Industry Focused Operations

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by 2-8-2, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    This ties into track planning discussions, but I think I've seen this topic discussed here before (though I couldn't find the thread). What are the pros/cons of operating a layout focused on a single industry?

    For example, coal is going to be a major player on my layout. The other day, I stumbled across a website where layouts are dedicated solely to coal operations: Appalachian Railroad Modeling.

    On another note, would it be okay to have an industry focused layout? Meaning, to model more of the coal operations, yet still have other industry. Or would that seem unbalanced?
  2. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    You can do whatever you want. They're still your toys. There are plenty of railroads out there that are skewed towards one industry. There are even some, as you have asked for permission to model, that do serve only one industry. Pennsylvania is dotted by shortlines that were owned by steel corporations. These railroads did nothing but serve the steel mill. There are plenty of other railroads that serve only one industry; sometimes they are owned by it and sometimes now. Pick up one of the many Kalmbach shortline guides published in the last thirty years and there will be dozens of examples.
  3. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

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    How many railroads are focused on lumber roads? No shortage of variety or operating interest there. The limits of youir railroad are the limits of your creativity and imagination. It can be whatever you want it to be. :thumb:
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    There is no reason why you can model the coal fields..
    Let's look at your map shall we?
    Now let's go into details as far as divisions.
    With your permission.Heres how I would cut your railroad into divisions.
    The Wheeling Division.
    This covers the track from Wheeling to Akron including the Steubenville district.This would cover the coal field so the majority of the trains originating on this division would be coal trains and mind runs and of course empty coal trains terminating at Wheeling.There would be 2 general freights as well.One in each direction.You could run a coke or Iron ore train to Wheeling Steel off the Cleveland line..If WS is a customer
    ====================================
    The Lake Division
    This covers the track from Akron to Bellevue and includes Sandusky..This line would see loaded and empty coal trains and general freight trains.
    ========================================
    The Cleveland Line
    This covers Akron to Cleveland.Mostly loaded and empty coal trains and some local freights.Again you *could* run a coke or iron ore train to Wheeling Steel.
    ========================================
    The Toledo Division
    This includes trackage from Bellevue to Toledo.Trains would be loaded and empty coal trains,general freight and local freight.
    ========================================
    The Wausson Line.
    This covers the track from Bowling Green to Wausson.This will be mostly grain trains,locals and a DT&I "Connection Train" and maybe a stone quarry or two if you so desire.
    ========================================
    Ok..If you like to haul coal,run mine runs,a occasional freight train and perhaps a coke or ore train then simply model the Wheeling Division.See?
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    brakie for President!

    :thumb:
  6. EngineerKyle

    EngineerKyle Member

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    Some single industries require many operations as well as maintaining the trains themselves. Let's say you were modelling a single dhemical industry, You'd need coal and maybe limestone. There's a mine and a quarry right there. Ovens to cook it in. That's another stop. Chemical depots with piping and tank cars for the finished product. All those trains need loco sheds and inspection pits and so on....

    On industry can produce many sidings and stubs...

    You gotta build need fences for it... there's a lumber yard. and cement for the sidewalks.... and so on...
  7. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Here are a few coal related industries I'm considering for my 9x6x3 layout:

    Tipples
    - 1 large (Walther's New River Mining Co.)
    - Flood loader (Walther's kit)

    Coal Dealer
    - I think Branchline Trains has a small wood dealer kit
    - Or a combo lumber yard/coal dealer

    Railroad
    - It seems that the railroad itself consumed a lot of the coal it hauled
    - Walther's has a kit, though I'd probably use something a lot smaller for my layout

    Coal town
    - There are several small housing kits available that could simulate a coal town

    Power Plant
    - Walther's kit

    Ammonium-Nitrate
    - Mixed w/ diesel fuel to create an explosive used in mining
    - Delivered by covered hopper car
    - A kitbashed small silo could be used to simulate this

    I think I could model all of the above, and still have plenty of room to model the other industries I'm interested in. There would need to be some considerable trackage at the tipple, probably around 5 in order for everything to operate correctly.

    I'm going to buy a 2-6-6-2 for coal hauling purposes, and I could probably use my GP-7 to handle switching duties at the tipple. The Mallet could then be kept waiting in the wings for the long haul. Does that sound prototypical enough?
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Here are a few coal related industries I'm considering for my 9x6x3 layout:

    Tipples
    - 1 large (Walther's New River Mining Co.)
    - Flood loader (Walther's kit)
    ---------------------------------------------------
    hmmm..Not sure if there was flood loaders in the 50s.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Coal Dealer
    - I think Branchline Trains has a small wood dealer kit
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    I wouldn't have a coal dealer close to the coal field..Even in the 50s trucks was killing the short haul rail traffic.

    - Or a combo lumber yard/coal dealer

    Sounds better with lumber arriving by boxcar.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Railroad
    - It seems that the railroad itself consumed a lot of the coal it hauled
    - Walther's has a kit, though I'd probably use something a lot smaller for my layout
    =================================================
    Recall during the 50s diesel was replacing steam.So..It would depend on how your railroad stands on steam..Is the E&S a steam hold out?

    Coal town
    - There are several small housing kits available that could simulate a coal town
    ================================================
    Absolutely! Remember the "company house was built the same EXCEPT for the foreman's and other supervisor's house..Don't forget the company store.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Power Plant
    - Walther's kit
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Good choice!
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ammonium-Nitrate
    - Mixed w/ diesel fuel to create an explosive used in mining
    - Delivered by covered hopper car
    - A kitbashed small silo could be used to simulate this
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    I suspect that would come from a off line customer and not locally produce-unless its produce in Cleveland.

    I think I could model all of the above, and still have plenty of room to model the other industries I'm interested in. There would need to be some considerable trackage at the tipple, probably around 5 in order for everything to operate correctly.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Again I want to caution you about having industries tied together-it sounds good in theory but,in reality its bad as it limits your operation potential.Remember,you want different industrials that isn't tied to each outher..Many modelers makes that mistake.Recall TANK TRUCKS could and would haul that Ammonium-Nitrate in real life because of the time it takes to move a freight car from point A to point B even on the short haul.It would take at least 2 days for a loaded tank car of Ammonium-Nitrate to find its way from Cleveland to Wheeling and back to the mine whereas a tank truck could haul it in 1 day at a cheaper rate.See? Plan once-rethink twice.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I'm going to buy a 2-6-6-2 for coal hauling purposes, and I could probably use my GP-7 to handle switching duties at the tipple. The Mallet could then be kept waiting in the wings for the long haul. Does that sound prototypical enough?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Why? That 2-6-6-2 could switch the load out as a mine/power plant turn.Why pay 2 five men crews? Another thought is to buy a Small switcher for the mine so they can switch their load out and place the cars on the outbound interchange track..That would save the mine money by not having to pay the E&S switching service charges.
  9. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Here are a few coal related industries I'm considering for my 9x6x3 layout:

    Tipples
    - 1 large (Walther's New River Mining Co.)
    - Flood loader (Walther's kit)
    =======================
    hmmm..Not sure if there was flood loaders in the 50s.
    =======================
    My sources say that by the 50's, larger coal cars were being produced, thus a faster loading system was needed. Truck dumps became more popular, and flood loaders were definitely a part of coal mining by the mid-60's. I can't seem to find a definitive answer on when flood loaders began being used. Therefore, I will skip the flood loader and go with a small truck dump facility or perhaps another, smaller tipple.

    Coal Dealer
    - I think Branchline Trains has a small wood dealer kit
    =======================
    I wouldn't have a coal dealer close to the coal field..Even in the 50s trucks was killing the short haul rail traffic.
    =======================

    - Or a combo lumber yard/coal dealer
    =======================
    Sounds better with lumber arriving by boxcar.
    =======================
    I'm leaning heavily towards this route. I didn't like the idea of having a seperate coal dealer structure, if I even have one at all.

    Railroad
    - It seems that the railroad itself consumed a lot of the coal it hauled
    - Walther's has a kit, though I'd probably use something a lot smaller for my layout
    =======================
    Recall during the 50s diesel was replacing steam.So..It would depend on how your railroad stands on steam..Is the E&S a steam hold out?
    =======================
    Yes, the E&S is definitely a steam holdout. I am a steam fan, and it was hard picking an era. I chose 1953 because it would allow me to realistically use the steam I like, including some of the more powerful models (like the 2-6-6-2) and also use the early diesels (GP-7, ALCo PA's) that I like.

    Coal town
    - There are several small housing kits available that could simulate a coal town
    =======================
    Absolutely! Remember the "company house was built the same EXCEPT for the foreman's and other supervisor's house..Don't forget the company store.
    =======================
    I can't think of the name of the structures off the top of my head, but they'd be perfect for a coal town. I had also planned to add the company store. DPM has a nice model that will be perfect!

    Power Plant
    - Walther's kit
    =======================
    Good choice!
    =======================

    Ammonium-Nitrate
    - Mixed w/ diesel fuel to create an explosive used in mining
    - Delivered by covered hopper car
    - A kitbashed small silo could be used to simulate this
    =======================
    I suspect that would come from a off line customer and not locally produce-unless its produce in Cleveland.
    =======================

    I think I could model all of the above, and still have plenty of room to model the other industries I'm interested in. There would need to be some considerable trackage at the tipple, probably around 5 in order for everything to operate correctly.
    =======================
    Again I want to caution you about having industries tied together-it sounds good in theory but,in reality its bad as it limits your operation potential.Remember,you want different industrials that isn't tied to each outher..Many modelers makes that mistake.Recall TANK TRUCKS could and would haul that Ammonium-Nitrate in real life because of the time it takes to move a freight car from point A to point B even on the short haul.It would take at least 2 days for a loaded tank car of Ammonium-Nitrate to find its way from Cleveland to Wheeling and back to the mine whereas a tank truck could haul it in 1 day at a cheaper rate.See? Plan once-rethink twice.
    =======================
    This is where I don't understand operations...why is having related industry bad? In my mind, that coal has to go somewhere! As for the Ammonium-Nitrate, I believe it would be used in powder form, and shipped in a covered hopper car. At least that's how it was done on Tony Koester's Midland layout. This isn't something set in stone either, I just figured it could be something very small and easily modeled that could add some operating potential.

    I'm going to buy a 2-6-6-2 for coal hauling purposes, and I could probably use my GP-7 to handle switching duties at the tipple. The Mallet could then be kept waiting in the wings for the long haul. Does that sound prototypical enough?
    =======================
    Why? That 2-6-6-2 could switch the load out as a mine/power plant turn.Why pay 2 five men crews? Another thought is to buy a Small switcher for the mine so they can switch their load out and place the cars on the outbound interchange track..That would save the mine money by not having to pay the E&S switching service charges.
    =======================
    I didn't think a Mallet would be a very good choice for switching duty. But I see your point about paying 2 crews. I do like the idea of having a mining company owned switcher to do the task though. I'm sure it would've been a simple all black switcher, but what kind? Decent N scale switchers are hard to find. I have noted that the Life-Like Proto EMD SW8 is a good choice, would that work?
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    First,a 2-6-6-2 was used on mines runs as was 2-8-8-2s..I have seen 2-6-6-6s on mine shifters.I also couldn't find a date when flood loaders was first use.

    As far as on line traffic even the prototype has very little.A railroad the size of yours the on line traffic would be limited to coal going to the lake,power plants or steel mills.Remember mines will ship coal to steels mills,power plants,coke plants and other industries needing coal..Roads like L&N,Southern,Clinchfield,Interstate,Berwind served the coal mines yet very little went to on line industries.L&N hopper cars could end up in at a steel mill in Gary,Chicago or Youngstown.Southern hopper cars could be loaded into lake boats or at a sea port for export.Just because a railroad serves the coal industry is NO sign the coal will be unloaded on line..The same applies to grain,chemicals etc..Vegetables raised in California would end up on the east coast.Beer made in Milwaukee could and would be shipped to other states..See how real railroad traffic works? 95%-in some cases 100% of the traffic is bound to off line industries.Now fast forward to today there is a lot more on line traffic simply because of the mega mergers of the past few years which in made mega size railroads but, thousands of cars are still interchanged.
  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    Okay, maybe I need to be more specific...

    I understand how things work (for the most part) with the prototype. But what am I supposed to do with the model? How do operations work when you're picking up Product A, in this case coal, and not have anywhere to take it?
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    I understand how things work (for the most part) with the prototype. But what am I supposed to do with the model? How do operations work when you're picking up Product A, in this case coal, and not have anywhere to take it?
    =========================================================
    Excellent question and a easy one to answer.:D
    Here are three options.There are several more but,these are the ones I seen in operation.
    1.Loads in empties out..One of the oldest tricks in hobby.Here's how it works.You put a mine on one end of a hill or view block and a power plant on the other end.you then connect these 2 industries with 2 tracks.As you shove "empties" into your mine they will appear at the power as empties.You then pull the loads from the mine and proceed to take them to the power plant as a unit train.To gain miles between the two run a preset number of laps around your layout.You shove the loads into the power plant and they appear at the mine as "new" loads.You then pickup the empties and return them to the mine.

    2.Mine to lake dock holding yard.This is a good method BUT one must return the loads to the mine and the empties to the holding yard.This can be done by hand or you can run a train between operation sessions.


    3.Mine to steel mill.This is another loads in/empties out operation.You shove the loads behind a hill for the steel mill switcher to pickup and you pull the empties just like #1.
    You don't need to model the steel mill just have some tall stacks sticking up behind the hill.
  13. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

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    I've been thinking on this all day...and I just don't get it.

    From what I've read here, and elsewhere, on the "loads in/empties out" process, you're basically pretending to move freight. What I read from another source said that to pull this off correctly, I would need two sets of matching cars (including road numbers).

    What's wrong with pulling empties into the tipple, filling them by dropping coal loads into the hoppers, then taking them to their destination and pulling the loads out? They could then return to the tipple as empties again. This should work for on-line customers such as a power plant, coal dealer, etc.

    How would off-line traffic be simulated? I would still fill the cars at the tipple, but they would end up where?
  14. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

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  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    2-8-2 says I've been thinking on this all day...and I just don't get it.

    From what I've read here, and elsewhere, on the "loads in/empties out" process, you're basically pretending to move freight. What I read from another source said that to pull this off correctly, I would need two sets of matching cars (including road numbers).
    =====================================================
    Sadly there is A LOT of misinformation on empties in/loads out..The biggest is believing one needs a match set and that is one lie that should have never made print.Why? Does the prototype have match sets? The answer is a resounding NO! Then why do we? Simply put we don't.Again misinformation place forth by so called operation experts and operation expert wanna bes.:mad: Why do I boldly state this? After 9 1/2 years working as a brakeman and years of railfaning I am yet to see match sets of cars or ANY freight car with the same number as another.It would be folly to do so because of car tracking and of course switching.
    =====================================================

    What's wrong with pulling empties into the tipple, filling them by dropping coal loads into the hoppers, then taking them to their destination and pulling the loads out? They could then return to the tipple as empties again. This should work for on-line customers such as a power plant, coal dealer, etc.
    =======================================================
    You could and it has been done by using coffee cans of scale coal and a open chute in the tipple.The cars are usually unloaded by a rotary dumper like Walthers makes or made..Now you enter the world of live loads. and should you have a derailment guess where that live load goes if the car(s) turn over?.
    I never heard of it being done in N Scale though.

    How would off-line traffic be simulated? I would still fill the cars at the tipple, but they would end up where?
    ======================================================
    The BEST way is by using a stagging yard..Say you are modeling the Wheeling Division..The stagging yard would represent E&S other divisions and connections.This is how trains would enter and leave the Wheeling Division.
  16. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    Because it's an illusion on the model railroad. Most people who talk of this scheme don't understand how it's supposed to work. You're supposed to have two sets with matching numbers, one loaded and one empty, and two industries connected through a backdrop with sufficient trackage hidden to accomodate a whole trainset. An empty trainset goes into the coal mine and "magically" after a few minute wait the same train comes out loaded. In reality what happened the loaded trainset was picked up by the operator and brought back out of the mine trackage, giving the illusion that it had been loaded. It's then run around the layout and put into the power plant where the same operation is reversed. Yes, it's decidedly 1970s, if not older, modeling, but it still seems rather popular. Today most would be happy to have a staging yard and only simulate one leg of a train's journey.
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Brian,That doesn't wash.You have enough time track side have YOU seen any cars being pulled with the same number? Even at Sandusky the cars takes 2-3 days to unload.
    Why fake operations? Why NOT OPERATE like the real thing?
    I really hate that lie more so now then it did when it first appeared in MR! :curse:
  18. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    Larry, it's not supposed to be prototypical. It's an old modeler's technique to create an illusion on the layout. I know there not not duplicate cars like that in the real world, but I know it's damn well easier to load and unload prototype cars than it is to simulate it properly on a model. Need I remind you there are many things on a model railroad that aren't prototypical but they are used anyway to create an illusion on the layout?
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Brain,In the beginning it was for loaded and empty hoppers regardless of the car number then some wise expert thought twin sets would be better..No its not better and takes AWAY from prototypical operation that many of us has perfected over the years.
  20. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    I won't argue that it does demean the prototypical atmosphere that some of us strive, but this goes back to before the vast majority of modelers looked at the hobby as more than building models. The example in my mind was from the Clinchfield project layout in the mid-1970s. I'm sure it wasn't a new idea then. Maybe it goes back to the '60s or even the '50s. That's a lot longer than most people perceived model railroading as an outlet for modeling the prototype.