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Author Topic: Tank Car Marketing  (Read 6933 times)
Wrath of Wotan

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« on: March 10, 2013, 12:18:17 AM »


I just read the following post on another popular forum, and must say I agree 100%:  Grin

"I like the new cars but wish Bachmann would give us more common cars in multiple numbers, instead of the circus train of colors with one car number each? Doesn't it occur to their marketing people that tank cars ran in long strings or even solid trains and selling four packs, six packs or even dozen of common black cars maybe good business? Geez..."

That really hits the nail on the head!  Is anybody listening?  Huh?

Some ya win, and some ya lose
some ya just can't tell...
Some they will, and some they won't
some it's just as well...     Ron

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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 11:50:39 AM »

See the threads on re-numbering locomotives.  Get some decals or dry transfers in a size and color that match the existing numbers, and add your own numbers.

If you can get a copy of the equipment registry (used by actual railroads), it will show the road name and number series for any car in use at the time the registry was published.

You may be able to get an outdated book (they are republished each year) from a railroader friend or at a railroad swap meet.

Lacking that, provided the original number is accurate for the car, if you simply pick numbers near the original you probably won't be far off.

Ken G Price

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« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 08:36:38 PM »

This is my opinion on the numbering and I know it is not that of most modelers.

If I am running blocks of all the same cars, always together, then they can all have the same number.
Say, if 9 of my grain hoppers are BNSF and numbered 415662, then those will always move as a block.
I have 5 of the same tank cars that always move together from staging to the refinery and back. So having the same number works as only one car card and one way bill is needed for these.

Same with engines that always run together, having the same number is just fine.

If the cars came the way WrathOfWotan asks for that would be fine, though I very seldom buy more than two or three cars at a time.

Ken G Price N-Scale out west. 1995-1996 or so! UP, SP, MoPac.
Pictures Of My Layout,

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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 12:24:28 AM »

If you are doing opperations, then individual car numbers are a must. You need to know what car goes where in a train. Not all of the same car always go to the same place.

As for locos, if you are DCC, unique loco numbers are also a must. As an example, my friend has a large layout and owns 14 of the Bachmann GP9's in B&O paint. A substancial amount of time has to be spent renumbering the locos so that they can addressed inpendently. Many of them are still running around the layout with little round stickers on them with their intended road number until there is time to renumber the shell.

Tony Hines

Modeling the B&O in Loveland, OH 1947-1950
Ron McF

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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 08:35:15 AM »

If you are doing operations, then individual car numbers are a must.

I have a reasonably large N scale layout, with around 300 freight cars, and I run ops sessions using CC&WB.  I also regularly operate on two other similarly sized layouts using CC&WB.  We all have cars with duplicate numbers, and for the most part they don't cause difficulties.  So long as you don't have too many of a particular car in the fleet, there's a good chance that operators won't even notice the duplications - especially if they can be made to serve different customers at different parts of the layout.

If I am running blocks of all the same cars, always together, then they can all have the same number.

I agree, and I do a similar thing myself in some cases. Nevertheless, it would be nice to have at least a little variety.

A bigger issue for me is the difficulty in finding "common black (tank) cars", as mentioned by WrathofWotan.  From the photos I've seen from the '30s, '40s and '50s, the overwhelming majority of tank cars that were used to ship oil to refineries were black, with minimal lettering. But if you try to build a fleet of such cars you'll find that they're hard to find, and expensive when you can. Painting and decalling your own cars is an option - if you can find suitable decals.

I'm sure that if Bachmann was to release a 4 or 6-pack of their 10k gallon tank cars in UTLX (black with gold lettering) it would be a winner.

« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 10:22:18 AM by Ron McF » Logged
Mike C

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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 11:45:02 AM »

I got a nice set of Bachmann 10,000 gal tankers (black color Phillips 66 ) from a large discounter in Brooklyn NY. a couple months ago. Sounded like they have a pretty good stock of them at that time. And the price was really good compared to retail. For anyone looking for some black tankers.........Mike

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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 06:22:54 PM »

I switched a Phillips refinery for several years.  Correct reporting marks for Phillips Petroleum was "PSPX".  I don't know what Conoco Phillips uses for reporting marks.

Most of the PSPX cars will be black.  Some will be white.

A lot of the tank cars at a Phillips plant will be leasing company-owned.  "UTLX" and "GATX" are common.

Many of these cars will carry hazmat placards, and will need spacer cars when used in a train.

Some of these cars will be used to haul molten sulfur.  This stuff is bright orange when liquid, flat yellow when cooled.  Some usually winds up spilled down the side of the cars.

It gives off toxic gas (sulfur dioxide) as it cools and so is hazmat placarded. The cooled material itself is not toxic.

A refinery also produces a lot of liquid by-products that will need to be transported in tank cars.  These cars can be black or white, or silver or many other colors.  Light blue and yellow are two that come to mind.

Oil refineries also sell petroleum products to other companies, including competing oil companies.  So just because you have a Phillips refinery, you might find anybody's cars spotted there.


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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 09:41:21 AM »

In the time period I model ,CONOCO uses C.O.N.X reporting marks.

 I have all of the bachmann cars in multiple. I have renumbered more than a dozen cars but I really have better things to do with my scarce modeling time. I agree that a collector set of unique numbered cars would be a good seller. UTLX,SHPX,GATX,NATX etc. were pretty common.

I am planning on buying some of the Frontenac cars in the near future and turning them into DX cars (COSX). The Frontenac cars have a defective numbering anyhow , all of them need numbers changed because the side reporting marks don't match the end reporting marks (at least on the ones I have). I like the Bachmann cars , I think they out class the microtrains cars in many regards, the only thing I do not like about them is the underframe-trucks-wheels and oversized couplers. These are all things I can and do adjust to my personal liking. I only wish for more variety in the paint schemes and numbers. I would LOVE to see Bachmann do some Diamond DX -Mid Continent COSX cars with the red Diamond or even the yellow lettered DX cars in multiple numbers .. That would save me LOTS of time.


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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 09:32:59 PM »

I have all of the bachmann cars in multiple. I have renumbered more than a dozen cars but I really have better things to do with my scarce modeling time. I agree that a collector set of unique numbered cars would be a good seller. UTLX,SHPX,GATX,NATX etc. were pretty common.

Highly agree! I do beleive plain, common reporting mark tank cars are something that hasn't been made available enough in this scale. I have a decent sized model railroad that operates and uses car cards (at least whenever I get all the cards finished). I have a few customers on the railroad that take tank cars for different uses, and may not always end up at the same customer every time they end up on the layout, per the waybill cycle. It is required to have cars on my layout with individual numbering, as the cars come into the layout as sometimes just one car, other times as multiple cars, and occasionally, the customer will not have some of the cars released on their siding during an operating session. 

It is nice to have a fleet of plain black tank cars, with common reporting marks (UTLX, GATX, SHPX, NATX, etc.) because they can be used in a variety of services, and reflect contemporary railroading more so that most of the bright, colorful paint schemes. Plain black, basic reporting mark cars much of the time lasted a longer period of time than the colorful ones, and/or in a lot of cases, cars with company logos on them. I can, and have decalled, or at least renumbered several cars over the years, but being able to not have to worry about matching decal fonts, sizes, and colors is a great thing. I would love to see 3, 6 or 12 packs of common cars in different number available.


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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 05:15:48 PM »

Tank cars have a longer service life than most other types of freight cars.  Sometimes they are used right up to the 50-year interchange limit.

When I started railroading in the 1970's, it was not unusual to find tank cars in service with build dates in the 1920's.

My favorite ones were those with "HOCX" prefixes.  That was a leasing company by the name of "Head-On Collision Line"!

Retired tank cars could often be found with their trucks removed, used as stationary tanks.

Albert in N
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 09:34:05 PM »

Les, thanks for the tank car info.  Did you see any prototype triple domed tank cars?  I can remember some small ones stored on the Texas short line, Roscoe, Snyder & Pacific back in the 1970s.  These seemed unusually small, like a prototype for the tiny N scale Micro-Trains version.  The Bachmann triple domes are much larger, but possibly match another newer prototype.  My Bachmann tank cars are nice and I especially like the Deep Rock ones (had to change Rapidos on several, plus dummy knuckles came on later ones).  The colorful red & white Panhandle Refining Bachmann triple dome really stands out when I want to liven things up.  I haven't seen the new Bachmann tankers.  From photos, they seem better; but not sure how hard it would be to change to realistic M-T couplers.  The old screw-attached dummy coupler tank cars require more fitting to change to M-T trucks than standard plastic pin attachment cars. 

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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 10:37:47 PM »


Yes, there are triple dome tank cars.  They are not very common.  The three domes are, of course, for three individual compartments in the car.

So the cars can carry three different products.

Cars with multiple compartments like these will have hazmat placard holders that can hold a placard for each compartment.  Obviously, they cannot be loaded with products that would react with each other if mixed in an accident.

Uses for these cars would be to ship refining by-products that are produced in small quantities.  Or to carry a shipment of varied products to a small distributor or factory that cannot handle a full carload of one product at a time.

Another common feature on tank cars I seldom see modeled is heating connections to run steam through pipes inside the tanks.  Where the car is unloaded, steam from a stationary boiler is fed through pipes looped inside the tank.  This allows very heavy products to be unloaded from tank cars.  Typical products shipped in these cars are asphalt, bunker C oil, sulfur (which solidifies as it cools); and food products like lard, molasses, and syrup.  The caps on the steam pipes are normally left open in transit so condensation can drain out.  The caps hang from the pipe ends on short chains.

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