RAIX 4300-4319
RAIX 4300-4319
R E V I S E D   2 5   J U L Y   2 0 1 3

RAIX 4304 • Andy Tucker • NS • Purvis, MS • 15 June 2004

These cars were originally black and then repainted blue, so this white car was quite unusual.  RAIX 4304 was en route from Seadrift, TX to Decatur, AL via the BNSF and Norfolk Southern.  This was one of three regular routes for these cars in their later years and, as it turned out, the 4304 was the very last RailWhale delivered to Decatur, arriving there on 7 August 2006.  It got back to Seadrift on the 25th and was interchanged with the East Camden & Highland for storage on 22 September.


  • General American Transportation Corp., September-November 1970
  • 131,000 pounds Light Weight
  • 395,000 pounds Load Limit
  • 526,000 pounds Gross Weight
  • 43,500 gallons

  • 92-06 Outside Length
  • 15-01 Outside Extreme Height
  • 10-08 Outside Extreme Width

  • AAR Code T109 (welded steel tank)
  • Specification No. : ICC 111-A-100-W-1
  • Plate C (see text)

  • Built for United States Leasing International, Inc.for lease to Union Carbide
  • Used for Vinyl Chloride and Glycol service
  • Listed in Official Railway Equipment Register : APR 1970-2011

    When the last of these cars rollled out of General American's plant at Sharon, PA in November 1970, the brief era of RailWhale construction was over.  As of 1 December Federal regulations prohibited the building of tank cars this big and heavy.  Not only were these the last RailWhales built, they were the last 8-axle variety in active mainline service.  They were originally owned by United States Leasing International, Inc., a subsidiary of Union Carbide, and the RAIX reporting mark was transferred to Union Carbide in 1981. 

    Although these cars were always lettered "Plate C" they were consistently – and incorrectly – shown as Plate B cars in the ORER.  Their gallonage was about 5,000 less than ESMX 4800-4833 and 4,000 less than CELX 7500-7502; but it was comparable to GCX 741600-741646, ACFX 17779-17790, ACFX 18948-18952, and DUPX 29700-29769.  It was also comparable to DUPX 29600-29666, which were 6-axle cars!

     20  •  Apr 70-Apr 89     
     19  •  Jul 89-Apr 01    
     18  •  Jul 01    
     17  •  Oct 01-Oct 03     
     16  •  Jan 04-Oct 06    
     15  •  Jan 07-Jul 07    
     6  •  Oct 07-Oct 08    
     5  •  Jan 09-?    
     4  •  ?-Jan 11-?     
    These cars displayed remarkable longevity.  The series was intact for almost 20 years, until one car diappeared in the JUL 1989 ORER; and the remaining 19 cars all survived into the 21st century.  Three additional cars were deleted in JUL 2001, OCT 2001 and JAN 2004.  Photographs show that these cars got around quite a bit, compared to many other RailWhales; but during their final years of operation, the last 16 cars typically operated over just three routes.  The same cars stayed on each route, although cars ocaisionally went to some unusual destination, and the number of cars in use varied.

    Ten cars were based at Seadrift, TX for service to Decatur, AL via the BNSF-New Orleans-NS, five cars were based in the Chicago area and went to Montreal, PQ via the NS-Chicago-CN, and a single car – the 4317 – transported something from Prentiss, AB to Montreal.  This car could spend up to six months at a time in Alberta; however, it did make a brief visit to East Hazelcrest in mid-2004. 

    The beginning of the end for the Seadrift-based cars began when the 4314 was bad-ordered on the BNSF at Temple, TX on 3 November 2005, after an unusual trip from Decatur to Sunray, TX via Memphis.  The car returned to Seadrift on 2 December and went into storage on the East Camden & Highland on 2 January 2006.   The EACH is an Arkansas short line which specializes in storing cars in an industrial park at the former Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot. 

    When RAIX 4304 (illustrated at the top of this page) arrived in Decatur on 7 August 2006, it marked the end of RailWhale operation on the Seadrift-Decatur route.  In mid-September, the 4304 and the other eight Seadrift cars were delivered to the EACH.  Later that month the 4314, which had gone to the EACH in January, moved to Houston, and its last location was South Yard on 11 October.  The number of cars listed in the ORER decreased from 15 to six in the OCT 2007 issue, just as the “Canadian car” (4317) was being delivered to the EACH.  I have no additional information on these 10 cars after they went to the EACH, but they were not sent to a shop for cleaning before they went into storage.  Their trace query status was changed from NO DATA to INVALID EQUIPMENT in December 2008.

    The five Chcago-based cars lasted another two years, until their 40th birthday.  The last loads were moved to Montreal by the 4306 and 4313 in late August 2010.  After a few weeks in Canada, the cars headed south and went almost directly to VLS Recovery Services at Hockley, TX to be prepared for scrapping.  Along the way, they were joined by the 4808, which had been at in Chicago.

    As these three cars were heading for Texas, the 4302 and 4318 left Chicago for Charleston, WV via CSX.  Both of the cars wandered around the southeast for over a month, but the 4302 ended up at a shop in Fitzgerald, GA and its final record was at Birmingham on 25 October.  The 4318 eventually joined its siblings at VLS in Hockley, and these four cars arrived in Waskom, TX between 25 October and 8 November 2010.  Waskom is on the UP (former T&P) just east of Shreveport, and the railcar scrap yard there is currently operated by Progress Rail.

    RAIX 4302 (blue) David Graham CN - Paris, ON - 25 Feb 2006
    RAIX 4303 (black) Brian Ehni Houston, TX - Jul 1977
    RAIX 4304 (white) Andy Tucker NS - Purvis, MS - 15 Jun 2004
    RAIX 4305 (black) Alton Lanier MP - Memphis, TN - 4 Apr 1976
    RAIX 4306 (blue) David Graham CN - Scotch Block, ON - 16 Sep 2006
    RAIX 4308 (black) Alton Lanier MP - North Little Rock, AR - 4 Jun 1982
    RAIX 4308 (blue) David Graham CN - Mansewood, ON - 22 Nov 2006
    RAIX 4310 (blue) Steve Young Angleton, TX - 23 July 1998
    RAIX 4312 (black) Alton Lanier MP - Memphis, TN - 23 Aug 1982
    RAIX 4312 (black) John Eagan MP - Salem, IL - 26 Apr 1984
    RAIX 4313 (blue) David Graham CN - Ingersol, ON - 24 Jan 2004
    RAIX 4314 (black) Brian Ehni MP - Houston, TX - September 1977
    RAIX 4314 (black) Alton Lanier MP - Memphis, TN - 17 Dec 1982
    RAIX 4319 (blue) Lee A. Gautreaux BNSF - Schriever, LA
    RAIX 4319 (blue) Lee A. Gautreaux BNSF - Donner, LA

  • CGP-33 © 2003-2013 Michael M. Palmieri