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Ideas for a small steel or metal industry in a small space?

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Ideas for a small steel or metal industry in a small space?
Posted by CTConrail on Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:51 PM

Hey guys I was hoping to pick your brains and get some ideas. My layout is going to have a scrap yard with gondolas of scrap metal going out and I would like to have an industry I can send them to. Generally steel mills are massive and take up tons of space. Are there any types of small steel industries or any type of industry that would take scrap steel in by rail? My issue is I am working with a relatively small space to add this industry. If such a small steel induatry exists can anyone point me to pictures of one so I can scratch build it? All I am coming up with on google are massive steel mill complexes. Thanks!

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Posted by 7j43k on Saturday, December 15, 2018 8:58 PM

An electric arc furnace is a perfect solution for your problem.  It's got everything!  And it's incredibly compact.

 

 

Ed

 

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:02 PM

A few thoughts: Maybe you can send larger scrap pieces to another scrap yard were they are shredded into smaller bits, or bound into cubes. The thing though about scrap steel is its mostly going to recycling mills and not the larger mills that process freshly mined ore. One plant we have in my area is the Nucor Steel plant. They have a larger mill in Plymouth Utah that processes most of the recycled metals that come in; but they operate two smaller mill/industries down the branchline in Brigham City Utah. Those two smaller industries only have a few spurs leading into them, and could probably be represented by a shallow building facade. 

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Posted by CTConrail on Saturday, December 15, 2018 9:31 PM

xboxtravis7992

A few thoughts: Maybe you can send larger scrap pieces to another scrap yard were they are shredded into smaller bits, or bound into cubes. The thing though about scrap steel is its mostly going to recycling mills and not the larger mills that process freshly mined ore. One plant we have in my area is the Nucor Steel plant. They have a larger mill in Plymouth Utah that processes most of the recycled metals that come in; but they operate two smaller mill/industries down the branchline in Brigham City Utah. Those two smaller industries only have a few spurs leading into them, and could probably be represented by a shallow building facade. 

 

I like that idea thank you. That would make more sense and be more prototypical than having scrap go right to a mill. Not to mention meet my space constraints.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:07 PM

While modelling the steel industry offers a lot of interesting possible scenes, even a "small" steel mill is bigger than most layouts can accommodate.  For example, the Walthers model of a blast furnace represents one that is very small - it's even smaller than the oldest one (now long gone) at the steel plant where I worked.  It dated from the early 1900s.  They had three much bigger ones, then built one with a capacity almost double that of any one of the three.  Only the largest one now remains, and it's currently idle.  The plant covers almost 800 acres, and another branch of the same company has a site of about 2300 acres. 

The company used both blast furnace iron and also scrap in their steelmaking processes.

You could represent a steel plant with a siding near the edge of the layout (include a Frost-type chainlink fence with gates to keep the public out), and if you have enough room, a long and tall wall of corrugated steel (Evergreen offers corrugated sheets) right at the layout's edge.  It can represent one of the finishing mills, perhaps, which shouldn't require too much detail unless you feel like adding it. 

Your  railroad picks-up the loaded cars of scrap at ythe scrap yard, and simply drops them off on the steel plant's set-out track, perhaps pulling a string of empty gondolas from that track before spotting the loads.

To convince viewers that it's just a portion of a much larger facility, paint or decal the big wall with the company's name.  Somewhere near the gate to the track, a smaller sign, again with the company name, and lettering indicating x-number of days since the plant's last lost-time accident.  This is probably one of the most economical ways to represent many such large industries.

An even less expensive and less labour-intensive choice is to pick up the loaded scrap cars, then have the railroad take them to an unmodelled (off-layout) site, which can represent either the steel mill or an unmodelled railroad which is one of your road's interchange partners.

No fuss, no muss, and if anyone doesn't like it, show 'em the door. Smile, Wink & Grin

Here's a LINK to some photos and info about that plant.

Wayne

PED
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Posted by PED on Saturday, December 15, 2018 10:36 PM

As a spin off of what Wayne said, I have a bunch of off layout industries that I exchange traffic with. If you want an "on-layout" spot for the scrap yard to ship directly to, try and include an interchange spot with another RR. Ship to the interchange spot and then let the other RR ship (via 0-5-0) to the off site steel mill.

Paul D

N scale Washita and Santa Fe Railroad
Southern Oklahoma circa late 70's

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Posted by doctorwayne on Sunday, December 16, 2018 3:14 AM

And pursuant to what Paul said, I have two tracks on the level just above the ones with the locos in the foreground (there's a loco visible on one of those tracks in the distance) which represent unmodelled industries.

Because there are no actual structures, they can represent as many and as varied industries as I want, receiving and shipping all sorts of stuff to and from other places on the layout or other places represented by the other staging yards.  There's really no limit to the industries which they can represent:  want an integrated steel plant? A refinery? A power plant? Or coal mine, iron ore open pit mine, automobile plant...anything you can imagine, or want to run special rolling stock for, but don't have an actual model of that industry.  And you can change the phantom factories from one operating session to the next.

Wayne

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, December 16, 2018 4:08 AM

Personlly I would send those cars to a steel mill via interchange or have a track or two going off layout to the unmodeled steel mill.

 

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by CTConrail on Sunday, December 16, 2018 8:50 AM

doctorwayne

While modelling the steel industry offers a lot of interesting possible scenes, even a "small" steel mill is bigger than most layouts can accommodate.  For example, the Walthers model of a blast furnace represents one that is very small - it's even smaller than the oldest one (now long gone) at the steel plant where I worked.  It dated from the early 1900s.  They had three much bigger ones, then built one with a capacity almost double that of any one of the three.  Only the largest one now remains, and it's currently idle.  The plant covers almost 800 acres, and another branch of the same company has a site of about 2300 acres. 

The company used both blast furnace iron and also scrap in their steelmaking processes.

You could represent a steel plant with a siding near the edge of the layout (include a Frost-type chainlink fence with gates to keep the public out), and if you have enough room, a long and tall wall of corrugated steel (Evergreen offers corrugated sheets) right at the layout's edge.  It can represent one of the finishing mills, perhaps, which shouldn't require too much detail unless you feel like adding it. 

Your  railroad picks-up the loaded cars of scrap at ythe scrap yard, and simply drops them off on the steel plant's set-out track, perhaps pulling a string of empty gondolas from that track before spotting the loads.

To convince viewers that it's just a portion of a much larger facility, paint or decal the big wall with the company's name.  Somewhere near the gate to the track, a smaller sign, again with the company name, and lettering indicating x-number of days since the plant's last lost-time accident.  This is probably one of the most economical ways to represent many such large industries.

An even less expensive and less labour-intensive choice is to pick up the loaded scrap cars, then have the railroad take them to an unmodelled (off-layout) site, which can represent either the steel mill or an unmodelled railroad which is one of your road's interchange partners.

No fuss, no muss, and if anyone doesn't like it, show 'em the door. Smile, Wink & Grin

Here's a LINK to some photos and info about that plant.

Wayne

 

I did consider this as well, trying to find a spot along the wall where I can maybe incorporate a small part of steel mill into my backdrop but having an interchange point will work as well. I did mull over having an interchange with Norfolk Southern anyway which will double as a point where I can extend my layout and make it larger down the road so this is another possibility.

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Posted by caldreamer on Sunday, December 16, 2018 9:24 PM

If you would like, I have a spreadsheet that I developed with all the information on all facilites in a steel mill.  You can change the numbers to suit how big your steel mill will be.  If you are interested you can email me off list and I will send the spreadsheet to you.

   Caldreamer

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, December 16, 2018 10:34 PM

7j43k
An electric arc furnace is a perfect solution for your problem. It's got everything! And it's incredibly compact.

I had to check out what Ed posted, and the EAF would be great choice for a smaller operation that accepts scap metal.

Do a search and check it out.

Mike.

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, December 17, 2018 9:59 AM

You could have the "interchange" be with the steel plant itself. It could be a big enough operation to have their own switcher(s) that move cars around in the plant, put out empties for pickup by the mainline railroad in a small yard, etc.  The plant itself could be represented by the backdrop.

There's a steel recycling plant that I go by everyday to and from work along US 61 southeast of St. Paul, squeezed in between the Mississippi on one side and the highway and bluffs on the other. It has a relatively small yard area and a diesel switcher on the south end of the building. Something like that would work, with the building being either just a photo on the backdrop or as a flat.

https://www.google.com/maps/@44.8925808,-93.0077313,3a,75y,293.75h,77.93t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sf3zoct8uP_1u4aNrNNWOlw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Stix
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Posted by CTConrail on Monday, December 17, 2018 10:44 AM

mbinsewi

 

 
7j43k
An electric arc furnace is a perfect solution for your problem. It's got everything! And it's incredibly compact.

 

I had to check out what Ed posted, and the EAF would be great choice for a smaller operation that accepts scap metal.

Do a search and check it out.

Mike.

 

I will check out images of EAFs on google and see if it strikes any good ideas for the location I have. I like your idea too Stix. One thing is for sure, you have all given me a lot of good options so I am glad I made this post. Thanks!

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, December 17, 2018 12:12 PM

The idea of an interchange as the destination is a good one not just for cars from the scrap yard but for any kinds of cars, including empties.  There is no more versatile (and space saving) destination you can have.

Let's not ignore the possibilities of a routing TO the scrap yard.  Many industries which are foundaries, drop forges, and machine shops/fabricators of any kind create scrap, shavings, whatever.  Even railroad wheel shops.  And they do not have to be really large as would a steel mill, but more like the industries we have on layouts.  I'd concentrate on making your scrap yard a destination.  Here in Milwaukee (once known as the "machine shop to the world) the large scrap dealers on the Lake Michigan waterfront had captive gondolas (not fit for interchange) which the local freights would deliver to and pick up from the factories which were in the general vacinity - often just a few miles away.  The scrap yard would cut up, sort out, and compact the scrap and resell it, sometimes sending it out by lake boat or even ocean freighter, by truck, or by regular interchange-worthy gondolas.

Dave Nelson

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Posted by CTConrail on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:37 AM

dknelson

The idea of an interchange as the destination is a good one not just for cars from the scrap yard but for any kinds of cars, including empties.  There is no more versatile (and space saving) destination you can have.

Let's not ignore the possibilities of a routing TO the scrap yard.  Many industries which are foundaries, drop forges, and machine shops/fabricators of any kind create scrap, shavings, whatever.  Even railroad wheel shops.  And they do not have to be really large as would a steel mill, but more like the industries we have on layouts.  I'd concentrate on making your scrap yard a destination.  Here in Milwaukee (once known as the "machine shop to the world) the large scrap dealers on the Lake Michigan waterfront had captive gondolas (not fit for interchange) which the local freights would deliver to and pick up from the factories which were in the general vacinity - often just a few miles away.  The scrap yard would cut up, sort out, and compact the scrap and resell it, sometimes sending it out by lake boat or even ocean freighter, by truck, or by regular interchange-worthy gondolas.

Dave Nelson

 

I am trying to work an interchange with Norfork Southern and into the track plan for my lower deck (Which is not going to be very big) where I was going to place this steel industry. Very good points you made. Also great ideas about incoming loads to the scrap yard.

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Posted by arbe1948 on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 8:15 PM

The April and May 2009 issues of MR had the Freytag Foundry article by Dean Freytag as an inspiration for me.  It gives a big industry feel with out taking up a large amount of space.  Quite a lenghty build but looks great.  Here is a article about mine:  https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/22614

Bob Bochenek
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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 8:39 AM

There's a relatively small operation near my house that takes in scrap steel and re-casts it into new products.  The company is called Great Lakes Castings.  Take a look at this google map image: https://www.google.com/maps/search/great+lakes+castings/@43.9650975,-86.4386568,463m/data=!3m1!1e3

Looking at the satelite view, to the south-east you can still see the path through town the railroad tracks used to take to reach the plant.  Everything today is trucked in.  Not sure when rail service ceased here, but the tracks weren't taken out until the late '90s or early 2000's.  Could easily be selectively compressed into a pike sized industry.

Mike

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Posted by CTConrail on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:54 AM

arbe1948

The April and May 2009 issues of MR had the Freytag Foundry article by Dean Freytag as an inspiration for me.  It gives a big industry feel with out taking up a large amount of space.  Quite a lenghty build but looks great.  Here is a article about mine:  https://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/22614

 

Thanks. Man that model has a lot of detail! Very nice though.

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Posted by CTConrail on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 10:56 AM

Water Level Route

There's a relatively small operation near my house that takes in scrap steel and re-casts it into new products.  The company is called Great Lakes Castings.  Take a look at this google map image: https://www.google.com/maps/search/great+lakes+castings/@43.9650975,-86.4386568,463m/data=!3m1!1e3

Looking at the satelite view, to the south-east you can still see the path through town the railroad tracks used to take to reach the plant.  Everything today is trucked in.  Not sure when rail service ceased here, but the tracks weren't taken out until the late '90s or early 2000's.  Could easily be selectively compressed into a pike sized industry.

 

Thanks! I am going to check this out on google earth so I can see more details.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 4:17 PM

Hello all,

Sometimes we are "Imagine-ers" (borrowing a concept from the Disney corporation).

Yes, you might model a smaller scale industry to handle scrap.

Or...

You might model just the entry and exit of a larger scale industry.

This can be as simple as a small siding, or as complex as a facade with hidden staging.

The remaining bulk of the industry can be represented by a photo backdrop.

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by CTConrail on Thursday, December 20, 2018 11:55 AM

jjdamnit

Hello all,

Sometimes we are "Imagine-ers" (borrowing a concept from the Disney corporation).

Yes, you might model a smaller scale industry to handle scrap.

Or...

You might model just the entry and exit of a larger scale industry.

This can be as simple as a small siding, or as complex as a facade with hidden staging.

The remaining bulk of the industry can be represented by a photo backdrop.

Hope this helps.

 

Good point Thank you. I did consider this if I can move things around ton relocate the siding next to a wall to utilize a backdrop for the industry.

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, December 22, 2018 3:02 PM

JJdamnit has some good ideas. I'd pass along another one which I've seen done on some layouts, in particular a roundhouse. Perhaps you could "slice" the building open so you are looking into the interior and the remainder of the structure is essentially in the aisle?

Could be corny on one hand or pretty neat if executed properly.

Just to give you some ideas, Here's a look ay my Walthers electric furnace, it needs a little more detail and the remainder of the ladle hoist installed:

 E_furnace2 by Edmund, on Flickr

and from the side:

 E_furnace by Edmund, on Flickr

Sure, it is greatly reduced but everything we modelers have to do is compress and compromise. It is a good kit to start with and there are tons of detailing and kitbashing opportunities here.

Good Luck, Ed

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