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How should I go about building a Power Plant?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
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How should I go about building a Power Plant?
Posted by jacksonh22 on Monday, October 14, 2019 10:15 AM

I'm thinking about scratch building an N scale power plant and was interested in how I should go about doing it. I'm going to base it off the AES Jennison plant in Bainbridge, NY. Thanks

  • Member since
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  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, October 14, 2019 4:07 PM

Hi,

Welcome

You can scratch-build using styrene sheets from Evergreen and others. It looks like the primary siding material is a corrugated metal or fiber material. A primary spotting feature is that cylindrical tank. Tichy makes one of those with the spiral stairs in HO, not sure about N. 

Making sketches based on photos and then transfering these to a card-stock mock-up will help you visualize the project before you cut any styrene.

A good set of cutting tools and perhaps a cutter along the lines of a NWSL "Chopper" will help keep cuts square and straight.

Rather than scratch build this looks like good results could be had by "kit-bashing" existing structures to resemble the power plant you envision.

If you google "Walthers Metro Power light" or "Tri-state power authority" you will see some kits that resemble the type of construction used on your plant. Sometimes you need to get two or three kits and blend the pieces to get the results you want.

Walthers marketed a paper mill that really doesn't look much different than a power plant. This could give you plenty of "stock" to begin your project.

Here is a 2018 Google view:

 AES_plant by Edmund, on Flickr

Doesn't look like the plant will be fired-up anytime soon.

There are bits and pieces of transformers and substation parts in N scale from Kibri, Faller, Piko and others that you can use for your power transmission area. This would set the building apart as a power generating plant.

Good Luck, Ed

  • Member since
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Posted by jacksonh22 on Monday, October 14, 2019 5:32 PM

Thank you! This will help tremendously and definitely gives me a good idea on where to start.

  • Member since
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  • From: Blair, Nebraska
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Posted by Boiler-man on Monday, October 14, 2019 5:52 PM

If you want to better understand how a coalfired power plant operates you can get a Babcock & Wilcox steam book.

As fo the AES Jennison plant in Bainbridge, NY there is a wealth of information on the internet about that facility.

Boilerman
  • Member since
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  • From: Milwaukee WI (Fox Point)
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Posted by dknelson on Monday, October 14, 2019 6:41 PM

Just a couple of thoughts.  I have been fortunate enough to tour two rail served coal fired power plants, although not the one you are interested in unfortunately.  The problem is that they are so massive, usually with multiple buildings serving separate functions, some of which are not really related to the rail service, that one could fill a basement, and a big one, with an accurate model of the full plant and its rail component, with the mainline railroad serving the plant being relegated to a mere track coming out of hidden staging. 

But it could be one heck of a layout, particularly if you model a power plant that is adding a new turbine or generator under construction, which allows for a little more variety in what arrives by rail.

Another problem is that the plethora of electric lines, which are really needed to tell everyone that this is a power plant, can complicate the practical operation of the trains if not located with care (and possibly not where the prototype located them by the way). 

Unless you want the layout to be all power plant, compression and representation are probably going to be the order of the day.  The Walthers structures mentioned above are highly compressed, closer in size to the kind of "small" (!) dedicated power plants such as universities and some big hospitals and similar institutions had back in the day.  And they reduce the power plant to a single structure rather than the grouping of structures that most power plants are.

The fairly small structures where coal gons/hoppers with rotary couplers are turned upside down beg to be modeled, as do the large piles of stored coal and the intensely busy areas of transformers and electric high tension lines.  Most of the rest of a really big power plant could be represented with simple flats -- my own feeling is that it is better to convey the sprawling size of a power plant with flats and narrow structures, rather than insist on entire structures which by necessity have to be compressed.

This is not practical how-to advice but I do think the first decision is just how dominating of the entire layout do you want the power plant to be?

Dave Nelson 

 

Google satellite view should give ideas for the track plan.

  • Member since
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  • From: California
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Posted by HO-Velo on Monday, October 14, 2019 10:15 PM

Coal fired power plants are great freight generators; coal loads in-MTs out, lime loads in for boiler feed make-up water and fly ash loads out.

The power plant is the premier rail served industry on my HO switching layout and built as a background flat from Evergreen sheets.  Even if compressed, freelance and not prototype based I wanted it to drawf the rolling stock to some degree.

Regards, Peter

 

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 12:26 AM

Not every coal/oil/gas (changes over time) plant is a large, sprawling facility.  Examples are the City of Dover Deleware Mckee Run power ststion and the City of Vineland New Jersey power plant.

Following is the original Vineland plant all lit up.

Related image

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 1:01 AM

HO-Velo
The power plant is the premier rail served industry on my HO switching layout

Nice modelling Peter! Everything in your scenes looks great!

Dave

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:19 PM

Power Plant Diorama

Long time ago I had made several suggestions about some sort of power plant diorama and/or module.

"The power plant subject came up on another thread just recently, and that is what prompted me to look back for this posting. I just don't recall seeing a lot of good power plant scenes that might cover a broad era of their use.

As I mentioned before not a lot of young folks even know where and how our electrical power comes from/is generated. I wanted to create a whole scene with the older style coal plant (with coal piles sitting along side the delivery tracks). then perhaps some ongoing construction to a portion of that plant with turbines sections (peaking and otherwise) being added to the plant.

Then over the river bridges (source of cooling waters). a nuclear plant under construction. I had (have) collected lots of various transformer delivery train cars, and lots of various style construction cranes This could be a pretty exciting scene to visit, particularly with today's multiple flashing LED lights on construction equipment.

 

BTW, google 'power plant diorama',...lots of interesting hits.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:31 PM

Here is a natural gas powered plant that might be a nice option if you want something smaller than a coal plant. This is the Gadsby plant a former coal plant that now runs on natural gas in Utah. It has six power units, three near the railroad and the other three in the back. You can easily do the forward three units in the main building. It would be a large building on a layout, but much smaller than the big plants; needing only the small yard for inbound and outbound natural gas cars. 

https://goo.gl/maps/oWstEiy8DMzJPdzF9

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Posted by HO-Velo on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:43 PM

HO-Velo
lime loads in for boiler feed make-up water

Correction: Lime use in power plants is for removal of acidic gases from flue gas (flu-gas desulfurization or FGD).  Appears USA fossil fuel power plants began using FGD process in the early 70s.

Power plant boiler feed water is chemically treated for PH.  In the 70s the power plant I'm familiar with had feed water chemicals trucked in, but up until the 60s the chemicals arrived bagged via boxcar.

Btw, Thanks Dave for the kind comment.

Regards, Peter

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Posted by jacksonh22 on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 4:51 PM

Thank you everyone for all of the helpful replies. I plan on making the power plant the centerpiece of the layout. I'll be sure to post updates as I work on the facility, I just bought some starting materials today!

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Posted by Marc_Magnus on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 2:45 PM

jacksonh22

I'm thinking about scratch building an N scale power plant and was interested in how I should go about doing it. I'm going to base it off the AES Jennison plant in Bainbridge, NY. Thanks

 

I just see your post.

I opened a few weeks ago a big post on the other community of the site "layout and layouts building" named Fos scale wharf.

This is a big scratchbuild project in N scale using for the most Evergreen parts and Tichy windows.

I explain in this big post all the techniques I use to scratch in N scale and some specific tools which for sure help to scratch N scale buildings.

May be this could help you for your future scratchbuild project

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