpipes west of Albuquerque... Maybe California outlawed ladders over three steps high or sumtin'

I did find a nice multi-part article on bulk oil distributors in the March and May issues of Rail Model Journal, available for viewing at:

http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/348/0/railmodel-journal-may-1998

In the articles the author describes the use of stand pipes for unloading cars through the dome, and presents drawings and photos of four different installations in Greely, CO. A companion article describes modeling the standpipes.

I will note that most these installations also have plugged elbows on the ground, so apparently bottom unloading could also be done, and the article really doesn't give any rational for one over the other, but the presence of unloading standpipes at these facilities was widespread, at least as far east as Chicago. It's too bad Ken Corry isn't a member of this list; I believe his family has been in the bulk oil business for fifty or sixty years, and perhaps he could shed some light on the reason for choice of unloading method.

Dennis


Tim O'Connor
 

Dennis

I think Tom Madden's family was in the bulk oil biz too. But perhaps
they got the stuff via pipeline. :-)

Tim O'


----------------------------------

I think you're right, Tony, I can't seem to find any evidence of top unloading standpipes
west of Albuquerque... Maybe California outlawed ladders over three steps high or sumtin'

I did find a nice multi-part article on bulk oil distributors in the March and May issues of Rail Model Journal, available for viewing at:

http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/348/0/railmodel-journal-may-1998

In the articles the author describes the use of stand pipes for unloading cars through the dome, and presents drawings and photos of four different installations in Greely, CO. A companion article describes modeling the standpipes.

I will note that most these installations also have plugged elbows on the ground, so apparently bottom unloading could also be done, and the article really doesn't give any rational for one over the other, but the presence of unloading standpipes at these facilities was widespread, at least as far east as Chicago. It's too bad Ken Corry isn't a member of this list; I believe his family has been in the bulk oil business for fifty or sixty years, and perhaps he could shed some light on the reason for choice of unloading method.

Dennis


soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

Rats! I put the wrong link in my recent message, and compounded the problem by leaving out the year. The articles were in the March and May 1997 RMJ:

http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/367/26923/march-1997-page-9
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27099/may-1997-page-25
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27094/may-1997-page-20

Sorry, it was late.

Dennis


pullmanboss <tcmadden@...>
 

I think Tom Madden's family was in the bulk oil biz too. But perhaps
they got the stuff via pipeline. :-)

Tim O'
Via truck, pumped into above-ground horizontal storage tanks. I don't think Coriolus forces were involved.

Tom Madden


soolinehistory <destorzek@...>
 

Rats! I put the wrong link in my recent message, and compounded the problem by leaving out the year. The articles were in the March and May 1997 RMJ:

http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/367/26923/march-1997-page-9
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27099/may-1997-page-25
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27094/may-1997-page-20

Sorry, it was late.

Dennis


Aley, Jeff A
 

No worries; I am enjoying re-reading Richard's article on double-sheathed USRA box cars!

Regards,

-Jeff


From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of soolinehistory
Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2011 8:15 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: unloading a tank car through the bottom valve



Rats! I put the wrong link in my recent message, and compounded the problem by leaving out the year. The articles were in the March and May 1997 RMJ:

http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/367/26923/march-1997-page-9
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27099/may-1997-page-25
http://www.trainlife.com/magazines/pages/369/27094/may-1997-page-20

Sorry, it was late.

Dennis


Tim O'Connor
 

Via truck, pumped into above-ground horizontal storage tanks. I don't think
Coriolus forces were involved. Tom Madden

Coriolis is always there. Everything on earth at higher latitudes is moving
more slowly than at lower latitudes, relative to a fixed point in space. This
differential rotation induces a clockwise movement in the northern hemisphere
and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. But it doesn't affect water
in toilets, or above-ground horizontal oil storage tanks. But if you could build
a 1,000 mile long frictionless turntable loaded with freight cars, then it would
start rotating all by itself, unless the pivot point was exactly on the equator.
Phew, just barely got back on topic!

Tim O'Connor