Topics

GATC Tank Car Advice


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Good friends,

I recently picked up a very old Mantua metal tank car kit with an eye toward upgrading and rebuilding it as I did a few years ago with two old Thomas tanks I salvaged. Before anyone screams, I really enjoy restoring these old cars, and though often lacking in detail, were better models than later plastic offerings (at least until RC, Proto 2000 and Intermountain came along). Besides, it only cost me $3 at a train show, and am by descent a tight-fisted Scot.

(a) This car is pretty much a blank canvas, and I would like to built it as a post-war GATC car. The tank's shell is 31' 6" long, proper length for a 10K AC&F, but Gregg TSC 71 has a drawing of a GATC car with an IL of 30' 9". I can live with the 9" difference. Tank diameter of both AC&F and GATC 10K cars was 87" and change, and the model is close.

(b) The rather crude underframe appears to be a GATC design, but it is useless. I don't have the skills or equipment to mill this metal casting, and it was designed for ancient Mantua loop couplers. A Kadee box would sit too low, and would require destroying the coupler box end on the casting. I'm going to discard the underframe and use a shortened Athearn underframe instead, which despite its shortcomings, is similar to the GATC design. [See Richard Hendrickson's article in the August 1996 RMJ, and Tony's article in the July 2011 RMC.]

(c) What I didn't notice at first was that the paper tank wrapper was missing from the box. I can make a new one on my computer, but it might be easier to use the steel tank shell, add Archer rivets, and paint the whole thing black. The problem is that I have no photos which show if there was a top seam, since all the GATC tank photos I have were taken at track level. I would expect there to be one, and think it might have been similar to the seam on the Athearn tank. Archer rivets on a .005 or .010 styrene strip might work. Any thoughts on this? Tony, I noticed your El Dorado oil tanker has no top seam, but this is an earlier car, right?

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


Allan Smith
 

You might want to try Tangent Scale Models for a new underframe for your GATC tank. I have been shortening Mantua tanks to make 6500 gallon tank cars using Tangents underframes. The car you have is a GATC car and the Tangent underframe is a GATC underframe. You can order enough parts to make three cars with all the brake rigging and all the visible details with the right coupler pockets.
    I have been working on some GATX 60000 tank cars using Tangents underframes and Mantua shortened tanks. I hope to have them completed and post pictures on the web site soon.

Regarding the top seam on your tank. Until welding came into common use almost all tank cars were of three types. Either vertical coarses with vertical rows of rivets, usually five or four coarses with horizontal rows of rivets or three coarses with a bottom sheet and two side sheets with a staggered row of rivets on the top.

Al Smith
Sonora Ca


jczzo126 CocuzzaT
 

I can't give you any additional advice, but your post interested me, because I just finished, literally last night, an upgrade on what I think is an old Thomas tank car. It's a red CCLX car with silver lettering, all metal. I overpaid for mine, $5.00, but it came with good trucks. Most of these I find don't. It was an enjoyable rebuild. I used Detail associates flat .010 wire to make new tank bands, again, most of these cars are missing them. I have a gray Magnolia car to do next. And, if these aren't Thomas cars, what are they? It came out very nice, and they make great layout cars, very durable when grandchildren are operating. Maybe a SIG will pop up, modelers that rebuild and operate 'old school' steam era freight cars?


David Sieber
 

"jczzo126" (your name, sir?),

     If that's a red Crystal Car Line GATX tank with black center tank band, CCLX 308, it's likely a 1950s metal Athearn tank car.  I bought this car with a disintegrating underframe walkway for its tank, with hopes of rebuilding it by salvaging parts from another Athearn metal tanker, of which I have several.  Since then, though, Tangent's 6,000gal 3-compartment car with type 30 underframe has given me hope for other, different high-quality GATX tank cars from Tangent (or other mfr) in the reasonable future, so my modeling efforts have gone to other projects.

     BTW, Athearn offered a good number of nice metal GATX tank cars in two capacities/sizes.  However, pnce Athearn tooled those plastic 12,500gal tankers, they never produced the far more common smaller tanks that they'd previously offered in metal.  I'm still looking for Thomas Industries metal tank cars (other than their 6-compartment wine tankers, of which I have one decent original, plus one to rebuild and superdetail). 

Happy modeling, Dave Sieber, Reno NV 




Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

JC,

You can spot a Thomas by its impossibly small expansion domes. These were fine for the twins, but they used the same dome on their singles. I replaced the single dome on mine with a zamak casting of unknown origin I had in my scrap box for years.

Athearn made a rare steel version of their later 12K plastic car. I got one in a box of junk that was a single dome, and still have the end sill castings in my parts box. I don't know if they also did the triple in steel. Then there was the Mantua I'm dealing with. Selley also offered a tank which might have been all cast metal (possibly lead). Can you imagine how much this must have weighed? The underframe was offered in their catalog as a separate item for years. They (as Bowser) still have several domes, now cast in pewter. There must have been other manufacturers of real metal cars, but my experience doesn't go back that far.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 7/25/16 7:49 PM, jczzo126@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

I can't give you any additional advice, but your post interested me, because I just finished, literally last night, an upgrade on what I think is an old Thomas tank car. It's a red CCLX car with silver lettering, all metal. I overpaid for mine, $5.00, but it came with good trucks. Most of these I find don't. It was an enjoyable rebuild. I used Detail associates flat .010 wire to make new tank bands, again, most of these cars are missing them. I have a gray Magnolia car to do next. And, if these aren't Thomas cars, what are they? It came out very nice, and they make great layout cars, very durable when grandchildren are operating. Maybe a SIG will pop up, modelers that rebuild and operate 'old school' steam era freight cars?


Tony Thompson
 

Garth Groff wrote:

 
You can spot a Thomas by its impossibly small expansion domes. These were fine for the twins, but they used the same dome on their singles. I replaced the single dome on mine with a zamak casting of unknown origin I had in my scrap box for years. 

      I don't know what Thomas kit you have, Garth, to reach this conclusion about the dome. But I have looked at the 10,000-gallon Magnolia car I have as a Thomas kit. Its cast metal dome is 57 scale inches in diameter and 24 inches high at the smallest height. It is easy to compute the gallonage of such a dome, as I showed in a blog post awhile back (see below for link). This dome size would contain 272 gallons, while a 10,000-gallon tank was required to have and expansion dome of at least 2 percent of the tank volume. I leave it to the reader to compute what is 2 percent of 10,000.


My Thomas tank car, Garth, does NOT have an "impossibly small" dome, but in fact an entirely correct one.

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






Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tony,

O.K. So the two cars I have, single and twin, both had the small domes. Every other HO Thomas car I have seen, admittedly a small number since they are pretty old and rare now (they went out production when I was still playing with a Marx trainset), also had these puny domes. I guess I haven't seen them all yet, so I stand corrected.

--G


On 7/27/16 2:24 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] wrote:
�
Garth Groff wrote:

�
You can spot a Thomas by its impossibly small expansion domes. These were fine for the twins, but they used the same dome on their singles. I replaced the single dome on mine with a zamak casting of unknown origin I had in my scrap box for years.�

� � � I don't know what Thomas kit you have, Garth, to reach this conclusion about the dome. But I have looked at the 10,000-gallon Magnolia car I have as a Thomas kit. Its cast metal dome is 57 scale inches in diameter and 24 inches high at the smallest height. It is easy to compute the gallonage of such a dome, as I showed in a blog post awhile back (see below for link). This dome size would contain 272 gallons, while a 10,000-gallon tank was required to have and expansion dome of at least 2 percent of the tank volume. I leave it to the reader to compute what is 2 percent of 10,000.


My Thomas tank car, Garth, does NOT have an "impossibly small" dome, but in fact an entirely correct one.

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






Tony Thompson
 

Garth Groff wrote:

 
Tony,

O.K. So the two cars I have, single and twin, both had the small domes. Every other HO Thomas car I have seen, admittedly a small number since they are pretty old and rare now (they went out production when I was still playing with a Marx trainset), also had these puny domes. I guess I haven't seen them all yet, so I stand corrected.


    Ah, perhaps your domes are the very small (correctly so) domes for the 6-dome car. In that case, someone rooked you on the correct domes for one-dome or two-dome cars. They are right for a 6-dome car.
Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






jczzo126 CocuzzaT
 

The real name is James Cocuzza. (AKA as Nite Train James when I worked for the Reading company and Conrail).  I live in Mount Penn, just outside of Reading, Pa. Thanks for the info on the car. These older tank cars of various makes have been showing up at local meets. A friend of mine has been grabbing them up for years, and when I saw a couple of his rebuilds and saw blogs that Tony Thompson did on tank cars, it got me interested. And, as Dave Sieber commented, and my friend pointed out, this particular car is smaller then the 'other' Athern tanks, metal or plastic versions. Thanks again. 

On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:54 PM, David Sieber ealabhan0@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:
 

"jczzo126" (your name, sir?),

     If that's a red Crystal Car Line GATX tank with black center tank band, CCLX 308, it's likely a 1950s metal Athearn tank car.  I bought this car with a disintegrating underframe walkway for its tank, with hopes of rebuilding it by salvaging parts from another Athearn metal tanker, of which I have several.  Since then, though, Tangent's 6,000gal 3-compartment car with type 30 underframe has given me hope for other, different high-quality GATX tank cars from Tangent (or other mfr) in the reasonable future, so my modeling efforts have gone to other projects.

     BTW, Athearn offered a good number of nice metal GATX tank cars in two capacities/sizes.  However, pnce Athearn tooled those plastic 12,500gal tankers, they never produced the far more common smaller tanks that they'd previously offered in metal.  I'm still looking for Thomas Industries metal tank cars (other than their 6-compartment wine tankers, of which I have one decent original, plus one to rebuild and superdetail). 

Happy modeling, Dave Sieber, Reno NV 





Allan Smith
 

I have a Thomas tank car kit # D701 It has a dome 56" wide and 33" high the tank is 35'x 84", it is silver and lettered DX Sunray SRDX 55. All my six dome Thomas tank cars have the 36" domes.
The Athearn Metal tank cars have 60" domes both single and three dome cars.

Al Smith
Sonora Ca


On Wednesday, July 27, 2016 8:57 PM, "James Cocuzza jczzo126@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
The real name is James Cocuzza. (AKA as Nite Train James when I worked for the Reading company and Conrail).  I live in Mount Penn, just outside of Reading, Pa. Thanks for the info on the car. These older tank cars of various makes have been showing up at local meets. A friend of mine has been grabbing them up for years, and when I saw a couple of his rebuilds and saw blogs that Tony Thompson did on tank cars, it got me interested. And, as Dave Sieber commented, and my friend pointed out, this particular car is smaller then the 'other' Athern tanks, metal or plastic versions. Thanks again. 

On Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 10:54 PM, David Sieber ealabhan0@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:
 
"jczzo126" (your name, sir?),
     If that's a red Crystal Car Line GATX tank with black center tank band, CCLX 308, it's likely a 1950s metal Athearn tank car.  I bought this car with a disintegrating underframe walkway for its tank, with hopes of rebuilding it by salvaging parts from another Athearn metal tanker, of which I have several.  Since then, though, Tangent's 6,000gal 3-compartment car with type 30 underframe has given me hope for other, different high-quality GATX tank cars from Tangent (or other mfr) in the reasonable future, so my modeling efforts have gone to other projects.
     BTW, Athearn offered a good number of nice metal GATX tank cars in two capacities/sizes.  However, pnce Athearn tooled those plastic 12,500gal tankers, they never produced the far more common smaller tanks that they'd previously offered in metal.  I'm still looking for Thomas Industries metal tank cars (other than their 6-compartment wine tankers, of which I have one decent original, plus one to rebuild and superdetail). 
Happy modeling, Dave Sieber, Reno NV 






Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tony,

The domes that came on my Thomas cars are not the same those used on the wine cars. They are a bit hard to measure without calipers, but in scale they are about 42" in diameter, with a height of about 18" as measured from the centerline of the car. They have a single L-shaped safety valve protruding from the side along the centerline. I have no idea of the capacity of such a dome, but I think you would agree this is inappropriate for an 8 or 10K single-compartment car, and why I replaced same. Yesterday I looked for Thomas Industries tank cars online, and after sorting out all the "Thomas the Tank Engine" stuff, did not see a single example with these domes. Perhaps my car came from an early production run (or a later one if Thomas got sloppy!).

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 7/27/16 5:21 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] wrote:
�
Garth Groff wrote:

�
Tony,

O.K. So the two cars I have, single and twin, both had the small domes. Every other HO Thomas car I have seen, admittedly a small number since they are pretty old and rare now (they went out production when I was still playing with a Marx trainset), also had these puny domes. I guess I haven't seen them all yet, so I stand corrected.


� � Ah, perhaps your domes are the very small (correctly so) domes for the 6-dome car. In that case, someone rooked you on the correct domes for one-dome or two-dome cars. They are right for a 6-dome car.
Tony Thompson�� � � � � ��Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705�� � � ��www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history






Tony Thompson
 

Garth Groff wrote:

Tony,

The domes that came on my Thomas cars are not the same those used on the wine cars. They are a bit hard to measure without calipers, but in scale they are about 42" in diameter, with a height of about 18" as measured from the centerline of the car. They have a single L-shaped safety valve protruding from the side along the centerline. I have no idea of the capacity of such a dome, but I think you would agree this is inappropriate for an 8 or 10K single-compartment car, and why I replaced same. Yesterday I looked for Thomas Industries tank cars online, and after sorting out all the "Thomas the Tank Engine" stuff, did not see a single example with these domes. Perhaps my car came from an early production run (or a later one if Thomas got sloppy!).


      I too have a metal tank car with those exact domes (a three-compartment car), but don't know the origin of the car. I think it is NOT an Athearn, but don't know who. I too have searched the various Thomas stuff on line, along with the catalog sheets that came in the car kits, and none of their cars had that dome. I might suggest that your tank car is actually NOT a Thomas car.

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






Tom Madden
 

Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.


Tom Madden


Tony Thompson
 

Tom Madden wrote:

 
Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.

   I don't think so. Globe made a 12,000-gallon car and a 10,000-gallon car, along with a "shorty" 10,000-gallon fat tank, all single-dome and with prototype size large domes. These were subsequently sold by Athearn after 1948.
     I wonder about Mantua, when they made a tank car with a metal shell. My triple-compartment car has Mantua couplers which exactly fit in a narrow coupler box (Mantua couplers did not need to swivel, because they had such a large gathering range).

Tony Thompson




Allan Smith
 

I also have one of those three dome tank cars. It is lettered UTLX 1252. The 1955 Tank Book shows UTLX 1252 as a 6500 gal tank car, but the model is at least a 10000 gal tank car, per Tonys formula. I have searched old Model Railroader ads from the MR disk and can't find any ads that match the kit, I also searched hoseeker for any instruction sheets that would match the kit and I couldn't find anything.. I also have old metal Athearn, Thomas, Mantua, G F Menzies kits and it doesn't match any of them. If anyone on this list can provide an answer I think all owners would appreciate the info.

Al Smith
Sonora CA


On Thursday, July 28, 2016 4:13 PM, "Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Tom Madden wrote:

 
Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.

   I don't think so. Globe made a 12,000-gallon car and a 10,000-gallon car, along with a "shorty" 10,000-gallon fat tank, all single-dome and with prototype size large domes. These were subsequently sold by Athearn after 1948.
     I wonder about Mantua, when they made a tank car with a metal shell. My triple-compartment car has Mantua couplers which exactly fit in a narrow coupler box (Mantua couplers did not need to swivel, because they had such a large gathering range).

Tony Thompson






Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tony and Tom,

No, I don't think my two cars are Mantua, though construction is similar. The mystery cars are much better detailed (rivets pressed right into the steel tank instead of a paper wrapper and they were fully painted). They are in no way like the actual Mantua car that started all this (it is a Mantua, still in original box with instructions). None of the parts match, something that you would expect even with retooling.

Construction is similar to an Athearn, but again, the parts don't match up. For instance, the Athearn 40' tank had separate end castings and a pressed steel center sill (I still have a set of these parts in my scrap box). My mystery cars have the entire underframe cast in one piece. Could Athearn have done a major retooling of the Globe parts? When I was a youngster I had both Athearn and early Globe metal boxcars, and they were quite different.

Yours Aye,


Garth


On 7/28/16 7:12 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] wrote:
�
Tom Madden wrote:

�
Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.

� �I don't think so. Globe made a 12,000-gallon car and a 10,000-gallon car, along with a "shorty" 10,000-gallon fat tank, all single-dome and with prototype size large domes. These were subsequently sold by Athearn after 1948.
� � �I wonder about Mantua, when they made a tank car with a metal shell. My triple-compartment car has Mantua couplers which exactly fit in a narrow coupler box (Mantua couplers did not need to swivel, because they had such a large gathering range).

Tony Thompson




SUVCWORR@...
 

This beginning to sound like the Varney tank car.  Varney did have a solid one piece underframe.  However, to the best of my knowledge all Varney underframes were clearly marked as such with the name Varney in the center channel.

Rich Orr

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail


-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Thu, Jul 28, 2016 09:27 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] GATC Tank Car Advice




Tony and Tom,

No, I don't think my two cars are Mantua, though construction is similar. The mystery cars are much better detailed (rivets pressed right into the steel tank instead of a paper wrapper and they were fully painted). They are in no way like the actual Mantua car that started all this (it is a Mantua, still in original box with instructions). None of the parts match, something that you would expect even with retooling.

Construction is similar to an Athearn, but again, the parts don't match up. For instance, the Athearn 40' tank had separate end castings and a pressed steel center sill (I still have a set of these parts in my scrap box). My mystery cars have the entire underframe cast in one piece. Could Athearn have done a major retooling of the Globe parts? When I was a youngster I had both Athearn and early Globe metal boxcars, and they were quite different.

Yours Aye,


Garth


On 7/28/16 7:12 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] wrote:
 
Tom Madden wrote:

 
Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.

   I don't think so. Globe made a 12,000-gallon car and a 10,000-gallon car, along with a "shorty" 10,000-gallon fat tank, all single-dome and with prototype size large domes. These were subsequently sold by Athearn after 1948.
     I wonder about Mantua, when they made a tank car with a metal shell. My triple-compartment car has Mantua couplers which exactly fit in a narrow coupler box (Mantua couplers did not need to swivel, because they had such a large gathering range).

Tony Thompson






Allan Smith
 

After reading your post I Competely scanned the bottom of the tank car looking for any identifying marks. I found on the coupler shank the name GLOBE so this most be an old Globe model.

Al Smith
Sonora CA


On Thursday, July 28, 2016 11:06 PM, "SUVCWORR@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
This beginning to sound like the Varney tank car.  Varney did have a solid one piece underframe.  However, to the best of my knowledge all Varney underframes were clearly marked as such with the name Varney in the center channel.

Rich Orr

Sent from AOL Mobile Mail


-----Original Message-----
From: Garth Groff sarahsan@... [STMFC]
To: STMFC
Sent: Thu, Jul 28, 2016 09:27 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] GATC Tank Car Advice




Tony and Tom,
No, I don't think my two cars are Mantua, though construction is similar. The mystery cars are much better detailed (rivets pressed right into the steel tank instead of a paper wrapper and they were fully painted). They are in no way like the actual Mantua car that started all this (it is a Mantua, still in original box with instructions). None of the parts match, something that you would expect even with retooling.
Construction is similar to an Athearn, but again, the parts don't match up. For instance, the Athearn 40' tank had separate end castings and a pressed steel center sill (I still have a set of these parts in my scrap box). My mystery cars have the entire underframe cast in one piece. Could Athearn have done a major retooling of the Globe parts? When I was a youngster I had both Athearn and early Globe metal boxcars, and they were quite different.
Yours Aye,

Garth

On 7/28/16 7:12 PM, Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC] wrote:
 
Tom Madden wrote:

 
Could Garth's tank be a Globe? They made one- and two-dome tank car kits back in the day. This should be right up Denny's alley.

   I don't think so. Globe made a 12,000-gallon car and a 10,000-gallon car, along with a "shorty" 10,000-gallon fat tank, all single-dome and with prototype size large domes. These were subsequently sold by Athearn after 1948.
     I wonder about Mantua, when they made a tank car with a metal shell. My triple-compartment car has Mantua couplers which exactly fit in a narrow coupler box (Mantua couplers did not need to swivel, because they had such a large gathering range).

Tony Thompson