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Making Fuel Tanks For A Model Train Layout

Garry W, a member of the Online Model Train Club from Caboolture near Brisbane in Australia, snapped this photo at a local model railway exhibition. Garry queried how these fuel tanks were made. He thought they looked scratch built from recycled plastic containers, and would like to hear what others think. Gary pointed out, “They certainly add interest set alongside the track, but I did wonder if they were too close to moving (potentially derailing) trains?”

fuel tanks on model railway

If you have any thoughts on making fuel tanks or have a photo to share, just submit your contribution using the COMMENTS link under this posting. You will also be able to see what others sent in.

11 Responses to Making Fuel Tanks For A Model Train Layout

  • Alan Sandsrulesays:

    Plastruct sells all of the tubes, endcaps and anything else you would need.

    Perth WA

  • SteveBsays:

    The large tank is definitely the bottom of a soda or beer aluminum can. Probably pound flat from the inside. Not sure what the smaller ones are made from, but it appears that they are sections of something glued together. In real life the tanks are probably too close to mainline tracks. Generally they would be set back from a siding and pipes for loading or loading from the, set back, tanks

    • Melton Gregorysays:

      You are probably right about the use of the aluminum can bottom, but it looks like the indention has been filled with an epoxy or something, NOT hammered flat.

      For safety sake the tanks WOULD be located farther from the tracks and the fuel piped in to the fueling location.

  • MONTY MOYsays:

    To Alan in Perth W A
    Thanks for letting us know about PLASTRUCT what a great place to obtain model making stuff for model makers like us thats what makes sites like this so helpful

    Monty Armadale WAMonty

  • Gregory Douglas Rapiersays:

    The larger tank is not anything like a fuel tank. These larger tanks have a top that floats on top of the fuel and as the fuel go’s lower the top drops deeper into the tank. They do it that way to keep the fumes contained to a small area in the tank as it is the fumes that are explosive.The other tanks look pretty good.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    I made fuel tanks from Plastic pipe cut to size and then added cardboard tops to form a low cone then painted them to hide the plastic and placed them about 4 inches from the track and had pipes made from plastic round bits out of other kits and had these run to the refuelling site.


    The large can appears to be a coffee can ribbed on the bottom to give it strength.the others could be potatoe chip cans like pringles

  • Robert J. Stalcupsays:

    I have made fuel tanks using different sized cardboard tubes from paper products. Painting, using different colors, allows one to be as creative as one wants to be. I do HO and my tanks are about 2 -3 inches from the tracks. This is an inexpensive way to build fuel tanks and water towers.

  • Kasek Andrássays:

    Hi, Garry!
    It’s a beautiful job! Thank you for showing me! With my grandchildren, we just started a 1:120 TT table, maybe I can use your idea. Yours, Andras

    • Kasek Andrássays:

      The essence of my previous post disappeared in the ether … 🙂
      I think:
      – The standing container is a top of a paint/deodorant spray bottle;
      – the beds are two tanks of the extracted wagons.
      The base is a panel of wood, which is equipped with stairs, pipe imitation, and the walkway of the tanks is also mounted on its tanks. The paint would cover everything, paintings and stickers could have been on the beds, the stallion had to be “just” painted and stickered. Sticker available in model shops (online).

  • Paulsays:

    Nice to have the comments on how close to the tracks, etc. I think it is great that the creator did such scratch building the components. Realism is great, but some take sooo far as to ruin the hobby, personal example, in an older layout a few folks drifted in, all they did was criticize everything, ” the dirt is the wrong color, no one would ever build a retaining wall like that, your overhead power lines are too tight “.. Ya know what, heck with them, as I am starting a new layout, and with the cost of buildings etc, have already started construction using cardboard and anything else I can find.
    Do not get me wrong, do appreciate great input as is found on this website, but for you hardcore modelers, have at it. Most of the fun I have is ” DIY ” or doing it yourself.

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