Southern Pacific Railroad Tank Car
DESIGN: CS25-A (unknown car number)
Railroad tank cars are designed to carry liquid freight.
This tank car was designed by the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Standard Steel Car Co. The car was built in 1903 by the Standard Steel Car Co. to a Common Standard design.
This car is unique among Southern Pacific Railroad-owned freight cars as it was the first “All Steel” type of car on the railroad. Although there are two pieces of wood on the car, the frame and all other parts of the car are steel.
This tank car is 40′ long, carries 12,500 gallons of liquid, and has a riveted tank. It also has a single dome which was used to hold the liquid contents when it expanded during hot weather.
This car was likely used all over the Southern Pacific Railroad system including the Coast Line of California.
The car was initially painted black and carried oil until it was painted Mineral Red and placed into the railroad’s Maintenance of Way (M.O.W.) service. This probably occurred in the early 1930s. During M.O.W. use, this car carried water to locations of track construction, track repair, or other types of work. Although the car has been slightly modified and has sustained some accident damage, it remains very much as it did when delivered new to the railroad.
After the car was retired from M.O.W. service, probably in the early 1960s, it was placed on a short panel of track at a location named Andesite Spur, about 14 miles north of Weed, CA. The railroad allowed the United States Forest Service to use the car as a water storage tank to fight fires in the Mt. Shasta area. The forest service painted the car green to match their fire-fighting equipment.
In December 2014, Phillips 66 Corp. donated funds to the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum to acquire, relocate, and restore the car. In April 2016, Union Pacific Railroad donated the car itself to the museum.
See photos taken July 29, 2016 as the car arrived at the SLO Railroad Museum – here.