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Unloading of N2, SO2, and CO2 tanks for food industry.


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I was looking for an excuse to run chemical gas tanks occasionally into my model goods yard - sulphur dioxide, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide - to be unloaded into road tankers in conjunction with a food-preservation and packing factory.  Does anyone know how these chemicals are handled in food plants?  I assume they were stored in tanks like fuel oil on site until used.  Are they only for 'Immingham'-sized chemical plants, or do/did more rural food factories use pressurised gases for processing local produce?  Any thoughts if you have the time gratefully received.  Many thanks.

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9 minutes ago, C126 said:

I was looking for an excuse to run chemical gas tanks occasionally into my model goods yard - sulphur dioxide, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide - to be unloaded into road tankers in conjunction with a food-preservation and packing factory.  Does anyone know how these chemicals are handled in food plants?  I assume they were stored in tanks like fuel oil on site until used.  Are they only for 'Immingham'-sized chemical plants, or do/did more rural food factories use pressurised gases for processing local produce?  Any thoughts if you have the time gratefully received.  Many thanks.

Not sure for SO2; I can't think of any rail traffic in it. The other two were carried by rail into relatively recent times.

Nitrogen has two major uses. It's used in the frozen food industry, so might be seen at a frozen pea packers, or at least at a nearby siding. The other use is for 'purging' vessels of explosive or inflammable gases prior to welding or cutting. Bogie tanks were occasionally sent to Falmouth docks, for use in the holds of oil tankers, for example.

Carbon dioxide, a by-product of brewing and distilling, is mainly used in the production of soft drinks. A distillery at Menstrie, Fife, used to send tanks to depots at Coleshill and somewhere in north London. I don't know of any places where the tanks went direct to customers' premises.

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4 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

Not sure for SO2; I can't think of any rail traffic in it. The other two were carried by rail into relatively recent times.

Nitrogen has two major uses. It's used in the frozen food industry, so might be seen at a frozen pea packers, or at least at a nearby siding. The other use is for 'purging' vessels of explosive or inflammable gases prior to welding or cutting. Bogie tanks were occasionally sent to Falmouth docks, for use in the holds of oil tankers, for example.

Carbon dioxide, a by-product of brewing and distilling, is mainly used in the production of soft drinks. A distillery at Menstrie, Fife, used to send tanks to depots at Coleshill and somewhere in north London. I don't know of any places where the tanks went direct to customers' premises.

 

Thanks for this.  I saw "sulphur dioxide" on a food packet (I forget what) which got me thinking about the whole topic, and what could be delivered by rail to a more rural food industry.  Nitrogen would be useful to deliver to 'light industry' as well - I had not thought of this.  I believe it is used to fill packets of chilled foods, as an inert gas which retards the 'decay' of freshly picked produce (e.g., salads).

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5 minutes ago, C126 said:

 

Thanks for this.  I saw "sulphur dioxide" on a food packet (I forget what) which got me thinking about the whole topic, and what could be delivered by rail to a more rural food industry.  Nitrogen would be useful to deliver to 'light industry' as well - I had not thought of this.  I believe it is used to fill packets of chilled foods, as an inert gas which retards the 'decay' of freshly picked produce (e.g., salads).

SO2 is what keeps dried apricots yellow. Unfortunately, it is an irritant for throat and lungs; hence warnings of its presence on wine bottles etc. It's usually handled in the form of Sodium Meta-bisulphite (Camden Tablets), rather than as a gas. I once knocked a five-litre container of the solution over at a cellar in Sancerre- we couldn't re-enter for some time.

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2 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

SO2 is what keeps dried apricots yellow. Unfortunately, it is an irritant for throat and lungs; hence warnings of its presence on wine bottles etc. It's usually handled in the form of Sodium Meta-bisulphite (Camden Tablets), rather than as a gas. I once knocked a five-litre container of the solution over at a cellar in Sancerre- we couldn't re-enter for some time.

 

Ahhhh... that would account for both uses, as I readily consume both.  I have just thought of such gases being delivered in those 'bottles' (some rather too large to qualify for this noun!) direct by lorry as well, and then 'piped in' to the factory supply, which would rule out any rail usage.  Mind you, these gas bottles could arrive in OAAs, etc.  Many thanks again for your advice.

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6 minutes ago, Fat Controller said:

SO2 is what keeps dried apricots yellow. Unfortunately, it is an irritant for throat and lungs; hence warnings of its presence on wine bottles etc. It's usually handled in the form of Sodium Meta-bisulphite (Camden Tablets), rather than as a gas. I once knocked a five-litre container of the solution over at a cellar in Sancerre- we couldn't re-enter for some time.

A thought comes to mind: how about an off-scene timber processing plant? There was one at Hexham, on the opposite bank of the Tyne to the railway. The plant received resin in TEA and TTA tanks, mostly unbranded, at the high-spec handling facility (in reality, this comprised two plastic buckets for the two ends of the unloading hose, for when they weren't connecting tanker to rail wagon) There was also incoming timber for Egger's plant in OTAs, along with semi-finished chipboard inbound and finished chipboard outbound in 4-wheel and bogie ferry vans. The daily trip could be anything from a single tank, to 20 or more mixed wagons; it could get a bit busy...

 

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With regards to storage, the tanks would be raised off the ground and rounded at both ends, or spherical even, to hold the pressure. Modern ones have a load of pipe work for all the safety  systems; not sure if older systems would have.

 

I would be curious to know when liquid nitrogen was first being used industrially, I am guessing around 1980, but could be well out. Has it ever been transported by train in the UK? Nitrogen might have been transported compressed before that?

 

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Many thanks for all your contributions; I like Fat Controller's idea of a timber yard very much, as I have made a plank load for an OAA to use up the endless drinks stirrers one accumulates, and have many remaining.  It did not occur to me just what varied traffic in and out such a firm could generate, and I resent the banning of the smell of creosote: a happy memory from my childhood.  Any more info on food preservation gases gratefully received!  Best wishes to you all.

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