Three Dome Tank Cars

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Three Dome Tank Cars
Posted by caldreamer on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 4:58 PM

When did the railroads stop running the triple dome tank cars?  I have never seen one on any train that I watched or on any video of any train.

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 6:03 PM

caldreamer
When did the railroads stop running the triple dome tank cars?  I have never seen one on any train that I watched or on any video of any train.

Bigger question - did the 3 dome tanks haul single or multiple commodities.

         

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Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 6:47 PM

BaltACD

 

 
caldreamer
When did the railroads stop running the triple dome tank cars?  I have never seen one on any train that I watched or on any video of any train.

 

Bigger question - did the 3 dome tanks haul single or multiple commodities.

 

  Can't speak to all multi-dome tank cars.  But  a long time ago in a galazy far,far away; when I was in  High School in Memphis.    I had a classmate who's family was in the wine and liquor business.  They received wine in three dome, and other multiple domed tank cars, the capacity was not huge, by any means. The wine was used to package several really, cheap wines. NightTrain, MadDog20/20, are a couple , I can recall, and several others [basicly what would have been referred to as 'head busters' ].  They always seemed to have a couple of those tank cars hooked up out back.    Those three domed cars were probably in dedicated haulage, for food grades. 

The chemical Companies, seemed to favor the single domed cars, and occasionally, two domed cars could be seen around the chemical plants in the area.  But recently, I've seen some larger tank cars, with two domes moving on trains around here on BNSF.

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by BaltACD on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 7:20 PM

samfp1943
 
BaltACD
 
caldreamer
When did the railroads stop running the triple dome tank cars?  I have never seen one on any train that I watched or on any video of any train. 

Bigger question - did the 3 dome tanks haul single or multiple commodities. 

  Can't speak to all multi-dome tank cars.  But  a long time ago in a galazy far,far away; when I was in  High School in Memphis.    I had a classmate who's family was in the wine and liquor business.  They received wine in three dome, and other multiple domed tank cars, the capacity was not huge, by any means. The wine was used to package several really, cheap wines. NightTrain, MadDog20/20, are a couple , I can recall, and several others [basicly what would have been referred to as 'head busters' ].  They always seemed to have a couple of those tank cars hooked up out back.    Those three domed cars were probably in dedicated haulage, for food grades.  

The chemical Companies, seemed to favor the single domed cars, and occasionally, two domed cars could be seen around the chemical plants in the area.  But recently, I've seen some larger tank cars, with two domes moving on trains around here on BNSF.

In decades gone by, the quantity being shipped was much smaller than what is the norm today.  The 30K gallon tank car of today was unheard of back in the days of yore.  

In viewing the hookup of those 'tank cars out back'; were they hooked up to more than one hose at a time?  Or was one hose used on 3 separate bottom discharge valves.  One segment of the car could have NightTran, another segment of the car could have MadDog 20/20 and a 3rd segment could be loaded with 2 Buck Chuck.

I can't understand a car having the complex construction for 3 domes but the car only handling a single commodity - it doesn't make economic sense from the car owners perspective.

         

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 9:09 PM

I remember seeing a 3 dome tank car on the NYC Putnam Division in the early 60s.  There was a small chemical plant in suburban New York, but I don't know if that is what it was used for.

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Posted by tree68 on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 9:36 PM
  • According to the Tangent Models website, such cars carried a variety of commondities:
  • Linseed oil
  • Silicate of Soda (made with caustic soda and sand) sometimes referred to as sodium silicate.
  • Printing ink
  • Lubricating Oil
  • Motor Oil
  • Gasoline
  • Tallow
  • Varnishes
  • Acids
  • Solvents
  • Alcohols
  • Acetates
  • Vegetable Oils

Another site noted that the compartments might have three grades of the same commodity, all headed for the same vendor.

As for the wine, when I was a teen I worked in a liquor store.  The local "wine connoisseurs" would come in and but the cheapest wine we had (usually Thunderbird - a white wine going for a whole 69 cents) and a five cent package of red Koolaid, flavor not important.  They now had red wine...

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Posted by cx500 on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 10:58 PM

The overall capacity of tank cars in the 50-70 ton era was nothing like the much larger tank cars of today.  The number of domes reflected much smaller segregated potions of the tank, each potentially containing a different grade of product.  That smaller volume was easily handled by newer highway tankers.

It used to be many small towns would have a bulk fuel dealer supplied by rail. Erratic delivery by the railroads meant most of them eventually switched to trucks for delivery from the refineries.  For the railroads, it was easier to lose the business than make an effort to serve a customer in a regular and predictable fashion.

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 11:23 PM

cx500

It used to be many small towns would have a bulk fuel dealer supplied by rail. Erratic delivery by the railroads meant most of them eventually switched to trucks for delivery from the refineries.  For the railroads, it was easier to lose the business than make an effort to serve a customer in a regular and predictable fashion.

Many of those small towns were also on branch lines that were (at best) marginally profitable, and even those started to lose money as highways took away the mail and merchandise traffic, leaving only grain (which in Canada was a black hole thanks to the Crow Rate) and a few other bulk commodities like fuel.

Losing the business made it that much easier to apply for abandonment.

Gotta love the good ol' days of demarketing, divided compartment tank cars were just collateral damage.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 1:38 AM

The last tank car with domes was probably built in the early 1960s. There are still multiple compartment tank cars, just without domes. They seem to mainly carry lubricants or chemicals. There is a local winery that shipped wine in 3 or 4 compartment tank cars through the late 1990s or early 2000s.
 
Here are some pictures of modern, multiple compartment tank cars I have found on the Internet.
There are also others at http://www.railcarphotos.com but you have to be a member (free) to see the pictures.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:32 AM

In a similar vein, a shipping line known as Parcel Tankers operated compartmented tankers that handled multiple commodities in a single hull.

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:14 AM

Local delivery trucks often carried several types of fuel for their various customers.  We had a repurposed fire tanker with three compartments.  We would have liked to cut holes so the three worked together, but it was actually three completely separate tanks welded together to appear as one.  Odds are if we had made the cuts, we would have found multiple leaks...

Multi-commodity ships still exist.  Heard one report in to "Seaway Clayton" on the St Lawrence River some years ago with an interesting collection of liquid cargos, all flammable...

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Posted by 54light15 on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 12:14 PM

Mad Dog 20/20- My sister in law used to shoplift that crap from the 7-11 near where they lived. Horrible stuff but she would drink anything. 

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Posted by Enzoamps on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 5:53 PM

In my college days it was Boones Farm and Ripple.

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Posted by Shadow the Cats owner on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 5:56 PM

Most fuel tankers for gas station deliveries are still multi compartments.  They have 4 seperate tanks on them that way they can drop all 3 grades at one time.  Normally the 2 largest of the 4 are filled with 87 octane fuel.  My boss has 2 dedicated fuel tankers for our own fleet tanks. They have 1 8000 gallon tank for diesel on them.  Yes we are starting to haul our own fuel to our terminal.  Why pay someone to haul it when we are already permitted to haul haz-mat anyway.  

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:17 PM

Lucky Lager is the favoured cheap choice of the desperate 'round these parts.

Tried it once, tastes as if it were produced by equines...

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:12 PM

About 1987-88 I saw one of those elderly three dome tank cars in storage on a Iowa Interstate siding , along with other cars.  There was a strike looming on the CNW and it was said the UP was going to temporarily route some trains over the IAIS.  Since it was expected this siding would be needed to make train meets, the storage cars disappeared and I never saw the tank car again.

I have seen one detrucked and up on legs used, at least at one time, as a storage tank.  At one time, it wasn't unusual to see the former small retired and detrucked tank cars in small towns being used for storage.  Not so much anymore.

Jeff 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:28 PM

jeffhergert

I have seen one detrucked and up on legs used, at least at one time, as a storage tank.  At one time, it wasn't unusual to see the former small retired and detrucked tank cars in small towns being used for storage.  Not so much anymore.

There are still a few of those in use in my area.

What is more common is to see old covered hoppers being used as storage bins in farmyards.  And of course plenty of boxcars have been converted into storage sheds, both on and off railroad property.

And this is to say nothing of trailers or sea-cans.

The two that stand out for me are a wooden Northern Alberta Railways stock car that CN Engineering still uses as a shed in Peace River, AB, and a "Conrail Mercury"-painted trailer that somehow found its way into a farmer's field just outside of Seba Beach, AB.

Lots of neat, old stuff still out there.

Greetings from Alberta

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:37 PM

Besides shipping different commodities and different grades of the same, another reason to have multi-compartment cars is so that you can VERY CLEARLY deliver three shipments to three different customers. 

 

Consider the problem:  You deliver a 10,000 gallon car to a customer who is only supposed to draw down 3000 gallons.  With only one tank, there's the problem of when to stop.  Or is that whether....?

But with a 3-tank car, you can tell the first customer to empty tank A.  Very simple. No arguments.

 

Just a thought.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by DSchmitt on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 8:01 PM

https://www.tangentscalemodels.com/general-american-6000-gal-3-comp-tank-car/

"These tank cars were extremely long lived, lasting well into the 1970s and 1980s with virtually no modifications. "

I tried to sell my two cents worth, but no one would give me a plug nickel for it.

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 9:41 PM

A quick Google search found this photo, which reminds me of my Lionel triple-dome tank car: 

http://www.trovestar.com/generic/zoom.php?id=141926 

Or this one, at the nearby (?) Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:RR97.36_Three-dome_tank_car_No._4556.JPG 

Or this thread on the Model Railroader Forum:

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/13/t/262669.aspx  

- PDN. 

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:49 PM

jeffhergert

I have seen one detrucked and up on legs used, at least at one time, as a storage tank.  At one time, it wasn't unusual to see the former small retired and detrucked tank cars in small towns being used for storage.  Not so much anymore.

Jeff 

 
If I remember correctly, the California Fire Code prohibits using tank cars to store flammable fluids. Tank cars used as storage tanks before that was added may be grandfathered in (I am not sure). If other states have done the same thing then that would explain less tank cars being used as storage tanks.

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 11:35 PM

A reply:

a test only

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Posted by Semper Vaporo on Thursday, June 14, 2018 8:58 AM

You'll have to grade on the curve if you give tests without giving people a chance to study for them!

Semper Vaporo

Pkgs.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:50 AM

I remember as recently as 1970 seeing a gas station (on Eastern Avenue, SE, in Grand Rapids) that would receive a three-dome tank car at a spur which was right next to it.  There may also have been a fuel-oil distributorship there.

The multi-compartment cars one would see back then had mostly riveted-body tanks, and it was easy to see how they were divided into compartments.  The old three-domedoil cars lasted pretty much through the 1970s.  Chemical companies who needed such cars had leased newer ones with welded carbodies, but those were relatively rare.

Throughout the 1970s, if one were looking for them, one could find single-dome tank cars that showed evidence of having been rebuilt from multi-compartment cars.  That would probably have required new tanks, but the same old insulation with rivet lines where the domes had previously protruded.  

Of course, domes began to disappear from tank cars built beginning in about 1960.  All of the major carbuilders still built multi-compartment cars.  General American had most of the cars that were used by the wine companies.  These were twice as big as the old six-dome tank cars (one wonders whether those could have been painted as side-by-side flasks or canteens!), and came in many configurations--two, three, or four compartments, some with equal-sized tanks and some with tanks of differing sizes.  Union Tank Car would generally build the cars for fuel companies, with three equal-sized compartments (they also had a good-sized fleet of two-compartment tanks with the manways surrounded by a single platform; I don't know who leased most of those).  ACF had some three-compartment cars that were leased by anyone from fuel companies to chemical companies to food processors.

Since the 1990s, very few of these cars have been built.  Lubricating oils still are carried in such cars on occasion, and most of the cars that have been built are for petrochemical companies:  ExxonMobil, Chevron, etc.  Cars built after 2000 (the most recent I've found were built in 2012) are numbered in the dozens, instead of the hundreds or thousands.


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Posted by ATSFGuy on Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:54 PM

Could three dome tankers come back at some point?

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, June 14, 2018 10:33 PM

ATSFGuy
Could three dome tankers come back at some point?

I doubt it - tank car customers, for the most part if not all, have geared their facilities to be able to handle the maximum size loads of the commodities they handle.

Back in the day of the triple dome tank cars, locomotive fuel tanks were nominally 1500 gallons or less - today's locomotives have fuel tanks in the 4000-5000 gallon range.  Everything in shipping today has been Super Sized!  Would you like fries with that?

         

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Posted by Gramp on Friday, June 15, 2018 11:44 PM

Are the tanks moved on double stacks single tank containers?

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, June 16, 2018 4:16 PM

samfp1943
I had a classmate who's family was in the wine and liquor business.  They received wine in three dome, and other multiple domed tank cars, the capacity was not huge, by any means. The wine was used to package several really, cheap wines. NightTrain, MadDog20/20, are a couple , I can recall, and several others [basicly what would have been referred to as 'head busters' ].  They always seemed to have a couple of those tank cars hooked up out back. 



      Off track a bit... I recall a cartoon attributed to the New Yorker magazine. It was of a semi tanker truck. The sign painted on the side said "Cheap white wine".

      If wine was delivered in a tank car, did the receiving liquor distributors put it in wine bottles?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, June 16, 2018 4:53 PM

Murphy Siding
 
samfp1943
I had a classmate who's family was in the wine and liquor business.  They received wine in three dome, and other multiple domed tank cars, the capacity was not huge, by any means. The wine was used to package several really, cheap wines. NightTrain, MadDog20/20, are a couple , I can recall, and several others [basicly what would have been referred to as 'head busters' ].  They always seemed to have a couple of those tank cars hooked up out back. 

      Off track a bit... I recall a cartoon attributed to the New Yorker magazine. It was of a semi tanker truck. The sign painted on the side said "Cheap white wine".

      If wine was delivered in a tank car, did the receiving liquor distributors put it in wine bottles?

Yes - the same as if it had been delivered to the distributor/bottler in a railroad tank car.  Spirits from Wine to maximum proof alcahol were delivered to distributor/bottlers by rail in days gone by and may still be today although I don't know of any specific examples.

         

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, June 16, 2018 9:59 PM

BaltACD
Murphy Siding
samfp1943
I had a classmate who's family was in the wine and liquor business.  They received wine in three dome, and other multiple domed tank cars, the capacity was not huge, by any means. The wine was used to package several really, cheap wines. NightTrain, MadDog20/20, are a couple , I can recall, and several others [basicly what would have been referred to as 'head busters' ].  They always seemed to have a couple of those tank cars hooked up out back. 

      Off track a bit... I recall a cartoon attributed to the New Yorker magazine. It was of a semi tanker truck. The sign painted on the side said "Cheap white wine".

      If wine was delivered in a tank car, did the receiving liquor distributors put it in wine bottles?

Yes - the same as if it had been delivered to the distributor/bottler in a railroad tank car.  Spirits from Wine to maximum proof alcahol were delivered to distributor/bottlers by rail in days gone by and may still be today although I don't know of any specific examples.

The Crown Royal distillery in Gimli, Manitoba still uses tank cars.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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