Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Adding storage tanks

 For while now, I have realized, in surveying things that may be missing on my layout, that I could use some more storage tanks. My chemical industry, Pacific Chemical Repackaging, handles a wide variety of chemical substances, most in liquid form (thus helpfully requiring an equally wide variety of tank cars and car owners to deliver all the products). In addition, I still haven’t provided a storage tank for diesel fuel in my engine terminal.

Luckily, in digging through my stash of unbuilt kits of all kinds, I found what I was sure I remembered was there: a Walthers set of miscellaneous tanks. This is called “Storage Tanks,” part 933-3197. This product happens to be on sale at the moment. See: https://www.walthers.com/industrial-tanks-detail-set-cornerstone-kit .

You can see on the label the variety of tank sizes and shapes that can be made: two horizontal on concrete supports, two vertical ones, and two vertical ones elevated on steel pedestals, six altogether.

I decided to build a few of these, very quick and easy with styrene cement. Some clean-up of individual parts with a small file is all that is needed. And as soon as I surveyed possible uses on the layout for the various sizes and shapes, I decided to build all six tanks. Here they are, completed.

Next I decided what color each tank should be, largely based on where it would be placed, so that it would fit in with its surroundings. As one example, I chose a warm gray for the tank that I decided to install alongside Channel Islands Kelp Products (for a description of that project, see: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2022/07/my-article-in-july-2022-mrh.html ). This is the smaller of the two pedestal tanks in the photo above.

Another example is the one mentioned at the top of the present post, a diesel fuel tank for the Southern Pacific fuel area at the Shumala engine terminal. This one I painted aluminum, like a number of relatively modern SP tanks I have seen in photographs. I also rummaged around in my collection of various partly-used decals and found lettering for “diesel fuel” that I could add to the tank, again reflecting an actual SP tank at West Oakland.

Here is the tank, placed alongside the spur track identified as the fuel spot. At left is an SP tank car delivering Bunker C fuel for steam locomotives (stored in the large black tank). The turntable pit is in the foreground, the sand house at right. And at photo center is the oil and lubricant storage building, built of brick as were many such SP buildings. At far right is a car of propane being unloaded at Associated Oil.

One of the attractions of installing this tank (aside from answering the question, “how does the diesel switcher assigned to Shumala get fuel?” is that I can now spot loads of diesel fuel in SP’s distinctive tank car paint scheme for such cars. 

Below is shown such a car, SP 58704, on spot. Its placard shows that it has already been unloaded and is empty. (For more about this paint scheme, and availability of decals, see: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2016/08/sp-tank-car-decals-are-back.html ).

With these two storage tanks placed, I needed to decide where the others should go, but I will return to that topic in a future post.

Tony Thompson

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