Sunday, April 2, 2017

More on my tank car fleet

Awhile back, I posted a series of descriptions about how I chose the model freight cars that I did, to make up my operating fleet. One of those posts was about tank cars, and was pretty basic in what it included. (You can read it at: .) Much more recently, I have posted about some of the additional issues that crop up for any tank car fleet (the most recent post is at this link: ).
     In the present post, I want to address some recent changes to my tank car fleet, going beyond the modeling points made in my article in Model Railroad Hobbyist, in the issue of March 2016 (you can read online, or download, any issue of MRH for free, at any time, from their website at ).
     One tank car I would like to show is a Tidewater Associated Oil car. As I have described in some detail, Tidewater Associated had three reporting marks in my modeling era: TWOX in the east, TIDX in the Midwest, and AOX in the far west (that post is at: ). Though each regional sub-fleet was intended to meet regional needs, there is ample photographic evidence that all three marks could be found in all three regions.
    I chose a distinctive car design to add to my group of Tidewater Associated cars. I decided to figure out how to build a model of an asymmetrical tank car, that is, with an original center dome and a single compartment that evidently had been added at one end. These were certainly unusual cars but several owners had them. A familiar example is this photo, from the Byron Rose collection.

Oil companies had a need  for the ability to deliver smaller amounts of petroleum products than a full tank car, thus the existence of two- and three-compartment tank cars in the service of many oil companies. This is just another example.
     The approach I took used a variety of commercial components, but with a scratchbuilt underframe and a tank made from a hardwood dowel. The underframe for my model was similar to the one built from wood and light, rivet-impressed cardstock that I showed in my MRH article in March 2016 (see second paragraph from top of this post); here is a repeat of the photo from that article.

The cardstock on the center sill here is from an envelope for an M.V. Products headlight lens. The dark gray plastic is Plastruct. The completed car is shown below at the Associated dealer on my layout.

Tydol and Veedol were trade names for lubricants sold by Tidewater Associated Oil.
     Recently I completed a car assembled by Dennis Williams, a Sunshine kit for a General American car with circumferential-rivet-seam construction, Sunshine’s kit no. 99.3. I chose the version with decals for Baker Castor Oil, a load which logically could be delivered to my layout’s chemical repackaging business (for more on such businesses, you may read wish to my post at: ). Here is that car, spotted for unloading at Pacific Chemical Repackaging. (You can click on the image to enlarge it.)

     Some time ago, I published a short construction article in Railroad Model Craftsman, about two tank cars I partially scratchbuilt. (That was in the RMC issue for January 2012, Vol. 80, pp. 61–66.) One of them, a Becco Peroxide car which I built to resemble the superb model built years ago by Mark Feddersen (his article was in Prototype Modeler, January 1986, pp. 16–19). But my car was not in fact quite complete when I photographed it for the article. I have added some needed details, including side ladders, along with representations of route cards and placards. In the 1950s, peroxide was placarded as a corrosive liquid, which is how my car is shown. Here is the car today.

Prototype photos of BECX cars were included in the RMC article.
     This car has a tank and dome made from tubing, with a shortened Tichy tank car underframe. Various suitable details were applied, as described in the RMC article. I sometimes hear the comment about this model, that the trucks are too big. No, the rest of the car is just smaller than the big model tank cars we are used to (its capacity is about 6000 gallons). The trucks are completely standard HO scale trucks.
     These three cars are all somewhat out of the ordinary for HO scale tank cars, which was part of my motivation to create them. I enjoy operating them at the industries on my layout.
Tony Thompson


  1. Thanks for another good post Tony. I enjoy your tank car Modeling posts, and between them and Kaminski's tank car book I've learned a ton. It's surprising that many modelers treat tank cars like box cars, not realizing how specialized they are. I'm currently working on several projects which, along with the new offerings by Tangent will put my tank car fleet where it should be.

  2. Thanks for the comments, Alan. I agree with you that tank cars are actually specialized in many cases, and even if generic ICC 103's, still carry a single cargo again and again. And I too have a ways to go toward the tank car fleet I want to have!
    Tony Thompson