Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)


Bob Chaparro
 

Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)

A photo from the Huntington Library:

https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p16003coll2/id/30874/rec/432

This photo can be enlarged quite a bit.

Description:

Magunden Switching Station - Wider shot of Southern Pacific, 2-6-2 steam Locomotive #1781 pulling Transformers and rail-skids for Magunden.

From previous discussions of the flatcars with the transformers, some speculated that the transformers were shipped without oil to reduce the weight on the flatcars. The presence of the tanks cars in this train makes me wonder if this true and the tank cars carried oil for the transformers.

Opinions?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Patrick Wade
 

The two horizontal silver colored tanks shown right behind the tender are in the gondola or beyond the gondola?  I can't decide.

Pat Wade
Santa Barbara, CA

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 11:07 AM Bob Chaparro via groups.io <chiefbobbb=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:

Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)

A photo from the Huntington Library:

https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p16003coll2/id/30874/rec/432

This photo can be enlarged quite a bit.

Description:

Magunden Switching Station - Wider shot of Southern Pacific, 2-6-2 steam Locomotive #1781 pulling Transformers and rail-skids for Magunden.

From previous discussions of the flatcars with the transformers, some speculated that the transformers were shipped without oil to reduce the weight on the flatcars. The presence of the tanks cars in this train makes me wonder if this true and the tank cars carried oil for the transformers.

Opinions?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


 

One of the previous photos showed them in the gondola. 

Thanks!
Brian Ehni 
(Sent from my iPhone)

On Jan 17, 2021, at 1:37 PM, Patrick Wade <patwadesb@...> wrote:


The two horizontal silver colored tanks shown right behind the tender are in the gondola or beyond the gondola?  I can't decide.

Pat Wade
Santa Barbara, CA

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 11:07 AM Bob Chaparro via groups.io <chiefbobbb=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:

Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)

A photo from the Huntington Library:

https://hdl.huntington.org/digital/collection/p16003coll2/id/30874/rec/432

This photo can be enlarged quite a bit.

Description:

Magunden Switching Station - Wider shot of Southern Pacific, 2-6-2 steam Locomotive #1781 pulling Transformers and rail-skids for Magunden.

From previous discussions of the flatcars with the transformers, some speculated that the transformers were shipped without oil to reduce the weight on the flatcars. The presence of the tanks cars in this train makes me wonder if this true and the tank cars carried oil for the transformers.

Opinions?

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA


Richard Townsend
 

In the gondola. Notice how they block the view of the framing immediately behind them in the gondola.

Richard Townsend
Lincoln City, OR


-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Wade <patwadesb@...>
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io
Sent: Sun, Jan 17, 2021 11:37 am
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)

The two horizontal silver colored tanks shown right behind the tender are in the gondola or beyond the gondola?  I can't decide.

Pat Wade
Santa Barbara, CA

On Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 11:07 AM Bob Chaparro via groups.io <chiefbobbb=verizon.net@groups.io> wrote:
Photo: SP Transformer Train (1937)
A photo from the Huntington Library:
This photo can be enlarged quite a bit.
Description:
Magunden Switching Station - Wider shot of Southern Pacific, 2-6-2 steam Locomotive #1781 pulling Transformers and rail-skids for Magunden.
From previous discussions of the flatcars with the transformers, some speculated that the transformers were shipped without oil to reduce the weight on the flatcars. The presence of the tanks cars in this train makes me wonder if this true and the tank cars carried oil for the transformers.
Opinions?
Bob Chaparro
Hemet, CA


Bill J.
 

It isn’t a 2-6-2!  My count shows 2-6-0, but the dead giveaway is the 17xx number.  Valley Malleys!

Bill jolitz


Bob Chaparro
 

Transformers

Doug Auburg commented:

I’m not an expert on the cars but after working for an electrical utility for 30 years I can offer some insights on utility practices.

Transformers are shipped w/o oil to minimize their weight.  I don’t know how much these transformers from 80-plus years ago weighed but these days they weigh upwards of 300,000 pounds (or 300 tons – I can’t remember which), so any weight reduction they can achieve during shipping is a benefit.  Now days they are dried and blanketed with nitrogen.  Moisture is the enemy of transformer internals so every step is taken to keep moisture out.

So the tank cars in the train are most likely there containing transformer oil.

The cart is interesting as I’ve not seen them used in remote substations in the utility I worked for though they may have been.  My employer had a cart at its servicing facilities (called untanking towers) where the transformer’s internals are lifted out to inspect and repair.  Anyway, these carts are used to move the transformer around and minimize the number of times that riggers have to move it on cribbing.  The transformers are too heavy to be lifted by a portable crane (especially in 1937).  Fortunately, SCE had a fixed crane to transfer the transformer from the flat car to the cart.  But they would use a rigging crew, cribbing and hydraulic jacks to move the transformers off of the cart and onto the substation’s concrete pad.  In this case they apparently didn’t have a cart at this substation but they did have tracks in place so they shipped a cart along with the transformers and will return it to its storage location once they are in place.

I have no idea what they would have put in those tanks in the gondola at the front of the train.  They could have transformer oil but they seem too small. On the other hand, I’m surprised that it takes 4 tank cars full of oil to fill the 3 transformers, but apparently it did.  Remember that although the transformer tanks are large, they are filled mostly with electrical windings and supportive framework and the tank has not a bit more clearance from these internals than is required to provide a an insulating gap to prevent flashovers from the windings to the tank.

What I don’t see in these pictures are the porcelain insulators which are usually shipped in crates.  I assume they must be in the gondola(s) out of sight?

Someone named Dean commented:

A standard 14000 KVA substation transformer empty weighs 53,000 lbs.

The 4000 gallons of oil weighs 33,000 pounds. Plus, the type of oil used back in that time until 1970 was PCB based. NASTY STUFF.


Ken Adams
 

Fascinating views of a very interesting special movement. It would be interesting to know the full routing and the work by the shipper, consignee and the carriers involved  to put together and modify the set of cars required. Did the shipment originate on the SP or an eastern road. Because of the clearances,  was it possibly carried by ship to Louisiana or Texas and loaded onto SP cars at a port there. Was this part of a US government New Deal funded project?
--
Ken Adams
Still in splendid Shelter In Place solitude, about half way up Walnut Creek
Owner PlasticFreightCarBuilders@groups.io