Friday, January 6, 2017

Handout for wine tank cars

This is a handout for a clinic about tank cars used to transport wine. It represents a kind of second edition of a clinic presented in 2010 by my good friend Richard Hendrickson. He and I had shared ideas and resources in developing that talk, but the final product then was entirely Richard's and was presented by him. But some aspects of the topic, such as information about the wine business and about modeling of wine tank cars, did not get included. I wanted to round out the talk with those topics inserted. Having retrieved Richard's talk files from his computer, I reorganized the material somewhat and added the parts I felt were missing, resulted in the current talk.
      I have written two earlier blog posts which relate to the topic of this clinic. One of them was focused on the subject of wine as an industrial commodity, since understanding the wine business itself is essential to understanding the rail shipping side of the topic. That post should provide additional background to material that was presented in the talk (here is the link: ). A follow-up post had a simplified introduction to the subject of wine tank cars, prototype and model, and it can be found at this link: .
     Next, I would like to provide links to some of the sources of the products mentioned in the clinic. To start, I showed a reprint of the 1955 tank car tariff. This can be obtained at at this link: . The Gibson Wine cars I showed can be modeled with Protocraft Decals; see . The frangible-disk type of safety vent, upright or elbow,  is available from Owl Mountain Models in HO scale; see their parts page at : .
     I only had a few moments to talk about Chateau Martin and its wine cars. For a really complete and interesting description, you may visit Jim Lancaster’s excellent web page on this topic, which may be found at: .
     Having said a little in the talk about scratchbuilding a wine tank car, the basic method used was described fairly thoroughly in my article in Railroad Model Craftsman, in the issue for January 2012.
     Finally, I mentioned the ex-Proto2000 insulated tank cars now sold by Walthers. This was a convention car for the NMRA National Convention in Sacramento in 2011, and was produced for the convention committee. A few of these convention cars are still for sale, at a reduced price of $10 plus shipping. To buy one, go to this site: . These ready-to-run cars offer an easy way to get some wine cars on your layout, and are easily relettered.
     Richard had also drafted a text summary of his talk but not finished it; he had also started to add some modeling photos to the talk. I took on the challenge of completing and updating these materials, along with adding the extension topics I put into the talk. I show the two pages of our text below. You can click on these to enlarge them, and can download for your own use if you wish.

    It has been interesting and fun to fill out Richard’s talk to reach the vision he and I had discussed originally. I hope this handout version is helpful and extends some of the content of the oral presentation. As I did at the talk itself, I will be happy to take questions.
Tony Thompson


  1. I remember some unique waybills when I worked for PFE about 1972-3 for protective service for tank cars of wine shipped to upstate NY presumably for blending with then native NY Concord grape to cut the intense flavor. I think they were for maintenance of heater protective service before the shipments left SP/UP lines.

    Ken Adams

  2. The blending was also for providing BETTER flavor. Not everyone loves the wine made from Concords, which certainly has a flavor distinct from European vinis vinifera grapes (now grown world-wide, of course).
    Tony Thompson