Friday, December 31, 2021


My development of the new industrial district at RR-East Eugene continued with Skillern Oil.  Skillern Oil was a family-owned fuel oil dealer in Eugene for many years.  It was suggested to me by one of my long-term regular operators who lives in Eugene.  Skillern supplied their home heating fuel oil.  Good enough for me—an historic connection.  


I have taken considerable liberties in my development of Skillern Oil as a bulk fuel and oil dealer.  A number of these were along the tracks between the depot and downtown area and the main yard complex for the SP.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s I recalled seeing these bulk plants on my way into downtown Eugene.  They are long gone, as oil product distribution has taken a different form using pipelines and trucks these days.  Those petroleum product dealers were still a function into the 1970s.  I chose to have my Skillern Oil stand in for the several bulk plant dealers.


My Skillern Oil draws from two principal sources.  The warehouse and office flat were built from Walthers “Clayton County Lumber” kit (933-2911).  Other than turning the office into a building flat to be mounted against my basement wall, these were easily built.  The oil tanks and future details were from a pair of Grandt Line kits (#5907) for “Midwest Petroleum Distributors.”  Unfortunately, these Grandt kits are long gone, with reports the mold for the tanks suffered significant damage long before the Grandts retired and sold their business.  Still, I stockpiled these kits long ago, knowing they were very typical of oil bulk plant tanks nationwide.  It was now time to use them!


Skillern Oil under development with the major pieces in place.


The Grandt Line tank kit comes with three tanks that can be built as either vertical or horizontal tanks.  I chose to model a cluster of four vertical tanks and one horizontal tank.  A quick study of bulk oil plants showed this as a fairly typical arrangement.  I did not have space for a second horizontal tank, so I now have one spare.  I built the Grandt Line tanks per the directions.  The kit tank platform and ladders are designed for a pair of horizontal tanks, so I needed to scratch-build my inspection platforms.  This was done simply with Evergreen styrene, my go-to structure material.  


Inspection platform access ladders and tank clusters.  The ladders either face the wall or the modest space between the horizontal tank and the warehouse, but I know they are there.


I need to complete several details, all provided in the Grandt Line kit: a pumphouse, a tank car unloading rack, and the fuel delivery rack for loading tank trucks.  I still am trying to run down what major oil company Skillern was associated with, but it is not unusual for the tanks to have no signage.  I know they were not affiliated with Chevron (Standard Oil of California) or Shell, so no city roof sign on the warehouse.  For now, I chalk up another industry rendered into three dimensions for this developing area of my railroad.


Skillern Oil in the RR-East Eugene industrial district.