Railway Preservation News

Santa Fe water tank car
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Author:  technoty [ Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Santa Fe water tank car

Two months ago I checked a tankcar body in the desert town of Vidal Junction in California. I found out that it's ATSF 100800, the original member of the Tk-L class of one hundred cars built in 1930. Some cars were assigned to a major domestic water hauling service from nearby Blythe, from the 1930s to the 1960s. The car I found however has markings that seem to read CLEBURNE and GCSF, hinting a Texas assignment. There's also a small pipe linking to the dome. The body could be storing water.

The class also stood out for the large tank car size of the time and a single steel casting for the underframe and ribbed bottom. There could be an article in Railway Age from 1930 about this tank car, that I wish I read. There's no known member of this class that's preserved by a museum or so. The Vidal Junction car isn't the only survivor.

I don't know who owns the tank body. I will ask questions in a store Wednesday when I go through the town.

Old pictures.
Magazine ad.
Photo in Vidal Junction.

Author:  wosborn [ Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car


Would you be willing to make further investigation regarding the Cleburne marked water tank carbody, and provide me pictures, and see if you can determine who owns it and whether they would sell it? And let me reimburse you whatever you might consider fair for your time in this regard?

I have need of one of these old Santa Fe domestic water tank cars. Had hoped to find one on trucks but they have gotten pretty scarce.

Thank you.

- William Osborn www.texascompound.com and www.texassantafehistory.com

william@texasenergylaw.com for reply

Author:  technoty [ Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car

Mr. Osborn, you have an email.

Author:  technoty [ Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car

I went on a recent trip to see this tank body again. The former coupler part/lower bottom of the tank's side facing east seems to host a hive. And the bottom hole of the tank is connected to an underground pipe. I never saw the top lid closed every time I see this tank in the town.

Overall, contact was made to two or three different parties and we received no word regarding the availability of an acquisition option. A visit to the county assessors office will occur one day.

Also, the Cleburne marking refers to the location of a test of the tank in the date 8-9-56.

Author:  technoty [ Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car

I have a couple of questions that are useful if this tank gets saved. Would the tank need sandblasting and new paint before it receives trucks? The underframe (see the old ad) is rusty. Would all rivets need sanding? Is it possible to weld new parts in where the old parts have been torched off? The missing parts (not all of them presumably installed by welding) include the couplers and coupler boxes/draft gear, brake stand and Ajax wheel, running boards and their supports, the ladders, one upper running board and supports, stirrups, placards, railings... I don't think it has to be operable.
Would all the work mentioned above require the tank to be in a railroad museum or workshop?

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car

It would be much easier, in this day and age, to simply place the tank car on a heavy haul lowboy trailer and truck it to the museum. At that point repairs and replacing draft gear, couplers, and brake equipment can progress at a leisurely pace.

Author:  technoty [ Sun Sep 16, 2018 8:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Santa Fe water tank car

Here's an update for the time being.

The tank is available. I last checked on late May.

I approached my city and few nearby railroad museums if they're interested. Two museums declined over having too many tanks in their collections, and I never received a response from another one. The city preferred a locomotive (which they couldn't acquire because of the high cost of relocating it), or another attractive object like a caboose. The city owns a vacant railroad track and this is closer to Vidal Junction than the museums by being approximately 50 miles away. Here's a news story on the city's attempt on buying that locomotive (it also mentions the tank).

Coming to think that some towns in the Mojave desert had domestic water service, it would be brilliant, but not mandatory, to have the tank move elsewhere in Southern California or to Arizona, and there's no other ATSF domestic water car preserved for historical purposes and located west of Texas and Oklahoma. But there were little signs so far of insufficient interest for a museum or other party from this region that wants to save it.

Like I said earlier, this tank is missing so many components. But unlike nearly every recycled tank body, the underframe is part of the body and it looks like the center plates are still there along with the bolsters. Deciding whether if the tank's missing metal parts can be replaced (which I doubt when owing to the torching) or if it should be only given trucks, paint, rust removal, a new wooden running board, and leave it as a static display had left me in the air.

This example of a tank restoration may inspire the task of rebuilding the missing parts, at least the railings. (AOX 930).

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