North American Operations of the GATX Tank Trains

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North American Operations of the GATX Tank Trains
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 09, 2006 12:23 AM
For 30 years GATX has been building and leasing the unique Tank Train Tank Car Trains. They can be loaded and unloaded from a single car. It is still amazing.

Southern Paciifc long had captive operations of the GATX Tank Trains. Do the Tank Train operations still continue on the dominating Union Pacific?

Canadian National added new GATX Tank Trains over the past 5 to 6 years.

Where have all these Tank Trains been operating over the past 30 Years?

Is there a resource on the web detailing the long history of Tank Train operations?

The H&M Productions book on Tank Cars in the Classic Freight Car series has photographic examples some of these Tank Trains.

I have only seen a few Tank Train unit trains every couple of years on the GTW Mainline in Michigan. The Tank Trains come and go from GATX in Chicago.

The GATX Website is a bit sparse on the Tank Train.

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Posted by ericsp on Friday, June 09, 2006 1:14 AM
The train between Bakersfield (later Mojave) and Carson is history. However, there is one that operates between San Ardo and Carson (the crude is sent via pipeline to Torrance from Carson).

There is also a tank train of petroleum products in eastern Canada (I am assuming this is the one you mentioned).
http://www.ultramar.ca/Refinery/TransportationOfProducts/
http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=133704&showcomments=true&PHPSESSID=85a62665271fe7a95603aef2a618f5a1

I have seen old photographs of some sulfuric acid tank train cars (I think on the Fallen Flags website).

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 09, 2006 8:56 AM
Exactly how is it done where they can load all the tanks from one unit?
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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, June 09, 2006 10:40 AM
They can't load the whole train from one car. The cars are simipermanantly coupled into sets of 8 cars. There is a big hose that connects between the cars at the top of each end of the tanks. Then the 8 car sets are coupled together to become trains of 72,80 or 88 cars.

Dureing Metrolink construction on the Soledad Canyon line the cans were re-routed down through Cajon pass. Here is an empty returning to Bakersfield passing Highland sideing on the Palmdale cutoff.


Here is another empty just east of Woodford sideing (just below Tehachapi loop)


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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, June 09, 2006 10:59 AM
I believe there was another tank train that ran between Utah and Martinez in the late 70s too.
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 09, 2006 8:40 PM
I actually did photograph some more recent GATX Tank Train Tank Cars, as shown in the February 2006 photo, on a CN Train coming from the Chicago area, where the GATX Headquarters are located. I wondered if they were still being operated somewhere on the CN.

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, June 10, 2006 12:11 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by chad thomas

I believe there was another tank train that ran between Utah and Martinez in the late 70s too.

Chad, the Trains Magazine had a photograph of that train in the April 1991 issue. It appeared that it used regular tank cars.

The last time I saw the WUDOO/DOWUO they had the cars in 13 cars sets. Did they change it?

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, June 10, 2006 12:13 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by falconer

I actually did photograph some more recent GATX Tank Train Tank Cars, as shown in the February 2006 photo, on a CN Train coming from the Chicago area, where the GATX Headquarters are located. I wondered if they were still being operated somewhere on the CN.

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They do not go through Chicago, but Ultramar Canada still lists them on its website. See my first post.

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, July 08, 2006 12:31 AM
Here are some smaller Tank Train tankcars photographed by Edward Reutling in Kingsport, TN on July 28, 2002.
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx28587aer.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx28584aer.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx28576aer.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx28562are.jpg
They remind me of phosphoric acid tankcars, however there are no placards on them.

Here are some sulfuric acid cars photographed by Greg Dickinson in Horseheads, NY on September 8, 1984.
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx26254agd.jpg
http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx26256agd.jpg

All photographs in this post came from http://www.rr-fallenflags.org/gatx/gatx.html.

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Posted by CShaveRR on Saturday, July 08, 2006 5:30 AM
Andrew, a Tank Train used to be destined for the power plant in Bay City, years and years ago.

It seemed like a good technology, but probably had a few drawbacks, which is why it isn't advertised of used much any more. The last ones I saw were used by Conrail itself, possibly for transporting diesel fuel on-line.

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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, July 08, 2006 6:58 AM
I wonder if we can use them to get water from Desalination plants on the ocean somewhere to boost supplies of various population centers that might need it?
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Posted by jsoderq on Saturday, July 08, 2006 7:52 AM
The train still is used in Bay City. It brings in and stores fuel oil to start a cold boiler for the power plant.
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Posted by TheS.P.caboose on Saturday, July 08, 2006 8:51 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by ericsp

QUOTE: Originally posted by chad thomas

I believe there was another tank train that ran between Utah and Martinez in the late 70s too.

Chad, the Trains Magazine had a photograph of that train in the April 1991 issue. It appeared that it used regular tank cars.

The last time I saw the WUDOO/DOWUO they had the cars in 13 cars sets. Did they change it?

I saw the WUDOO (loaded oil cans) last night. The tankers are hooked up in 13 car sets.
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Posted by tjsmrinfo on Sunday, July 09, 2006 12:49 AM
here is some more info on the tank trains

http://www.alaskarails.org/fp/TankTrain.html

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Posted by TH&B on Sunday, July 09, 2006 6:04 AM
There was a Tank Train of 75 cars in length that ran from Sarnia On to Oswego NY sporadicaly some years ago. I beleive Montana Rail Link has one that runs twice a day.
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Posted by ericsp on Sunday, July 09, 2006 5:12 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by 440cuin

I beleive Montana Rail Link has one that runs twice a day.

Are you refering to the Gas Local? From the photographs I have seen, this train appears to use regular tank cars.

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Posted by TH&B on Sunday, July 09, 2006 5:31 PM
yes I think you're right about it is called the gas local and it may not be a Tank Train (with interconted pipes) but just a unit train of tank cars.

The one to Oswego was connected with pipes between cars but did not have the word Tank Train on the side, very similar to the one in California.
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 10:27 PM

Mischief  5 years later on, I'll add to this thread rather than starting a new one and causing the subject to be further scattered about in cyberspace . . . Whistling

A Tank Train used to run out of the Port of Albany, NY area.  A small 4-track yard to load and unload it was built there in the early 1980's - perhaps for Cibro Petroleum ? - and still exists, but is now used for ethanol unloading instead.  Nevertheless, some Tank Train cars can still be seen in the area, although I have no idea what they are carrying or the route they are running.  Here are some of my photos of them at the southern end of the CP/ D&H Kenwood Yard just south of Albany from this past Monday, 06 June 2011 - stenciled as "Leased to GLOBAL COMPANIES LLC", though that doesn't mean anything to me at the moment:

   

Detail photo of connecting hose:

   

Detail photo of end car - a rare car among rare cars ! - note the overflow/ relief/ sampling (?) pipe arrangement:

   

I have a few more of these cars from other angles - if anyone is interested, I can post those here, too. 

Any help or information on these that anyone can provide - such as the AAR class, mechanical dept. type, build dates, etc. - will be appreciated.  Thanks in advance !

- Paul North. 

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Posted by ericsp on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 2:50 AM

The tankcar in the last photograph is placarded for gasoline and has a capacity of 26,704 gallons. The car on the left in the second photograph appears to be a DOT 111A100W-1. If you took a photograph of a consolidation stencil (if I remember the name correctly)(part of it is visible in the lower left corner of your second photograph), then we can get a built date from that. Judging from the saddles (the parts the tank sits on), I would guess the cars were probably built in the 1980s or earlier.

Here is Global Companies, LLC's website.

Here is its Albany terminal (Bing is way off on the address), in the process of being switch (pan left). If you pan left until it loads another image, then pan back to the loading racks, you will see the cars at the racks.

Regarding the pipes, I seem to recall reading that when unloading the Oil Cans, they would pipe nitrogen in the opposite end they unloaded the crude to aid in the unloading process. Perhaps that is what the pipes are for.

Here are several photographed in Vermont.

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=803627

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=867180

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=867179

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=867177

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=867178

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=689008

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=867168

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=689004

Here is the Burlington, VT terminal (likely the unloading point). If you rotate the view to face east the cars will appear.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 10:35 AM

Just a thought:

                       With the advent of the ethanol transport using a train of single cars, it would seem as a casual observation; The Tank Train concept would be a very useful tool to load and unload a train of those cars. Simply, the utilization of spoting a single car in the Tank Train to load the entire train and then the reverse at destination. That alone would cut down on not only time, but switching costs and  their related expenses.

       Using that process it would seem that Tank Trains would be a very useful tool to the ethanol industry, reating the rolling pipeline concept.

      The only negative that seems to come to mind is one of Rish Management from an Insurance perspective.  Wrecking a train of single cars would necessarily limit the amount of product that would be potentially spilled, or even spilled and then burned.

      Is this true in the event of the wreck of a Tank Train, or is there plumbing in place on the cars, if in the event of a derailment to stop the cross flow of product between cars in a derailment?

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 11:36 AM

That many carloads is an awful lot of product to pump in and out of just a single hose connection, which at best would take too long and result in slow turn-around and cycle times and unacceptable costs, etc.  The other extreme is each car having its own loading/ unloading hose, which is how most are done.  Even with that, the 5 or 6-man crew that does the 80 to 96 cars at the terminal I'm most familiar with has several hours of 'doing nothing' time in the middle of the day, after all the cars are hooked up and draining, but before enough cars are emptied to start disconnecting and closing them up towards the end of the day. 

A sensible compromise between those extremes is to break up the train into several cuts of cars, each with its own hose connection.  The original loading site at Albany was set-up 4 tracks, each with about 20 cars per cut, which should provide a reasonable loading / unloading rate and switching time and costs. 

There are valves in the hoseline to isolate/ 'compartmentalize' each car, so that the breach of one will not allow any others to also leak out through it.  Look at my middle photo above - the box on the top of each car contains that valve.  The hard-to-read stenciling at the inner end of each box says: "VALVE MUST BE CLOSED IN TRANSIT".   Next to that is a vertical line with a 'bulb' at the bottom that kind of resembles a musical "quarter note" - that's labled as "OPEN".  Underneath that is a horizontal line with the 'bulb' at its end toward the middle of the car, which is labeled as "CLOSE".  The actual valve lever alternates between sides at the ends of the cars - here, it is visible on the left box - it's the thick gray lever about a foot long which comes out of the box at about a 45-degree angle up towards the end of the car, then bends another 45-degrees to the horizontal and ends with a white handle.  Part of a similar handle can also be seen at the top left of this photo that was linked by ericsp, although that handle appears to be a little longer and bent downwards somewhat: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=689008 

ericsp - thanks for finding, linking, and posting all those photos, some of which have better detail than even mine.  I may annotate and/ or comment on some of them later. 

In the meantime, here's a link to some photos on railpictures.net of the UltraMar Tank Train in Canada:

Tank train in S-curve at refinery in warm weather: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=53219 - the caption on this one says its 68 cars are in 4 blocks of 17 cars each; 

Tank train in S-curve at refinery in deep winter - good view of tops of cars: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=133704 

Tank Train silhouetted alongside at sunset: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=199156 

The caption of this recent photo says the TankTrain cars are en route from Burlington, VT:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=358905

And the caption of this one from 1993 also says they were then running from the Port of Albany, NY to Burlington, VT: 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=228757

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Posted by tree68 on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 1:54 PM

TH&B
There was a Tank Train of 75 cars in length that ran from Sarnia On to Oswego NY sporadicaly some years ago. I beleive Montana Rail Link has one that runs twice a day.

The plant in Oswego either shut down or went natural gas.  I saw one of the TankTrains headed there years ago - the only time I've ever seen one.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Saturday, June 11, 2011 2:12 AM

Here is my O Scale video of two short GATX TankTrains.

watch?v=J2VXGnyG6G4

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Saturday, June 11, 2011 2:37 AM

Here are the O Scale models of the GATX TankTrain tank cars offered by Lionel.

watch?v=P5FxjQ0vWsY

I saw them in person in the 1980's, 1990's and the 2000's on the Grand Trunk Western/CN mainline through Michigan occasionally. I have not seen one lately, since I can not see every single train from my house.

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Posted by Mr. Railman on Saturday, June 11, 2011 8:30 AM

To answer your question, GATX Tankers are just mixed in with the manifests. I always see them mixed in with manifests. Every once in a while, I'll see GATX Molten Sulfur trains go through Mundelein on CN. Most of the Molten Sulfur, though is mixed in with manifests.

 

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Posted by AnthonyV on Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:13 AM

Looking at the photos, it seems possible to load a block of cars using a single connection.  However, I don't see how it is possible to unload a block of cars using a single connection.

How would the fluid flow from one car to another during unloading?  Is there an internal piping arrangement that creates a siphon to draw fluid from one car to another?

Thanks.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Saturday, June 11, 2011 4:09 PM

Each tank car does have a valve on the bottom to empty them using both gravity and suction.

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Posted by switch7frg on Sunday, January 22, 2012 9:22 AM

Thumbs Up Thumbs Up   Andrew, what a great layout you have there. The trains seem real at first glance.

                            Thank you for sharing the video with us.

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Posted by samfp1943 on Sunday, January 22, 2012 10:18 AM
Paul_D_North_Jr wrote the following post on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 [in part]

"...That many carloads is an awful lot of product to pump in and out of just a single hose connection, which at best would take too long and result in slow turn-around and cycle times and unacceptable costs, etc.  The other extreme is each car having its own loading/ unloading hose, which is how most are done.  Even with that, the 5 or 6-man crew that does the 80 to 96 cars at the terminal I'm most familiar with has several hours of 'doing nothing' time in the middle of the day, after all the cars are hooked up and draining, but before enough cars are emptied to start disconnecting and closing them up towards the end of the day. ...

A sensible compromise between those extremes is to break up the train into several cuts of cars, each with its own hose connection.  The original loading site at Albany was set-up 4 tracks, each with about 20 cars per cut, which should provide a reasonable loading / unloading rate and switching time and costs..."

Paul:  To sort of expand on your point.  I was reading in an articles on the Operation of the "GATX Tank Train' in a real workd setting.

       The story indicated that when unloading the cars wer broken down into groups of 12 interconnected cars, for the unload.        The product was at a higher temperature than ambient while transported, ( Loaded at a high temp at origin(?).   The unload time was boosted by covering the material pressurized in the cars with an inert gas ( Nitrogen(?). That pressure boost coupled with the flow of the 'warmed' product enabled a quicker unload times at Destination.

Sorry, I cannot remember the source for the above comment  CryingCrying

[EDIT to add content]

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/t/201762.aspx?PageIndex=2

link to: Keystone XL Pipeline Thread.

   Then I posted the link to this Thread ( from a posting in 2006)   on the Keystone XL Pipeline Thread ( current to this month). The information is surely current and valid then as now.

    Does anyone have any Current Information on the implementation of the GATX Tank Train(s) in today's transportation market?   IMHO, it would be some interesting reading, particularly in the context of what is happening with today's needs.  My 2 Cents

Sam

 

 


 

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Posted by Hearne Guy on Saturday, January 24, 2015 10:47 PM

The cars above are DOT 111A100W1 Class cars.  The have a GATX 98 Underframe so the oldest the could be would be late 70's or early 80"s.  They quit building the Type 98 underframe in about 1980 or 81.  The remaining strings for the most part are in 13 car strings.  I don't think there has ever been a string 70 cars long.  Possibly what was saw was a train with 4 or 5 of the 13 car strings coupled together. 

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