Monday, August 25, 2014

Wine tank cars

I reviewed the topic of wine tank cars in an earlier post, the main focus of which was wine as an industrial commodity (you can read it at this link: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/02/wine-as-industrial-commodity.html ). Here I want to revisit the subject of the tank cars in which wine was carried.
     In the post just cited, I showed examples of two insulated tank cars, one with a single dome and one with six domes, assigned to wine service. In the present post, I will show other examples of wine cars, to add to what was shown previously. All are American Car & Foundry builder photos, courtesy of Ed Kaminski.
     To begin, single-dome wine cars were fairly common. Here is an example, from the well-known concern of Chateau Martin, which shipped much blending wine eastward from California, along with wine to be bottled under its own label. It is a 6000-gallon car. (You can click on the image to enlarge.)


Note that this car is not insulated and jacketed, unlike most wine tank cars.
     Another common arrangement was a triple-dome car, such as this one owned by Shippers Car Line and and leased to Northern California Wineries of San Francisco. The “fat” domes show that they are insulated. Like most wine cars, this is a 6000-gallon car, making each compartment about 2000 gallons.


     Not as common but certainly visible in most photos of wine shipping was the four-dome car (in the post cited at the top of this page is a fine photo of the SP yard in Fresno, California, with all kinds of wine tank cars visible). This one was owned by California Dispatch Line (CDLX) and leased to various shippers. It is larger than most wine cars, having a capacity of 8000 gallons. Each end compartment holds 2500 gallons, each of the two center compartments holds 1500 gallons.


     Finally, the most commonly recognized wine tank car for modelers is the six-dome car. These almost always had six 1000-gallon compartments, as does this Shippers Car Line car, leased to the R. Martini Wine Company, which has insulation on both the body and the domes.


     This range of cars is not easy to model. Single-compartment insulated cars are of course easy, though not in the typical 6000-gallon size. The easiest cars (relatively speaking) at the moment are the six-compartment cars. They have been done in HO scale brass by Precision Scale, and the old Thomas Trains model is also well done (both are correctly 6000-gallon size). I have discussed the Thomas car in a previous post, a link to which is given in the first paragraph at the top of the present post. In that earlier post, I criticized the old AHM 6-dome tank car for being way oversize. It certainly has no prototype, nor anything even close. Just to emphasize the point, here is a side-by-side comparison of the AHM car at left, with a Precision Scale brass model at right. I think I’m within my rights to call the AHM version a monster.


     At least one other wine tank car is available, in prototypical lettering and in ready-to-run form. This was a convention car for the NMRA National Convention in Sacramento in 2011, and was produced by Walthers for the convention committee, using the Proto2000 insulated tank car model. Here is one of these cars in my fleet, with light weathering added by me.


The factory lettering is for California Dispatch Line (CDLX), and carries the notation, “FOR WINE SERVICE ONLY.” I have a second one of these cars, renumbered with decals.
     A few of these convention cars are still for sale, at a reduced price of $25 with free shipping. To buy one, go to this site: www.X2011west.org/store.html . These ready-to-run cars offer an easy way to get some wine traffic moving on your layout.
Tony Thompson


7 comments:

  1. Thanks, Tony. I'd been wanting to ask you about these cars, and now I know (and have ordered).

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  2. I have three from Precision Scale, including Madera, Martini and Roma wine. See http://brasstrains.com/Classic/Product/Detail/043113/HO-PSC-16567-6-Dome-Wine-Tank-Car-3-Car-Set-Roma-Martini-Madera for a picture of the three cars together.

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    1. Thank you, Brian, you are absolutely right, and I have now corrected the blog post accordingly. Mine is PSC also. Not sure where the brain cramp about Overland arose.
      Tony Thompson

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  3. Hmm... Would the dregs from a generic Lodi table red make an appropriate weathering wash? Just Wondering...

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  4. Worth a try, though maybe not right after drinking the rest of the bottle (grin). The great majority of tank car wine was fortified wine, though table wine for blending did get shipped that way.
    Tony Thompson

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  5. Would the California Dispatch cars ever be seen out east?

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  6. Absolutely. Their main use was shipping wine to the east from California.
    Tony Thompson

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