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Philosophy Friday -- Oddball Industries

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Philosophy Friday -- Oddball Industries
Posted by jwhitten on Friday, November 18, 2011 9:26 PM

"Oddball Industries"

 

Since its very beginnings, the railroad has been inexorably linked to heavy industry. Coal, rocks, timber, steel, machines and all manner of refined items, it's safe to say trains have hauled it all. And Model Railroaders, in their zeal to faithfully reproduce their prototypes in miniature, have been right there, watching, photographing, recording, and of course building their models depicting all manner of rail-served industries. Some industries are so oft modeled they've practically become cliches... coal mines, steel mills, grain elevators, just to name a few. Which is not to say they're not fun to see and operate-- but I have been wondering recently about other industries that aren't so often represented, what other rail-served industries have folks modeled which aren't so common or downright unusual?

 

As usual, I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions, and photos if you got 'em!

 

John

Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's
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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, November 18, 2011 10:16 PM

Well, when I first built my GERN Industries Gibson Works, it was the only one in the world, so I suppose it was somewhat unusual. Whistling  The modelled portion represents about 1/3 of the above-ground facility, and there's an extensive mine (unmodelled) extending out under adjacent Lake Erie (similar to the salt mines at Goderich, Ont.).  The ore mined is flux (as in a state of flux) and is processed into many products used in almost all industries.  The original idea is my brother's and dates back to the mid-'50s.  I saw it as a traffic generator, and built the complex shown, combining Walthers kits with scratchbuilt sections. 

Here's an overall view of Gibson Works, which is about 6 1/2' long and approximately 20" deep:

 

Inbound loads include processing machinery:

 

...along with empty shipping containers (paper bags, cloth sacks, barrels, and drums), lubricating fluids, and repair parts:

 

Outbound loads include various packaged flux products, usually in boxcars:

 

A large portion of product shipped is in bulk, either as powder or granules, and it travels, for the most part, in covered hoppers or converted boxcars (the flatcar is an idler, as clearances restrict locomotives from entering):

 

The older part of the plant can also handle covered hoppers and boxcars for shipping, and it also receives inbound loads of packaging and processing machinery:

 

...however, much of this area is now also processing liquid flux products:

 

...which is shipped in a growing fleet of company-owned tank cars:

 

My brothers churns out ad info when the mood strikes him - here are a few examples:

 

 

 

There are now approximately three dozen GERN modellers worldwide, some with large complexes, others with small warehouses, and some just running a GILX car or two and enjoying the advertising, which I send along as I receive it.

Remember:

 

Wayne

 

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Posted by tomikawaTT on Friday, November 18, 2011 10:44 PM

As part of the Kashimoto Lumber Company complex, I'm going to have a plant that makes specialty wood shapes:

  1. Pre-turned porch railing posts.
  2. Semi-finished furniture parts.
  3. Ready-to-assemble window and shoji door frames.
  4. Etc...

Not exactly a new idea - I noticed the prototype when I was in Agematsu in 1964.  The product went out in all-door box cars, banded onto pallets and handled at the JNR freight house.

Chuck (Modeling Central Japan in September, 1964)

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Posted by leighant on Friday, November 18, 2011 11:12 PM

Less-commonly modeled industries on my East Texas layout had a peanut butter factory and a creosote treating plant

 

 I have a small portable layout which represents an “in plant industrial railroad” except that the “industry” is government-owned...a U S Navy blimp base.  Traffic includes helium in special tankcars and munitions in special boxcars...plus aviation fuel, etc.

 

The layout under construction includes a shrimpboat harbor with seafood shipping plants...

 Banana boat dock that originates trainload banana shipments north once a week when the banana boat comes in.

 Sulphur export terminal with special sulphur gondolas.

Small shipbuilding yard that makes barges.

Oystershell dredging as raw material for Portland cement.

Raw sugar import terminal. (at right)

 

Salt for refrigerator cars brought in in company-service cars.

Cotton compress and export terminal.  Just a background so far...

 A similar prototype--

 

 

Grain bagging plant (for export to countries that do not have bulk handling faciloities)

 

Ship chandlery.

 

Cooperage/ crating company\

Related prototype in a port area- a sling service

 At one time, I planned a tea blending plant, but have nixed the idea.

 

The layout under construction is part of an impossibly large layout I once dreamed of.

 

Less-commonly modeled industries “imagineered”:

Carbon black plant

Wine barrel manfuacturer

Oilfield equipment distributor

Oilfield drilling fluids (“mud”) distributor

Concrete sewer and drainage pipe manufacturer

Fiberboard container manufacturer

reactor vessel fabricator for Refinery and chemical plants

 Tetraethyl lead antiknock compound plant (“Ethyl”)

City street and water department –chlorine gas, asphalt, gravel...

Electric utility service yard- poles, cable reels, transformers, etc.

This is a very big etc.

 

Coffee roasting plant

Meat (including horse) pet foods byproducts canner

This is a related prototype- an inedible byproduct oil rendering plant near the Fort Worth stockyards.

 

Cottonseed oil mill

cotton oil mill sheds, Harlingen

City produce terminal

Grocery chain wholesale warehouse

Cold storage warehouse

 

Aluminum siding manufacturer

Coathanger manufacturer

Sears Roebuck warehouse regional distribution center

School supply notebook and tablet manufacturer

Newspaper warehouse (paper and ink)

Freight forwarder

Concrete step, fountain, and yard ornament manufacturer- this actually existed about 200 feet from the bedroom where I grew up--

 

Molasses terminal

Industrial gases

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Posted by shayfan84325 on Friday, November 18, 2011 11:24 PM

Mine include the Stave Brothers Cooperage (barrel factory):

...and Spock's Wingnuts (Bigger ears for a better grip - the logical choice):

They both have their own boxcars:

I've built a couple of other industrial buildings, but have yet to determine their products or business names.  I've thought of making one a barrel hoop factory (supplier to Stave Brothers), but I can't come up with a catchy name for it.  I'be also thought that a winery might be a good industry for my layout, too.

I try to be careful about using too much humor, because jokes have a short shelf-life and then they seem silly.  Still, I always admired John Allen's tounge-in-cheek names for towns, businesses, and geologic features, so I like having a few business names that make folks chuckle.

Phil,
I'm not a rocket scientist; they are my students.

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Posted by ChadLRyan on Saturday, November 19, 2011 12:00 AM

WOW those are impressive, I have to start thinking more out of the box, as the thread suggests!

Doc, That is really neat!

Phil, how about 'Hoopdee Ring' or 'Circle Clasp' or something like that.. The 'Hoopdee' one being more facecious & comical of course..

Chad L Ryan
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, November 19, 2011 1:07 AM

Wayne!

That is truly excellent modelling! Too many details to take in all at once. Amazing work on the structures. Even more amazing work on the tank cars.BowBowBow

Thank you for sharing

Dave

P.S. Please can you guys (i.e. excellent modelers) please stop taking me back to the drawing board so often!Smile, Wink & Grin

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, November 19, 2011 1:12 AM

Thanks for your very kind words, Dave.

Wayne

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:47 AM

hon30critter

Wayne!

That is truly excellent modelling! Too many details to take in all at once. Amazing work on the structures. Even more amazing work on the tank cars.BowBowBow

Thank you for sharing

Dave

P.S. Please can you guys (i.e. excellent modelers) please stop taking me back to the drawing board so often!Smile, Wink & Grin

I have often suggested that doctorwayne and his layout be banned from these forums.

It is supposed to be about ordinary every day modeling, not extraordinary museum quality efforts.

doctorwayne's efforts put us all to shame.  Fortunately, he has permitted me to live in his garage so that I may visit his layout whenever I want to.  LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

Rich

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, November 19, 2011 5:43 AM

The layout I am building will have an oil refinery with a coking plant (which is probably an unusual model), a dry bulk transload terminal, and a tomato processing plant. If I can expand, I plan to add a mini-mill and orange juice plant.

Some other possibilities are:

Mulch plant

Natural gas fractionation plant

Propellant plant

Transformer manufacturing plant

Turbine manufacturing plant

Space shuttle booster plant

Helium extraction plant

Ammonia and ammonia products plant

Water treatment facility

Sewer farm

"No soup for you!" - Yev Kassem (from Seinfeld)

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:28 AM

mmmmmm...Blue Circle Audio is in the process of expanding their transformer factory by getting into the tube business as well...

Yep, my little Emerald, Leemer & Southern has a high end electronics firm as a customer out in the middle of the northern plains/southern prairie region....

Any argument carried far enough will end up in Semantics--Hartz's law of rhetoric Emerald. Leemer and Southern The route of the Sceptre Express Barry

I just started my blog site...more stuff to come...

http://modeltrainswithmusic.blogspot.ca/

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Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, November 19, 2011 10:26 AM

John,While there are many rail served industries  very few is modeled simply because most modelers don't think outside of the common modeled industries we see on just about every layout..

Heres a short list of possible industries based on the prototype.

1.Pet food manufacturing.

2.Peanut butter producer

3.Jelly producer.

4.Steel distributors.

5.Grocery distributor

6.A diaper manufacturer

6.Alcohol beverage distributor

7.A tobacco warehouse

8.A plastic pipe distributor

9.Frozen food manufacturer

10.A bakery such as Crispy Creme

There are many other types of manufacturers that one can model just by thinking outside of the normal layout industry box.The list is endless and ripe for the picking..

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Stay Alert, Don't get hurt  Safety First!"

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, November 19, 2011 12:35 PM

Larry's right about the selection of industries applicable to rail service, and one should also keep in mind that some industries are particular to specific eras.    You won't find too many coal dealers nowadays, just as you wouldn't have seen factories producing wind turbines in the '30s (windmills, yes, of course). 
One of the nearby communities here used to print an annual business directory of local industries, with a short description of the products made.  Some of them were familiar to me, but many were not and it was a simple matter to spend an afternoon touring the industrial area to see which ones were rail-served and which ones looked interesting as possible models, either using just the name for a different industry, or using the building as inspiration for a model.
I have several industries either on my layout or not modelled but represented by staging which may not be common in some areas, but because I'm from the industrial city of Hamilton, Ont., were "just another business".   Those modelled include:

A grocery warehouse:

 

A casket manufacturer:

 

An industrial supply warehouse:

 

Machine tool manufacturer:

 

Pump and compressor manufacturer:

 

Washing machine assembly plant:

 

Textile mill:

 

...and, represented by staging, numerous facilities too large to model, but shipping interesting, and appropriate to my era and locale, loads.  These include:

Carbon black processor:

 

Automobile component factory:

 

Steel plant:

 

Steel fabricator:

 

Bridge and crane manufacturer:

 

Scrap yards:

 

All of these, and more, in one town. Smile, Wink & Grin

 

Too often our industries are too small to justify rail service, so if you're pressed for space (and few of us aren't) consider modelling  fewer but more-to-scale industries, then let staging represent those for which you don't have adequate room. 
When I get around to finishing the second level of my layout, there'll be lots of modelled (or partially modelled) industries, including a quarry, tannery, cigarette factory, and a furniture manufacturer, and unmodelled industries (represented by staging) will include slaughter houses, and a rendering plant.

Wayne

 

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Posted by richhotrain on Saturday, November 19, 2011 12:58 PM

doctorwayne

When I get around to finishing the second level of my layout, there'll be lots of modelled (or partially modelled) industries, including a quarry, tannery, cigarette factory, and a furniture manufacturer, and unmodelled industries (represented by staging) will include slaughter houses, and a rendering plant.

Wayne

 

Even more reason to ban Wayne from the forums.  Smile, Wink & Grin

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by gandydancer19 on Saturday, November 19, 2011 2:59 PM

I have a Jiffy Pop plant that makes Jiffy Pop Pop Corn. 

Incoming are wood, paper, cardboard, aluminum foil, wire, corn, cooking oil, salt, and machine parts.

Outgoing is scrap metal, general paper scrap and waste products, and the main product, cases of Jiffy Pop Pop Corn.

I once had a Possum wood lumber plant on another layout.  The mill logged the Possum wood tree.  After treating the wood with various chemicals and stains, it could be turned into any type of wood known to grow anywhere in the world.

Elmer.

The above is my opinion, from an active and experienced Model Railroader in N scale and HO since 1961.

(Modeling Freelance, Eastern US, HO scale, in 1962, with NCE DCC for locomotive control and a stand alone LocoNet for block detection and signals.) http://waynes-trains.com/ at home, and N scale at the Club.

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Posted by Bolero Lindy & Tango on Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:35 PM

Wayne, you made my day with your wonderful GERN Industries post! Not only is it the best laugh I've had in a while, it's a fine inspiration for other imaginary industries. 

Beautiful modelling, too.

Thanks.

Tom

-- Tom Dove
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:49 PM

I like to make my visitors look for things.  This unobtrusive loading dock door is in the very back corner.

Off on the other side, cars from this plant supply the immense demand of Lake Wobegon...

The artwork for this reefer is courtesy of our own Fritz Milhaupt.

The Strumpet Brewery provides a variety of fine malt beverages

Other model stockyards full of cattle, but I chose hogs.  This lets me use the interesting double-deck stock cars seen behind this small pen.

Finally, it's not an industry, exactly, but my layout has its own LHS.  The name honors the shop in Chelmsford, MA, where I buy most of my trains.

 

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by leighant on Monday, November 21, 2011 12:20 PM

Hijacking this thread—or maybe reviving it after its normal “sell-by” date...

 

One good source of interesting and unusualk, but PROTOTYPE rail-served industries is a document like one I happened to acquired ages ago...from 1973.

 

“Southern Pacific Freight Tariff 1517-F, list of private industries located at common points on lines of Southern Pacific... and also other lines.”  It gives industry and commodity information for any given “station” name (meaning not a depot building but a named point of a railroad),  ONLY for places that are both located on the SP AND one other railroad.  If SP doesn’t go there, it doesn’t list that town.  If ONLY SP goes there, it doesn’t list that town. 

The tariff also lists WHICH handles that industry.  When a car is billed over the SP to go to a “town” where SP is not the only RR, a station agent can quickly see whether the industry is on HIS line or the other line. 

I was able to assemble a list of MoPac industries in San Antonio from the 1973 tariff.

Alamo Fuel Co           wood, coal, salt

Allen Allen                 lumber, building materials

Asgrow Texas Co.     seeds

Bain Peanut Co          peanut shellers

Calavo Inc                  avocados

Wm Cameron Co.      building materials

Celotex Corporation  roofing

Century Paper Co      paper supplies

City Public Service Board     gas plant warehouse

City Public Service Board     Leon Creek power plant

Crowley Feed Co       Grain products

Cudahy Packing Co   packing house products

Davidson Corp           building materials

Delaware Punch         bottles, syrup

East Kelly Air Force Base

Gebhardt Mexican Foods      Chili products

Gillis Hood Security              public warehouses      

Irwin Steel Co            iron & steel

Karotkin Furniture Co           furniture

Kelly Construction     paving contractor

Leesch Lumber Co     lumber

Liberty grain co          grain, mill products

McNeel A M              paving materials

Mission Ice Fuel Co   ice

Moncrief Lenoir         steel building materials

Monterrey Iron  Metal Co      scrap iron

National Incorporated            wholesale grocers

Nationwide Papers     paper products

Nelson & Sons           hides

Prasel Lumber Co      building materials

Rainbo Bakery           bakery products

Scobey Fireproof Storage      public warehouse

Seven Up Bottling     beverages

Steve Sash & Door    millwork

Superior Woodwork  millwork

Tambo Mftg Co         road machinery

Trottner Iron Metal    scrap metal

Union stockyard

Vaughn Geo C. Sons building materials

Williams Distributing Co       beer

 

Then I was able to cross locate many of these on Sanborn’s maps and other sources to develop an HO layout plan for the Missouri pacific in San Antonio in the transition era mid-1950s.  (I showed this last summer...)

 

 

 

 

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Posted by steamage on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 5:58 PM

I have built a number of low relief industrial models after prototype structures that I had saw in Los Angeles..   I thought they were better looking buildings than what I come up with my own design, and they are from the area that I am modeling.

The Strongheart Dog Food Company.

The Cyclone Fence Co.

 

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 6:13 PM

On my old layout I had a cat food plant named after my late feline friend Eyore.

My current layout has a bakery that primarily produces chocolate-chip cookies. Inbound loads include boxcars of chocolate chips, airslide hoppers of sugar, tank cars of corn syrup, and covered hoppers of flour and grain.

Except for an unknown business in West Berlin that I converted to a lumberyard, the rest of the industries on my current layout are true to the prototype within the time frame of Google Earth. (Stone Inc's facility was abandoned recently enough for the old building, siding, and loaded gons to show up on an overhead view)

- Brox Industries, hot-mix plant at Marlborough Junction, Mass.
- Stone Inc, stone cutting business that produces (produced?) granite countertops, also at the above location.
- William Reisner Corporation, a scrapyard and recycling facility in Clinton, Mass. Track arrangement is prototypical (switchback!) except my version of it scraps rail equipment.

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