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A tank car (International Union of Railways (UIC): tank wagon) is a type of railroad car (UIC: railway car) or rolling stock designed to transport liquid and gaseous commodities.

Narrow gauge tank car, 750 mm (2 ft 5 12 in) gauge

History

Timeline

The following major events occurred in the years noted:

  • 1865: Flatcars with banded wooden planks or decking mounted on top are employed for the first time to transport crude oil from the fields of Pennsylvania during the Pennsylvanian oil rush.
  • 1869: Wrought iron tanks, with an approximate capacity of 3,500 US gal (13 m3; 2,900 imp gal) per car, replace wooden tanks.
  • 1888: Tank-car manufacturers sell units directly to the oil companies, with capacities ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 US gal (23–38 m3; 5,000–8,300 imp gal).
  • 1903: Tank-car companies develop construction safety standards. More than 10,000 tank cars are in operation.
  • 1915: A classification system is developed by the tank-car industry to ensure the correct match of car type to product being shipped. Some 50,000 tank cars are in use.
  • 1930: 140,000 tank cars transport some 103 commodities.
  • 1940s: Virtually every tank car is engaged in oil transport in support of the war effort.
  • 1945–1950: Welding replaces riveting in car construction (both underframes and tanks) for the major manufacturers, including American Car & Foundry and General American.
  • 1950: Pipelines and tank trucks begin to compete for liquid transport business.
  • 1963: The Union Tank Car Company introduces the "Whale Belly" tank car.

Usage

North America

AAR Plate-C loading gauge

Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids and gases transported. Tank cars can be pressurized or non-pressurized, insulated or non-insulated, and designed for single or multiple commodities. Non-pressurized cars have various fittings on the top and may have fittings on the bottom. Some of the top fittings are covered by a protective housing. Pressurized cars have a pressure plate, with all fittings, and a cylindrical protective housing at the top. Loading and unloading are done through the protective housing.

Tank cars are specialized pieces of equipment. As an example, the interior of the car may be lined with a material, such as glass, or other specialized coatings to isolate the tank contents from the tank shell. Care is taken to ensure that tank contents are compatible with tank construc

The following major events occurred in the years noted:

  • 1865: Flatcars with banded wooden planks or decking mounted on top are employed for the first time to transport crude oil from the fields of Pennsylvania during the Pennsylvanian oil rush.
  • 1869: Wrought iron tanks, with an approximate capacity of 3,500 US gal (13 m3; 2,900 imp gal) per car, replace wooden tanks.
  • 1888: Tank-car manufacturers sell units directly to the oil companies, with capacities ranging from 6,000 to 10,000 US gal (23–38 m3; 5,000–8,300 imp gal).
  • 1903: Tank-car companies develop construction safety standards. More than 10,000 tank cars are in operation.
  • 1915: A classification system is developed by the tank-car industry to ensure the correct match of car type to product being shipped. Some 50,000 tank cars are in use.
  • 1930: 140,000 tank cars transport some 103 commodities.
  • 1940s: Virtually every tank car is engaged in oil transport in support of the war effort.
  • 1945–1950: Welding replaces riveting in car construction (both underframes and tanks) for the major manufacturers, including American Car & Foundry and General American.
  • 1950: Pipelines and tank trucks begin to compete for liquid transport business.
  • 1963: The Union Tank Car Company introduces the "Whale Belly" tank car.

Usage

North America

AAR Plate-C loading gauge

Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids and gases transported. Tank cars can be pressurized or non-pressurized, insulated or non-insulated, and designed for single or multiple commodities. Non-pressurized cars have various fittings on the top and may have fittings on the bottom. Some of the top fittings are covered by a protective housing. Pressurized cars have a pressure plate, with all fittings, and a cylindrical protective housing at the top. Loading and unloading are done through the protective housing.

Tank cars are specialized pieces of equipment. As an example, the interior of the car may be lined with a material, such as glass, or other specialized coatings to isolate the tank contents from the tank shell. Care is taken to ensure that tank contents are compatible with tank construction.

As a result of this specialization, tank cars have generally been "one-way" cars. Other cars, like boxcars, can easily be reloaded with other goods for the return trip. Combinations of the two types were attempted, such as boxcars with fluid tanks slung beneath the floors. While the car could certainly carry a load in both directions, the limited tank size made this unsuccessful.

A large percen

Many variants exist due to the wide variety of liquids and gases transported. Tank cars can be pressurized or non-pressurized, insulated or non-insulated, and designed for single or multiple commodities. Non-pressurized cars have various fittings on the top and may have fittings on the bottom. Some of the top fittings are covered by a protective housing. Pressurized cars have a pressure plate, with all fittings, and a cylindrical protective housing at the top. Loading and unloading are done through the protective housing.

Tank cars are specialized pieces of equipment. As an example, the interior of the car may be lined with a material, such as glass, or other specialized coatings to isolate the tank contents from the tank shell. Care is taken to ensure that tank contents are compatible with tank construction.

As a result of this specialization, tank cars have generally been "one-way" cars. Other cars, like boxcars, can easily be reloaded with other goods for the return trip. Combinations of the two types were attempted, such as boxcars with fluid tanks slung beneath the floors. While the car could certainly carry a load in both directions, the limited tank size made this unsuccessful.

A large percentage of tank cars are owned by companies serviced by railroads instead of the railroads themselves. This can be verified by examining the reporting marks on the cars. These marks invariably end in X, meaning that the owner is not a common carrier.

Within the rail industry, tank cars are grouped by their type and not by the cargo carried. Food-service tank cars may be lined with stainless steel, glass, or plastic. Tank cars carrying dangerous goods are generally made of different types of steel, depending on the intended cargo and operating pressure. They may also be lined with rubber or coated with specialized coatings for tank protection or product purity purpose. The tank heads are also stronger to prevent ruptures during accidents. The whale-belly type is giving way to higher-capacity (longer), yet standard-width, AAR Plate "C", cars.

All tank cars undergo periodic inspection for damage and corrosion. Pressure relief valves are inspected at every loading. Pressurized cars are pressure-tested regularly to ensure the integrity of the tank.

All tank cars operating throughout North America today feature AAR TypeE double shelf couplers that are designed to prevent disengaging in event of an accident or derailment. This reduces the chance of couplers puncturing adjacent tank cars. However, if cars are prevented from disengaging in a derailment, the torsional forces of a derailing car can be transferred to other cars, resulting in the derailment of the adjacent cars.[1][2]

Insulated cars (which may also incorporate heating or refrigeration systems) are used when the contents must be kept at a certain temperature. For example, the Linde tank car depicted below[which?] carries liquefied argon. Cars designed for mu

Tank cars are specialized pieces of equipment. As an example, the interior of the car may be lined with a material, such as glass, or other specialized coatings to isolate the tank contents from the tank shell. Care is taken to ensure that tank contents are compatible with tank construction.

As a result of this specialization, tank cars have generally been "one-way" cars. Other cars, like boxcars, can easily be reloaded with other goods for the return trip. Combinations of the two types were attempted, such as boxcars with fluid tanks slung beneath the floors. While the car could certainly carry a load in both directions, the limited tank size made this unsuccessful.

A large percentage of tank cars are owned by companies serviced by railroads instead of the railroads themselves. This can be verified by examining the reporting marks on the cars. These marks invariably end in X, meaning that the owner is not a common carrier.

Within the rail industry, tank cars are grouped by their type and not by the cargo carried. Food-service tank cars may be lined with stainless steel, glass, or plastic. Tank cars carrying dangerous goods are generally made of different types of steel, depending on the intended cargo and operating pressure. They may also be lined with rubber or coated with specialized coatings for tank protection or product purity purpose. The tank heads are also stronger to prevent ruptures during accidents. The whale-belly type is giving way to higher-capacity (longer), yet standard-width, AAR Plate "C", cars.

All tank cars undergo periodic inspection for damage and corrosion. Pressure relief valves are inspected at every loading. Pressurized cars are pressure-tested regularly to ensure the integrity of the tank.

All tank cars operating throughout North America today feature AAR TypeE double shelf couplers that are designed to prevent disengaging in event of an accident or derailment. This reduces the chance of couplers puncturing adjacent tank cars. However, if cars are prevented from disengaging in a derailment, the torsional forces of a derailing car can be transferred to other cars, resulting in the derailment of the adjacent cars.[1][2]

Insulated cars (which may also incorporate heating or refrigeration systems) are used when the contents must be kept at a certain temperature. For example, the Linde tank car depicted below[which?] carries liquefied argon. Cars designed for multiple commodities are constructed of two or more tanks (compartments). Each compartment must have separate fittings. The lower capacity and added complexity of multicompartment cars means that they make up a small percentage of the tank car inventory.

Outside of North America, tank cars are also known as tank wagons or tanker wagons. In the United Kingdom tank wagons were traditionally four-wheel vehicles. Some long-wheelbase four-wheelers are still in use but bogie vehicles are now used as well.

British tank wagons

Specialized applications

DOT-111