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Modeling a steel plant

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Modeling a steel plant
Posted by jammin.madrid on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 5:38 PM
I am planning on building an HO scale steel plant.  I heard that these plants require materials such as coke and some other material...  I think limestone if I am not mistaken.  And I understand that companies would bring in the coke and the other material via rail system.  My first question is what are the materials that the plant would need coke and what else?  The other is if I should model another scene for coke (and the other material) mining?  Or could I have a dock scene in which the materials are being brought in from "overseas" or down (up) the river?  Thanks for any help that you can give me.
No I am not from Spain. I live in the good ol US of A.
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Posted by tgindy on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 6:21 PM

Bernard Kempinski has at least three articles on steel mill construction by primarily using HO structures and adjusting them to run N Scale.  For example, use a Walthers HO Rolling Mill kit then kitbash with N Scale doors, ladders, and fixtures.  These articles & pictures, all in my MRR library, are second to none for Steel Mill rationale:

"Super Compact Steel Mill" -- Model Railroad Planning 1999

"Building A Steel Mill, Part 1" -- N Scale Magazine March/April 1998

"Building A Steel Mill, Part 2" -- N Scale Magazine May/June 1998

"Index Search" -- Bernard Kempinski articles.

Conemaugh Road & Traction circa 1956

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Posted by ratled on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:00 PM

Modelrail cast did a full show on these plants talking about the various aspects of steel plants and what it takes to model them.  I'm not into steel plants but found it vary interesting. You should contact them and see if you can download the show.  It was like show #60 and there was a follow up a couple of shows later

ratled

http://modelrailcast.com/

EDIT: Ryan sent the link to show #60 in this e mail.

ratled,
 
here are the links to show 60:
 
 
-=ryan
 
I think it was show #60 but not sure as the list only goes a few shows back.  It was a worthy listen for anyone doing a steel mill.  If it isn't show #60 I 'm sure Ryan can post the correct link... BTW that's a free download
ratled

Modeling the Klamath River area in HO on a proto-lanced sub of the SP “The State of Jefferson Line”

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Posted by EM-1 on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 10:59 PM

Our local steel mill, which at one time had 6 blast furnaces, a coke plant, and a bank of something like 14 open hearth furnaces, recieved materials and shipped product in a variety of ways.  The open hearths were replaced in the mid 1970s with a BPO (Basic Oxygen Process) shop for environmental (and produtivity).reasons.

Most raw ore, mostly Taconite, came in by Great Lakes ore boats, originally unloaded by a bank of 4 Hullets, which were eventually torn down as the fleets were converted to self unloaders.  A smaller portion came by rail in hoppers.

They recieved coal and other bulk goods, including the various metals used for alloys, and scrap steel, by rail in hopers and gondolas.  Occasionally some materials and other goods came in boxes and peridic tank cars.  Also, some goods came in by truck.  The plant also recieves material for it's own on-site water treatment plant.

Coal was conerted to coke in the coke ovens.  Sometimes the local plant would ship out coke to other plants, sometimes they would have coke shipped in from other plants.  Eventually the coke plant was shut down and torn down.  Didn't meet EPA standards, and was too old to economically update.

The slag from the process was dumped on plant grounds by slag ladle cars similar to the State and Walthers.  A very impressive sight at night.  Also apparently rather dangerous.

The cooled slag was broken up in rock crushers and shippped out either in hoppers or trucks as building materials (Gravel).

Finished product, cast iron and steel products, seemed and seemless tubing, bars, rods, coils, pigs, ingots, etc., went out in gondolas, flats, coil cars, whatever was neded, including road truck.  Sometimes molten iron and steel was shipped out (or even in) in the "Torpedo" insulated ladle cars. as model by State tool and Die, Walthers, and Plastistruct.

Some years ago, somebody screwed up royal with sheduling the movement of a loaded Torpedo car in plant.  The load "froze" in the car.  The car was spotted near a fence on the edge of the plant for over two weeks till the load had cooled enough to work on.  Then some crews were working on it 24/7 with oxygen lances for another month to burn the metal out of it.

This plant is highly dependent on rail.  In fact, it is serviced from one side by the Chessie (formerly B&
O) and the Norfolk Southern on the other, with it's own internal rail system interchanging with both.  The current roster shows 12 diesels, from 900 to 1500 hp,mostly EMD, but also one or two Alcos, and a Lima.  I think up till about 10-15 years ago, they even had a Whitcomb 65 ton.  Most of the locos have been converted for R/C operation.There are also quite a few in-plant specialty cars.

A steel plant could form a fairly complete very active railroad layout in it's own right.

 

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Posted by HHPATH56 on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:13 PM
At present, I am in the process of completing my ,(much compressed),HO scale Ashland Iron & Steel complex, which includes a limestone quarry, a coal mine, an iron mine, the Coke and Gas Retort complex, (with bridge crane), an 18 chute ore loader, (loading a "scratch built" ore boat), a separate harbor with 3ft Walthers' ore boat, being unloaded by two Hulett unloaders, (unloading into 24 ore cars, the Blast Furnace, (with slag pit and associated, scrap iron piles), Blower Engine House, bottle cars and slag cars, a Rolling Mill, and 10 tracks bringing in raw material and removing finished products (on appropriate railroad cars) Most of the structure kits and railroad cars were from Walthers, (at a total cost of over $1,200, accumulated over a period of three years). This gives you some idea of the time required and expense entailed in this project. The unloading harbor and Ashland Iron & Steel complex occupy a 3ft.x 6ft. space. not counting the rail and multi-switch complex. The Coke Retort complex occupies a 2ft.x3ft area. The limestone quarry and mines occupy about 3 sq.ft. I am lucky enough to have a 24'x24' garage loft (with an inside stairway). So, space is no problem. As someone else suggested, "One could have background pictures of most of the structures, with just the corners of 3-D structures next to the rather vast rail network". Good luck with your project. Bob Hahn The Post above mine shows what the Walthers Ashland Iron & Steel complex looks like. Be sure to view all of the "Peachcreek Shops" link There are many additional excellent references to Steel Mills on this link. Be sure to watch the video on the dumping of slag from the slag cars.Another black light will make this slag glow. This shop,also, offers Steel Mill related HO items that are at discount prices. My photo shows the "footprint" of the two Hulett unloaders and the ends of the Blast Furnace and Rolling Mill. The second photo shows the limestone quarry. The third photo shows the "slag pit" trench, which is close to the place where the "fluorescent ribbon" slag comes from the Blast Furnace. The photo,also, shows a corner of a barge which carries 9 iron ore cars from the "up river" mine. I just received my "six inch black light flashlight", (from "Pro-Audio-Video.com), to cause the yellow-orange fluorescent painted ribbon to glow, as it is pulled by a mono-filament thread, down the troughs, to the waiting hatches of the bottle cars and slag cars. The black light tube will be mounted inside the roof covering the molten iron troughs of the Blast Furnace. Another black light tube will cause the dumping slag to glow. Both the slag cars and Bottle cars can be modified so that the molten iron "fluorescent ribbon" and "Silly Putty" half shell slag car liner, will glow, and dump. The manual three-way motion of the Hulett unloaders, ( is operated by pulley loops of monofilament thread). The last photo shows a disassembled "bottle car". With a little cutting and the addition of axles, the bottle car and slag cars can be made to "tilt" Nuff said, to give you some idea of how to animate and "visualate", your Steel Mill. .This has been a 3-year process, so, take it slow and easy to mix and match projects.
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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:16 PM

 An adventurous undertaking if I do say so. You had better have lots of room if you plan on having everything a steel mill requires.I know to model the walthers Ore dock allone it takes up approx. 8' in length. I sold my kit to a guy from around here who was putting 4 kits together wanna talk crazy?

You may want to look up anything written by Dean Frytag as he is the god of steel mill model railroading.Also Peach creek shops is an excellent source for all things steel mills and sources of information. Here are a couple of pics taken of their awesome steel mill module at the Timonium train show in 08 the pictures don't do it justice.

Good luck I hope you build it and post lots of pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.peachcreekshops.com/
Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by ndbprr on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:31 PM

First of all it is a steel "Mill" not a steel plant.  Coke is only needed in a fully integrated steel mill that processes iron ore into iron in a blast furnace.  Steel is made by purifying the iron into steel by removing impurities in the iron. You will need to do a lot of searching through the posts regarding steel mills where most of your questions and a scope of the size needed will be answered.  For instance the average hot strip mill is 3/4 of a mile long.  That makes it about 50' long in HO.  That's a little big for most of us.

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Posted by EM-1 on Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:30 AM

Building a model of a steel mill is definitely an excersize in selective compression.  Especially if the model is serviced by a modern self-unloading ore boat.  The ones docking at our mill are around 960' long, with one that visits occasionally listed as 1150'.  In HO, these boats run from over 11' to over 13'.  Even  an older boat without self unloading capacity, say in the 1950s to 1960s, would be around 690', or almost 8 real feet in HO.  An uncle of mine started sailing the Lakes on one of the last whalebacks, about 540', or almost 6 real feet in HO.  That was sometime around WW1.

When our mill was at it's operational peak, to keep 6 blast furnaces and either the bank of open hearths or the newer BOP shop operational, the mill dock recieved as many as 3 boats a week, plus one or two ore boats were unloded at the port at the river mouth into hoppers for transport to the mill.  Often there would be as many as 2 100+ cars of West Virginia and Pennsylvania coal per day delivered by B&O Yellowstones, and later by Shark Nose diesels, and later Geeps.  I'm not sure what came in from the currently  NS yards on the East side of the plant, but now a lot of product goes out through their ROW.  Regretably, the 2 blast furnaces and the BOP shop are on caretaker status, and only some of the rolling mills and specialty arc furnaces are operating with steel brought in from other corporation mills.

The mill in my home town, normally a full-service integrated mill, occupies an area almost 1 mile from the river to East 28th street, and over 2 miles along the street frontage.  I can't think of anybody able to build a layout 60' X 120' or so just for a single industry.

But, with selective compression, I have seen some very impressive photos of model mills in MUCH more reasonable area, even in HO.

Interestinlgy, around here, lots of people, even company management refers to the facility as the plant, the mill, or by one of the current or former company names, like National Tube.  No uniformity.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, October 22, 2009 12:54 AM

ndbprr

First of all it is a steel "Mill" not a steel plant.  Coke is only needed in a fully integrated steel mill that processes iron ore into iron in a blast furnace.  Steel is made by purifying the iron into steel by removing impurities in the iron. You will need to do a lot of searching through the posts regarding steel mills where most of your questions and a scope of the size needed will be answered.  For instance the average hot strip mill is 3/4 of a mile long.  That makes it about 50' long in HO.  That's a little big for most of us.

 

Around here, the individual buildings housing a particular operation are called "mills", such as a bloom mill, slabbing mill, plate mill, tin mill, etc., etc.  The over-all operation, encompassing all of the mills plus the coke oven batteries, blast furnaces, open hearths, BOFs, casters, and all support facilities is called the "plant".

Steel is made by the controlled removal of carbon from the iron, and by the addition of various alloying elements, depending on the type of steel desired.

Here is some general info and a few photographs STELCO

Wayne

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Posted by jammin.madrid on Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:04 AM

Quick question, you may not know but I am going to ask anyways.  That structure in the foregroud of the third picture...  Next to what I want to call the blast furnace...  What is that round structure.

No I am not from Spain. I live in the good ol US of A.
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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:05 AM

Hi from Belgium,

This steel plant is in Nscale but it's an amazing miniature of the Betlehem steel plant.

www.zahkunst.net/mainpage.htm

Marc

 

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, October 22, 2009 7:57 AM

You don't need all the sources for all the raw materials on the same layout (coal mine, quarry, iron ore pit, etc), that's what staging is for.

You also can bring in all of the materials in by rail, you don't have to have a barge operation.  There were hundreds of inlad mills that were all rail served (Bethlehem, Coatesville, Reading, Conshohocken, Birsdsoro, Phoenixville, just to name a few in SE Pennsylvania).

If you are modeling a modern mill, with electric furnaces, you won't get coke because the majority of the raw material will be scrap metal.

Dave H. Modeling the P&R and W&N 1900-1905, Iron men and wooden cars

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Posted by rclanger on Thursday, October 22, 2009 8:31 PM

This might help.  The information is from NMRA's Operations or Industry SIG.  I made it easier to access.


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Posted by CSX_road_slug on Saturday, October 24, 2009 8:38 PM

jammin.madrid
.  That structure in the foregroud of the third picture...  Next to what I want to call the blast furnace...  What is that round structure.

 

You mean that thing that's shaped like an above-ground swimming pool with a walkway over it?  That's known as a "Dorr thickener", i.e., a settling tank for the ultra-fine particles of dust washed out of the BF's exhaust gases.  I think the guy who invented the concept was named Dorr.

-Ken in Maryland  (B&O modeler, former CSX modeler)

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Posted by AlkemScaleModels on Thursday, November 19, 2009 12:16 PM

 Kalmbach Publishing will be releasing my book on steel mill modeling in March 2010. The working title is "Model Railroader's Guide to Steel Mill Modeling." It's full of ideas and tips for including steel mills on model railroads.

Tags: Steel mills
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Posted by faraway on Thursday, November 19, 2009 1:14 PM

 I've got much less space but with CSS, EJ&E and IHB engines there has to be something like steel.The birds view of bing has been very helpful to look at the inland mill in East Chicago. While "the mill" is totally out of proportion the end of a rolling mill might be possible. I did limit it even further down to the end of the building of a cold strip. That is a good place to have coils and coil cars. Another adjustement is the loading of the cars in the building while inland does it on a huge open place. It looks as if USS in Gary does it within the building. I could not spot a coil storage area or trucks with coils.

The buildings are made from 1mm cardboard with some details (pipes etc.) from Walthers.

This is the current status of the layout. Next step is to add concrete and dirt between the rails.

rm3 

Reinhard
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Posted by dirtyd79 on Wednesday, November 25, 2009 5:29 AM

jammin.madrid
I am planning on building an HO scale steel plant.  I heard that these plants require materials such as coke and some other material...  I think limestone if I am not mistaken.  And I understand that companies would bring in the coke and the other material via rail system.  My first question is what are the materials that the plant would need coke and what else?  The other is if I should model another scene for coke (and the other material) mining?  Or could I have a dock scene in which the materials are being brought in from "overseas" or down (up) the river?  Thanks for any help that you can give me.

A dock scene would be very acceptable for a steel mill. A lot of steel mills are located near rivers or The Great Lakes and have raw materials such as coal or iron ore brought to them by barge or ship traffic. Coal is  converted into coke in coke ovens so this could serve as a destination for unit coal trains on your layout.

As for modeling a coal mine it's very hard to include both coal mines and coal consuming industries such as power plants or steel mills on a layout and have enough space between them to make it seem like a credible journey.

"The problem is that there are too many stupid people in the world and no one to eat them."- Carlos Mencia
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Posted by ryTrain on Monday, July 26, 2010 3:13 PM

Actually it was Show #65 with Tom Wilson.

http://www.modelrailcast.com/media/shows/mrc0065.mp3

-=Ryan

-=Ryan
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Posted by cv_acr on Monday, July 26, 2010 4:03 PM

EM-1

Building a model of a steel mill is definitely an excersize in selective compression.  Especially if the model is serviced by a modern self-unloading ore boat.  The ones docking at our mill are around 960' long, with one that visits occasionally listed as 1150'.  In HO, these boats run from over 11' to over 13'.  Even  an older boat without self unloading capacity, say in the 1950s to 1960s, would be around 690', or almost 8 real feet in HO. 

 The largest ship on the Great Lakes is the Paul R. Tregurtha, which measures 1,013’ long. It is one of 13 thousand foot vessels on the lakes.

http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/prtrgrth.htm

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