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Farmers Cut Fuel Costs With Railroad Tank Car
"There were a lot of things that we had to consider before installing this 7,910 gal. railroad tank car for above-ground diesel fuel storage, but it's worked out great so far," says Roger Ose, a former partner with brothers Joe and LeRoy in Ose Farms, Thief River Falls, Minn.
Following a train accident near their farm 1.5 years ago, the brothers purchased the 30 ft. long, 8 ft. dia. tank car for $1,000. It had minimal damage to is 1/4 in. thick sides, which are virtually indestructable by rust or weather. For another $800, they hauled it to the farm, set it on concrete pillars and hooked up a pump and hoses.
Bulk purchasing of diesel fuel has cut their costs considerably, says Roger. "We shop around for the best price, getting at least a 10 cent/gal. discount for buying a 7,500 gal. semi-load at a time. In the first year of having the tank, we bought three loads of fuel and paid for the unit with the $2,000 savings."
Getting the tank car to the farm was no problem, says Roger. The railroad company, which had hauled the disabled tank car to a salvage yard in Thief River Falls, used a crane to load the car onto a truck which hauled it to the farm. There, the Ose Brothers used a big tractor and a chain to pull the tank car off the truck and onto the ground. Using a Caterpillar Payloader, they lifted the tank car and placed it on two custom-built pillars spread 20 ft. apart and measuring 2 ft. wide, 8 ft. long and 4 ft. high. "Built-in valves on the underside of the tank car required at least 2.5 ft. of clearance," Roger points out.
The tank car had been equipped with 80 ft. of interior steam pipes which were re-moved with a cutting torch. To remove fuel, the Ose Brothers installed a pump formerly used to pump liquid fertilizer and pesticides. It's powered by an electric motor. "With this big pump and hoses, and gravity feed, we can pump twice as fast as we could before with underground tanks," says Roger.
He notes that the tank car is "virtually maintenance free. And, because it's above ground, we can visually inspect it.
"There are a lot of railroad salvage yards with tank cars in good condition. Whenever a train accident has caused stress on the framing and wheel assemblies, there's a higher risk of future accidents so railroad companies sell the cars cheap to salvage yards," explains Roger.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Roger Ose, 6824 10th Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55423 (ph 612 861-6669).

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1988 - Volume #12, Issue #1