Saturday, April 28, 2018

Wheeler, Reynolds & Stauffer Tank Car WRSX 1

WRSX 1, specific location not recorded, but likely SF East Bay area, photo credit: Pacific & Western Model Railroad
Tony Thompson had a post recently on his excellent blog about Stauffer Chemical in the Bay Area. It's the kind of information that makes prototype modeling spring to life, giving a reason for the presence of certain rolling stock in our scenes. In his post, he referenced the recollections of Decker McAllister, Jr., who had worked for Stauffer, including the following:

"The Stege works included a bunch of activities. One plant was the only carbon disulfide (CS2) plant west of the Mississippi (plant was called Wheeler, Reynolds & Stauffer, WR&S)."

In the post, Tony also noted that WR&S owned four tank cars. His post sent me on a search to see what photos I had of Stauffer cars in my collection. I knew I had several of the standard Stauffer cars, but I also had a vague recollection of a WR&S photo. Sure enough, when I searched in my Adobe Lightroom database, I found this photo of WRSX 1. I came into possession of it, along with several other photos, via ebay auctions about one year ago.

WRSX 1 was built in September, 1915, and represents an early GATC underframe (pre-1917 design). At the time the car was built, General American had a preference for two tank anchors, as illustrated in this photo. Interestingly, there were no listings for WRSX cars in the Freight Tariff 300-A for Tank Car Capacities. There were two cars listed in the January, 1938 ORER, WRSX nos. 1 and 2. WRSX 1 had a listed capacity of 6,603 gallons and a designation of TMI, car with insulated tank. Note that "CARBON BISULPHIDE" was stenciled on the tank. Also of interest is the "acid" style tank car expansion dome.

Although most of the tiny stenciling on the tank is extremely difficult to discern, let alone read, I was able to decipher that the tank and safety valves were last tested in 1937 at Oakland by the Southern Pacific.

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