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GATX TankTrain Question
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toddsyr

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GATX TankTrain Question
 
« on: Jul 13th, 2016, 5:29pm »
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I'm reading conflicting numbers on the internet. When first introduced, how many of the GATX TankTrain cars made up one prototypical consist? 8 12, or 13?  
 
I know these unit trains were typically 75 cars or more long, but apparently from what I've read, you couldn't load or unload the entire train from either end.
 
An October 1978 Trains magazine article says the cars were in 15 car sections. Another place on the internet says they were 13 cars long for each segment. Yet another site says each section was 8 cars long.
 
With Athearn's announcement for these in N scale. I would like to preorder the correct amount of end cars and intermediate cars.  Athearn hints that 12 cars is a prototypical consist.
 
http://www.athearn.com/newsletter/062416/11_N-scale_GATX_TankTrain_062416.pdf
 
 
 
Todd K Stearns


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WVa_Jon
Chaser
Posts: 65
Re: GATX TankTrain Question
 
« Reply #1 on: Sep 1st, 2016, 12:38am »
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When stationed at Edwards AFB, I saw a good number of these TankTrains, mostly heading south through Rosamond, CA. The trains went through at a good clip so counting was difficult, at best. I don't recall how many individual cars were in a train, nor how many would be in a "unit", for lack of a better term. I was always amazed at the (canvas?) pipe, connected from one car to another. BTW, this was the 1991 to mid 1993 time frame so things may have changed in other eras or periods. Unmistakably Western railroading at its best, notwithstanding!

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Norm_Anderson
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Posts: 1726
Re: GATX TankTrain Question
 
« Reply #2 on: Sep 1st, 2016, 5:05pm »
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Hi, Todd,
 
I just came across this thread.  For whatever it's worth, I wonder if the length of the strings may not have been tailored to the length of the platforms at the loading/unloading facilities?   It seems reasonable to me that they wouldn't try to load and unload the entire train through a single nozzle-- it would be too time-consuming.  Ditto if they filled or emptied a dozen cars at a time, then pulled the train forward to repeat with the next dozen.  The most efficient method, it seems to me, would be to break the train into parallel strings, then empty or fill them all simultaneously.  I suspect the flexible hoses could be attached and detached pretty much as needed, to create strings of any desired length, so there may not have been a hard-and-fast, etched-in-granite "standard."  All of that to say, whatever you decide upon for the length of your strings, you will probably be true to somebody's prototype.
 
As proof, I offer a short YouTube clip, taken on Tehachapi in 1994, of the SP "Oil Cans" (fully loaded) assaulting the Hill at Walong with ten units needed for power.  They cut away too soon at the front of the train, but the last two strings behind the Helpers appear to be 13-cars each.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE5SSdRBgYc

 
 
A second, slightly longer clip from 1995 shows the entire train-- four locomotives; four 12-car strings; four more locomotives; and two more 12-car strings.
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcYJvSniAxU

 
 
I just read on an online Forum that SP practice was apparently to assign 2.5 to 3 horsepower per ton to "The Oil Cans."  This was quite robust by SP standards (I recall seeing SP freights climbing Cajon Pass at about 5mph, and wondering if the engines were going to blow up from the exertion).  In the case of The Oil Cans, there were deadlines to meet.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Sep 1st, 2016, 8:50pm by Norm_Anderson » Logged
toddsyr

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Re: GATX TankTrain Question
 
« Reply #3 on: Sep 13th, 2016, 8:33pm »
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Thanks for the replies guys. I remember seeing Tank Train cars going to the Oswego, NY power plant as they came through the Syracuse, NY area via Conrail. Lakeland, NY to be precise, but don't know if you can locate that on a map. This was along the ex EL, nee DL&W branch line that went from Syracuse to Fulton and Oswego. Niagara Mohawk owned the power plant the cars were assigned to.  
 
After looking at some pics and other data I finally found on the 'net, I discovered the trains I saw had 15 car sections. I would agree the train sets could vary depending on loading/unloading situations since there were so many variations.  
 
I did pre-order 45 cars in all, three 15 car sets. This will be the only Conrail train on my EL themed layout and will run only occasionally to bring back some memories.  
 
Todd K Stearns
 


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