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Gas Tanks

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  • Saul Kalbfeld
    I thought there were 2 tanks on Hill Street about 50 years ago. About 1955 or 1956 there was a fire at the Dye Oil Company on Hill Street. Either a fuel oil or
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 8, 2004
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      I thought there were 2 tanks on Hill Street about 50 years ago. About 1955 or 1956 there was a fire at the Dye Oil Company on Hill Street. Either a fuel oil or gasoline tank blew up with the result an enormous fire. The glow in the sky could be seen all over the city. People assumed one of those gas tanks had blown up. Those tanks may have held manufactured gas and not natural gas. I remember when they switched to natural gas in Gloversville, anyone who had a gas range had to have their burner tops modified. I don't know exactly what was done, maybe the orifaces were drilled out larger.
       
      Saul
    • paul larner
      I remember the night the Dye tank blew up. Sounded like a bomb. I recall it as were watching television, perhaps the Ed Sullivan Show, but really nothing
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 8, 2004
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        I remember the night the Dye tank blew up. Sounded like a bomb. I recall
        it as were watching television, perhaps the Ed Sullivan Show, but really
        nothing else of it, if even that is correct as that would place it on a
        Sunday evening between 8 and 9.

        Two other fires are all that stick out from my youth in town.. The fire when
        the rr tool houses burned behind the Peters Oil Company and when Burr Lumber
        company burned.

        Yes there was a second smaller tank south of the big one. When they were
        constructed, whether for manufactured gas or natural, I have no knowledge.
        In a photo of the old gas plant, they don't appear to be there however,
        there is a relativly smaller tank south of the round building - not as high
        or as as large a diameter but the same style .

        PKL


        >From: "Saul Kalbfeld" <fjgbus@...>
        >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
        >To: <FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com>
        >Subject: [FJGRailroad] Gas Tanks
        >Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 16:28:13 -0400
        >
        >I thought there were 2 tanks on Hill Street about 50 years ago. About 1955
        >or 1956 there was a fire at the Dye Oil Company on Hill Street. Either a
        >fuel oil or gasoline tank blew up with the result an enormous fire. The
        >glow in the sky could be seen all over the city. People assumed one of
        >those gas tanks had blown up. Those tanks may have held manufactured gas
        >and not natural gas. I remember when they switched to natural gas in
        >Gloversville, anyone who had a gas range had to have their burner tops
        >modified. I don't know exactly what was done, maybe the orifaces were
        >drilled out larger.
        >
        >Saul
      • Paul Charland
        Hi Paul, You wouldn t happen to have a shot of the building that received the coal at the gas plant would you? Paul :-)
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 8, 2004
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          Hi Paul,

          You wouldn't happen to have a shot of the building that received the
          coal at the gas plant would you?

          Paul :-)

          paul larner wrote:
          > I remember the night the Dye tank blew up. Sounded like a bomb. I recall
          > it as were watching television, perhaps the Ed Sullivan Show, but really
          > nothing else of it, if even that is correct as that would place it on a
          > Sunday evening between 8 and 9.
          >
          > Two other fires are all that stick out from my youth in town.. The fire when
          > the rr tool houses burned behind the Peters Oil Company and when Burr Lumber
          > company burned.
          >
          > Yes there was a second smaller tank south of the big one. When they were
          > constructed, whether for manufactured gas or natural, I have no knowledge.
          > In a photo of the old gas plant, they don't appear to be there however,
          > there is a relativly smaller tank south of the round building - not as high
          > or as as large a diameter but the same style .
          >
          > PKL
        • paul larner
          The coal building was merely a enclosed wooden shed over an elevated trestlework on the west side of the square brick building (the one with the clerestory and
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 8, 2004
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            The coal building was merely a enclosed wooden shed over an elevated
            trestlework on the west side of the square brick building (the one with the
            clerestory and circular window in the oeak over four north side windows).
            There is an embankment up which the railroad would need to push the cars for
            unloading. Am unable to provide a picture of this build quickly right now.

            PKL


            >From: Paul Charland <p.charlie@...>
            >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
            >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
            >Subject: Re: [FJGRailroad] Gas Tanks
            >Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 22:06:48 -0400
            >
            >Hi Paul,
            >
            >You wouldn't happen to have a shot of the building that received the
            >coal at the gas plant would you?
            >
            >Paul :-)
            >
            >paul larner wrote:
            > > I remember the night the Dye tank blew up. Sounded like a bomb. I
            >recall
            > > it as were watching television, perhaps the Ed Sullivan Show, but really
            > > nothing else of it, if even that is correct as that would place it on a
            > > Sunday evening between 8 and 9.
            > >
            > > Two other fires are all that stick out from my youth in town.. The fire
            >when
            > > the rr tool houses burned behind the Peters Oil Company and when Burr
            >Lumber
            > > company burned.
            > >
            > > Yes there was a second smaller tank south of the big one. When they
            >were
            > > constructed, whether for manufactured gas or natural, I have no
            >knowledge.
            > > In a photo of the old gas plant, they don't appear to be there however,
            > > there is a relativly smaller tank south of the round building - not as
            >high
            > > or as as large a diameter but the same style .
            > >
            > > PKL
            >
          • Gerald Snyder
            Paul, If they were receiving coal at the gas plant, they were manufacturing gas before natural gas was available. The storage tanks would therefore have
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 8, 2004
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              Paul,
              If they were receiving coal at the gas plant, they
              were manufacturing gas before natural gas was
              available. The storage tanks would therefore have
              originally been built to store the manufactured gas.
              I have several views of the Chuctanunda Gas Light
              Plant in Amsterdam if that would be of any help wrt
              the general layout of such a facility.
              Jerry





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            • Paul Charland
              Hi Paul, Thanks I see the building with the clerestory roof now, has the stack. No problem with photos now that I know what building we re talking about!
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 9, 2004
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                Hi Paul,

                Thanks I see the building with the clerestory roof now, has the stack.

                No problem with photos now that I know what building we're talking about!

                Thanks,

                Paul :-)

                paul larner wrote:

                > The coal building was merely a enclosed wooden shed over an elevated
                > trestlework on the west side of the square brick building (the one with the
                > clerestory and circular window in the oeak over four north side windows).
                > There is an embankment up which the railroad would need to push the cars for
                > unloading. Am unable to provide a picture of this build quickly right now.
                >
                > PKL
              • Paul Charland
                Hi Jerry, Problem solve, thanks for the offer though. Paul :-)
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 9, 2004
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                  Hi Jerry,

                  Problem solve, thanks for the offer though.

                  Paul :-)

                  Gerald Snyder wrote:

                  > Paul,
                  > If they were receiving coal at the gas plant, they
                  > were manufacturing gas before natural gas was
                  > available. The storage tanks would therefore have
                  > originally been built to store the manufactured gas.
                  > I have several views of the Chuctanunda Gas Light
                  > Plant in Amsterdam if that would be of any help wrt
                  > the general layout of such a facility.
                  > Jerry
                • paul larner
                  Gerry, What was the purpose of the round brick buildings I recall at the various manufactured gas facilities? They appear all the photos of the few gas plant
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 9, 2004
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                    Gerry,

                    What was the purpose of the round brick buildings I recall at the various
                    manufactured gas facilities? They appear all the photos of the few gas
                    plant I have seen.

                    The tanks in Gloversville were most probably as you say, just that those two
                    larger tanks are not shown in the photo of the gas plant, but do appear in
                    the days of using natural gas. Now I'll be looking to see if any of that
                    style are in use today with natural gas. A side bit for research now is
                    with that design, permitting the tank to rise and lower what mechanisms were
                    created to regulate a constant pressure?

                    PKL

                    >From: Gerald Snyder <handyman756@...>
                    >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                    >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                    >Subject: Re: [FJGRailroad] Gas Tanks
                    >Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 20:54:12 -0700 (PDT)
                    >
                    >Paul,
                    >If they were receiving coal at the gas plant, they
                    >were manufacturing gas before natural gas was
                    >available. The storage tanks would therefore have
                    >originally been built to store the manufactured gas.
                    >I have several views of the Chuctanunda Gas Light
                    >Plant in Amsterdam if that would be of any help wrt
                    >the general layout of such a facility.
                    >Jerry
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >__________________________________
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                  • paul larner
                    Most of that stuff was gone by the late fifties. NM built a new office building there and gradually the others became parking space. PKL
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 9, 2004
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                      Most of that stuff was gone by the late fifties. NM built a new office
                      building there and gradually the others became parking space.

                      PKL


                      >From: Paul Charland <p.charlie@...>
                      >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                      >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                      >Subject: Re: [FJGRailroad] Gas Tanks
                      >Date: Fri, 09 Jul 2004 07:49:22 -0400
                      >
                      >Hi Paul,
                      >
                      >Thanks I see the building with the clerestory roof now, has the stack.
                      >
                      >No problem with photos now that I know what building we're talking about!
                      >
                      >Thanks,
                      >
                      >Paul :-)
                      >
                      >paul larner wrote:
                      >
                      > > The coal building was merely a enclosed wooden shed over an elevated
                      > > trestlework on the west side of the square brick building (the one with
                      >the
                      > > clerestory and circular window in the oeak over four north side
                      >windows).
                      > > There is an embankment up which the railroad would need to push the cars
                      >for
                      > > unloading. Am unable to provide a picture of this build quickly right
                      >now.
                      > >
                      > > PKL
                      >
                      >
                    • Paul Charland
                      I think they pass that off as progress these days! Paul :-)
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jul 9, 2004
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                        I think they pass that off as progress these days!

                        Paul :-)

                        paul larner wrote:
                        > Most of that stuff was gone by the late fifties. NM built a new
                        > office building there and gradually the others became parking space.
                        >
                        > PKL
                      • Gerald Snyder
                        Paul, The large round brick buildings were the gas holder houses. The gas holders, or gasometers , were basically just the storage tanks for the gas being
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 30, 2004
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                          Paul,
                          The large round brick buildings were the gas holder
                          houses. The gas holders, or "gasometers", were
                          basically just the storage tanks for the gas being
                          produced by the plant. Inside the brick structure you
                          would have a large iron (later steel) multi- segment
                          tank. Each ring segment would telescope into the
                          next, allowing the tank to expand in volume as the gas
                          was pumped into it. Often these holder houses covered
                          a large pit with part of the gas holder itself located
                          below ground level. It was cheaper to dig a hole and
                          put the tank down in it than try to make a multi-story
                          brick enclosure. The holder house served to protect
                          the holder itself from the elements and support the
                          external tank structure (in warmer climates the house
                          might just be the tank structure and a roof, without
                          the heavy brick walls). The top segment of the tank
                          would be capped, forming a closed vessel. Between the
                          segments a hydraulic seal (water, oil, a light coal
                          tar) prevented leakage. The arrangement would be
                          analogous to an inverted soda glass placed in a larger
                          diameter upright glass partially filled with water.
                          The volume between the water surface and the inside of
                          the bottom of the inverted glass is the available
                          storage volume, and varies with the vertical position
                          of the glass. As long as the rim of the inverted
                          glass remains submerged in the water, the glass can be
                          raised and lowered and the seal is maintained. The
                          arrangement for tanks with more than two segments is a
                          little more complicated but follows the same basic
                          principles.

                          Improvements in structural materials, building
                          techniques, and the increasing demand for more gas to
                          support increasing populations and expanding
                          industries drove the development of the large exposed
                          gas holders with the familiar external guide rails and
                          support structure - kind of like a coffee can trapped
                          in an erector set. These tanks were a lot bigger than
                          the holders in the brick houses but functioned exactly
                          the same way, with the upper section moving up as gas
                          was pumped in and sliding down as gas was drawn off.

                          As far as gas pressure regulation was concerned, a key
                          concept of the expanding gas holder design was the
                          fact that it automatically provided self regulation of
                          the pressure by nature of the way it operated,
                          delivering a constant pressure to the distribution
                          system that you couldn't get with a fixed volume
                          storage tank. A gas plant would have a compressor
                          pumping the gas to the distribution and storage
                          system, just as a down-well pump provides water to a
                          home system. Obviously you want to have storage
                          capacity in case the demand exceeds the production at
                          any given time, so you need a tank. If it were a
                          fixed volume you would build up pressure in the tank
                          until you reached the limit of what the compressor
                          could deliver and that would be your maximum available
                          pressure. As you started to use the gas from the tank
                          the pressure would decrease until it reached whatever
                          pressure the compressor could deliver at the flow rate
                          being drawn off - assuming that the compressor hadn't
                          broken down or been taken down for maintenance. Either
                          way the delivered pressure would be less than when the
                          tank first started to empty, and if you're trying to
                          light, cook, and heat with the gas you'd like to have
                          a more stable supply pressure, and know that it isn't
                          going to drop off to the point where your pilot lights
                          go out. Now assume the compressor is feeding into an
                          expanding gas holder. As the pressure in the tank
                          increases, the force on the underside of the capped
                          top ring segment generates an increasing upward force,
                          counteracting the weight of the tank. Once the
                          pressure in the holder multiplied by the area it's
                          acting on equals the weight of the tank plus whatever
                          it needs to overcome the friction between the segments
                          and in the supporting guide rollers and rails, the
                          tank will begin to expand. As the upper section moves
                          up, the volume in the tank increases, and the pressure
                          falls off until the system is balanced again with the
                          tank in it's new expanded configuration. Add more gas
                          and the pressure begins to increase again, the holder
                          will expand again, increasing the volume, causing the
                          pressure to fall, and the system reaches equilibrium
                          again. Drawing gas from the holder reverses the
                          process. If the system is sized properly and
                          everything is working as it should, the actual
                          pressure changes as the tank changes volume will be
                          minimal and the gas pressure will be essentially
                          constant. No matter what the amount of gas in the
                          holder, the pressure will be the same, controlled by
                          the weight of the holder itself. (I imagine there may
                          have been some ability to tune this by including
                          ballast tanks in the holder design.) Early systems
                          were often low pressure operations where the pressure
                          of the holder was actually that provided to the
                          distribution system. Later higher pressure operations
                          (higher pressure = greater storage capacity for the
                          same holder size) used regulators to drop the pressure
                          being supplied to the system.

                          Large distribution systems would have had multiple gas
                          holders scattered around the system to overcome
                          pressure losses in the long runs to the outlaying
                          areas, so there may have been several of these "holder
                          stations" remote from the gas plant itself. With the
                          advent of major distribution pipelines and the
                          widespread availability of natural gas, local gas
                          manufacturing plants were no longer economical to
                          operate (and environmental concerns for their waste
                          products were starting to make them unwelcome
                          neighbors). Most of them became just holder stations
                          themselves, with the gas holders used in the same
                          fashion as before, but now for natural gas rather than
                          the locally manufactured variety. A lot (most?) of
                          the old external structure gas holders have
                          disappeared in favor of newer storage methods/tank
                          designs or been rendered obsolete by better major
                          distribution pipelines and systems which minimize the
                          need for local storage capacity.
                          Jerry
                          --- paul larner <pklarner@...> wrote:

                          > Gerry,
                          >
                          > What was the purpose of the round brick buildings I
                          > recall at the various
                          > manufactured gas facilities? They appear all the
                          > photos of the few gas
                          > plant I have seen.
                          >
                          > The tanks in Gloversville were most probably as you
                          > say, just that those two
                          > larger tanks are not shown in the photo of the gas
                          > plant, but do appear in
                          > the days of using natural gas. Now I'll be looking
                          > to see if any of that
                          > style are in use today with natural gas. A side bit
                          > for research now is
                          > with that design, permitting the tank to rise and
                          > lower what mechanisms were
                          > created to regulate a constant pressure?
                          >
                          > PKL
                          >
                          >



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                        • paul larner
                          Jerry, Thanks, you explanation is very thorough. I didn t realize there were metal expansion tanks inside the brick buildings. I had always believed they
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 31, 2004
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                            Jerry,

                            Thanks, you explanation is very thorough. I didn't realize there were metal
                            expansion tanks inside the brick buildings. I had always believed they were
                            for storage but had never sought to know more until now.

                            You provided me plenty of stimulation to ponder the improvement of urban and
                            rural lifestyles over the past century. Thinking of all the discoveries
                            man's intellect has revealed and imagine what the next generation can
                            provide, if permitted. Spread your money on the starting lines.

                            Thanks Jerry.

                            PKL



                            >From: Gerald Snyder <handyman756@...>
                            >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                            >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
                            >Subject: [FJGRailroad] Re: Gas Tanks
                            >Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 23:55:11 -0700 (PDT)
                            >
                            >Paul,
                            >The large round brick buildings were the gas holder
                            >houses. The gas holders, or "gasometers", were
                            >basically just the storage tanks for the gas being
                            >produced by the plant. Inside the brick structure you
                            >would have a large iron (later steel) multi- segment
                            >tank. Each ring segment would telescope into the
                            >next, allowing the tank to expand in volume as the gas
                            >was pumped into it. Often these holder houses covered
                            >a large pit with part of the gas holder itself located
                            >below ground level. It was cheaper to dig a hole and
                            >put the tank down in it than try to make a multi-story
                            >brick enclosure. The holder house served to protect
                            >the holder itself from the elements and support the
                            >external tank structure (in warmer climates the house
                            >might just be the tank structure and a roof, without
                            >the heavy brick walls). The top segment of the tank
                            >would be capped, forming a closed vessel. Between the
                            >segments a hydraulic seal (water, oil, a light coal
                            >tar) prevented leakage. The arrangement would be
                            >analogous to an inverted soda glass placed in a larger
                            >diameter upright glass partially filled with water.
                            >The volume between the water surface and the inside of
                            >the bottom of the inverted glass is the available
                            >storage volume, and varies with the vertical position
                            >of the glass. As long as the rim of the inverted
                            >glass remains submerged in the water, the glass can be
                            >raised and lowered and the seal is maintained. The
                            >arrangement for tanks with more than two segments is a
                            >little more complicated but follows the same basic
                            >principles.
                            >
                            >Improvements in structural materials, building
                            >techniques, and the increasing demand for more gas to
                            >support increasing populations and expanding
                            >industries drove the development of the large exposed
                            >gas holders with the familiar external guide rails and
                            >support structure - kind of like a coffee can trapped
                            >in an erector set. These tanks were a lot bigger than
                            >the holders in the brick houses but functioned exactly
                            >the same way, with the upper section moving up as gas
                            >was pumped in and sliding down as gas was drawn off.
                            >
                            >As far as gas pressure regulation was concerned, a key
                            >concept of the expanding gas holder design was the
                            >fact that it automatically provided self regulation of
                            >the pressure by nature of the way it operated,
                            >delivering a constant pressure to the distribution
                            >system that you couldn't get with a fixed volume
                            >storage tank. A gas plant would have a compressor
                            >pumping the gas to the distribution and storage
                            >system, just as a down-well pump provides water to a
                            >home system. Obviously you want to have storage
                            >capacity in case the demand exceeds the production at
                            >any given time, so you need a tank. If it were a
                            >fixed volume you would build up pressure in the tank
                            >until you reached the limit of what the compressor
                            >could deliver and that would be your maximum available
                            >pressure. As you started to use the gas from the tank
                            >the pressure would decrease until it reached whatever
                            >pressure the compressor could deliver at the flow rate
                            >being drawn off - assuming that the compressor hadn't
                            >broken down or been taken down for maintenance. Either
                            >way the delivered pressure would be less than when the
                            >tank first started to empty, and if you're trying to
                            >light, cook, and heat with the gas you'd like to have
                            >a more stable supply pressure, and know that it isn't
                            >going to drop off to the point where your pilot lights
                            >go out. Now assume the compressor is feeding into an
                            >expanding gas holder. As the pressure in the tank
                            >increases, the force on the underside of the capped
                            >top ring segment generates an increasing upward force,
                            >counteracting the weight of the tank. Once the
                            >pressure in the holder multiplied by the area it's
                            >acting on equals the weight of the tank plus whatever
                            >it needs to overcome the friction between the segments
                            >and in the supporting guide rollers and rails, the
                            >tank will begin to expand. As the upper section moves
                            >up, the volume in the tank increases, and the pressure
                            >falls off until the system is balanced again with the
                            >tank in it's new expanded configuration. Add more gas
                            >and the pressure begins to increase again, the holder
                            >will expand again, increasing the volume, causing the
                            >pressure to fall, and the system reaches equilibrium
                            >again. Drawing gas from the holder reverses the
                            >process. If the system is sized properly and
                            >everything is working as it should, the actual
                            >pressure changes as the tank changes volume will be
                            >minimal and the gas pressure will be essentially
                            >constant. No matter what the amount of gas in the
                            >holder, the pressure will be the same, controlled by
                            >the weight of the holder itself. (I imagine there may
                            >have been some ability to tune this by including
                            >ballast tanks in the holder design.) Early systems
                            >were often low pressure operations where the pressure
                            >of the holder was actually that provided to the
                            >distribution system. Later higher pressure operations
                            >(higher pressure = greater storage capacity for the
                            >same holder size) used regulators to drop the pressure
                            >being supplied to the system.
                            >
                            >Large distribution systems would have had multiple gas
                            >holders scattered around the system to overcome
                            >pressure losses in the long runs to the outlaying
                            >areas, so there may have been several of these "holder
                            >stations" remote from the gas plant itself. With the
                            >advent of major distribution pipelines and the
                            >widespread availability of natural gas, local gas
                            >manufacturing plants were no longer economical to
                            >operate (and environmental concerns for their waste
                            >products were starting to make them unwelcome
                            >neighbors). Most of them became just holder stations
                            >themselves, with the gas holders used in the same
                            >fashion as before, but now for natural gas rather than
                            >the locally manufactured variety. A lot (most?) of
                            >the old external structure gas holders have
                            >disappeared in favor of newer storage methods/tank
                            >designs or been rendered obsolete by better major
                            >distribution pipelines and systems which minimize the
                            >need for local storage capacity.
                            >Jerry
                            > --- paul larner <pklarner@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > > Gerry,
                            > >
                            > > What was the purpose of the round brick buildings I
                            > > recall at the various
                            > > manufactured gas facilities? They appear all the
                            > > photos of the few gas
                            > > plant I have seen.
                            > >
                            > > The tanks in Gloversville were most probably as you
                            > > say, just that those two
                            > > larger tanks are not shown in the photo of the gas
                            > > plant, but do appear in
                            > > the days of using natural gas. Now I'll be looking
                            > > to see if any of that
                            > > style are in use today with natural gas. A side bit
                            > > for research now is
                            > > with that design, permitting the tank to rise and
                            > > lower what mechanisms were
                            > > created to regulate a constant pressure?
                            > >
                            > > PKL
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
                            >
                            >
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                          • Gerald Snyder
                            FYI, An enjoyable site I came across in my travels through cyberspace. Lots of interesting railroad related articles and photos. Particularly liked the
                            Message 13 of 13 , Aug 2, 2004
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                              FYI,
                              An enjoyable site I came across in my travels through
                              cyberspace. Lots of interesting railroad related
                              articles and photos. Particularly liked the oddities
                              section. Goes to prove that just because you can
                              build something it doesn't always mean you should.
                              http://catskillarchive.com/rrextra/
                              Jerry



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