Of great interest to me was the usage of the first tank car on the line. Throughout the data collected from July through November of 1908, there was only one transaction pertaining to the car being used to move freight (kerosene) and that was in September. The freight charged in the ledger was $2.00.

Since a number was recorded in the “freight” column of the ledger, it was unclear as to whether or not this was the B&SR portion only, meaning the fuel was prepaid prior to delivery and the tank could have been of any volume or the $2.00 was the fuel and delivery charges. A bit of research was in order.

The fuel was sold at 2.43 cents per pound in 1908 (Ref: Gas and Oil Power, Vol. 3, Pg 267; July 15 1908). If the $2.00 was the cost of the kerosene, this would equate to 82 lb of fuel, in turn equating to less than 10 gallons—far less than tank car #21’s capacity of 3,000 gallons—and an amount which could have been delivered in a barrel.

This was unlikely to have been the case, therefore I looked at the $2.00 freight charge being for delivery, with the fuel having been prepaid. So, what were similar freight weights for a similar fee? The charges in the records vary, based upon its origin and preceding carriers. On the same sheet, a 841 lb LCL cost $1.50 to deliver, however a 3,030 lb LCL cost the receiver $3.09.

Oil Transfer

If we look at the data for loads specifically originating in Portland, destined for Bridgton, a 1,320 lb load in August was assessed $1.99. Using the density of kerosene, the 1,320 pounds equates to only 158 gallons.

Likely this literally was only a charge to transfer the fuel from the Standard gauge car, by gravity, to the two foot tank car and the freight associated with moving the car was recorded on a way bill elsewhere. As I did not find a similar “transfer” charge at Bridgton, maybe the employees of the tank farm were responsible for transferring the fuel from the car to the storage tanks on their own.

Unfortunately, the data I have is not fully detailed, so the mystery of how much was delivered in the five month period will persist. Some time later I’ll find data or just choose whether or not the tank car ran with one or more full loads or if they ran a partial (LCL) and how the B&SR made money delivering the fuel.