Industry: Who wants French Fries?

Discussion in 'Trackside Photos & Details' started by Gary S., Dec 28, 2006.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here are some photos of the Mountain King Potato factory. From the looks of it, they receive boxcar loads of potatoes and then bag them up and otherwise process them for shipment by either rail or truck to the retailers. It also appears they do some bulk loading of trucks too.

    Attached Files:

  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    Some close-up photos of the machinery

    Attached Files:

  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    6,590
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mmmmmmm, french fries.....:D:D
  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,950
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gary,Thanks for sharing a great industry idea!! :thumb:
  5. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    No problem, there are a few more in the industrial park where these came from. I'll get some shots sometime. I'm considering doing the potato processing plant as a wall flat for my layout. I like the pipes and stuff that go over the tracks. This will be an interesting industry to kitbash/scratchbuild with all the unloading/loading machinery.
  6. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Messages:
    5,347
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice pictures with lots of great details that might work for a lot of industries!
    Ralphs
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can get some close-up shots if anyone needs them. I work just down the street from this place.
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    Anyone have thoughts on this? Do you think they bring the potatoes bulk loaded in boxcars? The chutes in the pic looks like it can be lowered down into the door of the boxcar, and there is a conveyor underneath the chute?

    Would someone have to get in the boxcar to facilitate getting all the potatoes to the chute? And how would the potatoes be loaded in the car in the first place? Am I missing something?

    Perhaps I can arrange a tour of the facility?

    Attached Files:

  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2001
    Messages:
    2,950
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gary,I was unable to find any useful information on the web about loading/unloading potatoes..I would like to find out though.
  10. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
    http://www.mtnking.com/products.html They certtainly would bring them in by truck - see your 3rd photo in the second batch - but I guess you need to ask them direct - that chute does look as though it folds out against the car-side though
    Shortliner (Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  11. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know if the potatoes are loaded in bulk or in sacks. I suspect the potatoes come in bagged, in which case the ramp is probably used for either a fork lift or pallet jack to unload. The open truck in the outside is not bringing potatoes in or out of the plant. I think it is a compost truck hauling out potatoe peels. I noticed the cars are all Western Fruit Growers Express cars, but I don't see any mechanical refrigeration equipment on either end of the cars that we can see both ends of. That makes me think the potatoes come in insulated boxcars. They might use mechanical refrigeration in the summer months. That open topped truck under the conveyor is not hauling potatoes in or out. It appears to be loaded with potatoe peelings from the french fry making process. I suspect the peels either go out to hog farms for pig feed or are used for composting to make fertilizer, but there may be other uses of the peelings that I'm not aware of. The trailers parked at the dock on the other side of the plant are all refrigerated, so I think they receive bulk potatoes by railcar, process them into frozen french frys or "tater tots," or other frozen potato products and ship them out by refrigerated truck. It is a shame that there is no evidence of a shipping track for refrigerated rail cars on the shipping side of the plant, but a person could freelance a facility that received bags of potatoes on one side and shipped car loads of frozen potatoe products out the other side.
  12. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looking at their site - they only appear to do pre-pack potatoes for supermarkets - it doesn't refer to chips or frozen - but then I'm about 6000 miles away, so what do I know?
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands
  13. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
  14. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    I should have looked at your link first, Jack. After checking the link, they probably do receive the potaotes in bulk. The chutes on one side and the chute on the door with the #18 over it would indicate that they unload from both tracks. The inside track would unload into the building, the outside track would unload into the chute under ground to a conveyor into the building. If all they do is wash, sort and bag fresh potatoes for grocery stores, then the open truck under the conveyor is probably a cull bin for damaged potatoes or those that are otherwise not suitable for direct sale. I don't know where the culls would go from there. In the So Cal Citrus industry, culls were sent to juice plants or jam packing plants to be made into orange juice, lemonade, or marmelade. Some went to processors making citron for fruit cakes. If they just dump the culls into an open truck like that year round, they probably are no good for French fries or other frozen potatoe products, so they may go out for animal feed or compost.
  15. shortliner

    shortliner Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    0
    Russ - I think you are right, but it would certainly make a good Agri-industrial - even as a "flat"
    Shortliner(Jack)away up here in the Highlands and wishing you all a great Hogmany and 2007
  16. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    It may not be totally prototypical, but it would seem that with a long flat, you could do a "loads in loads out" industry by having boxcars bringing potatoes into one end of the plant and reefers hauling out frozen french fries from the other end of the plant.
  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    I went over to the potato plant again today. There is no doubt the potatoes come in bulk, loaded in the boxcars. The potatoes are unloaded down the chute into a trough that runs toward the building. Not sure where they go into the building at. There was a bunch of water coming out of the boxcar door running into the metal trough.

    Attached Files:

  18. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    Also, there is no doubt that whole potatoes get loaded bulk into trucks and trailers right here. Here are some pics, and there were whole potatoes going through the conveyors to the trailers, and they didn't look like bad ones either. I'm sure the trucks and trailers take the bulk potatoes to "farmer's markets" and grocery stores.

    Attached Files:

  19. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Messages:
    4,711
    Likes Received:
    0
    Did you see any names on the trailers and trucks being loaded with bulk potatoes? How big are the trailers being loaded with bulk potatoes? Is that semi in the background of the middle pic being loaded with bulk potatoes? A farmer's market truck would most likely be a pick up or small bobtail. Do any of your local grocery stores carry potatoes in bulk on produce stands, or are they all bagged? If your local grocery stores have all of their potatoes sold in bags, then I'm not sure there would be anyplace big enough to retail the potatoes bulk to justify the use of a semi capable of hauling 20 tons at a time. The semis may be taking the bulk potatoes to another processor who is cutting them into French fries, or making potatoe cakes and freezing them in bags for further distribution.
  20. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,694
    Likes Received:
    0
    At the truck loading dock on the other side of the building, there were all manner of grocery store 18 wheeler trailers, I assume this is where the bagged potatoes go.

    I've seen bobtails and small trailers like in the photo at the bulk load conveyor. They did not have names on them that I noticed. There are several huge "farmer's markets" around Houston and I believe this is where these loads would go. And from what I could tell, those semi trailers were being loaded with bulk potatoes also.

    Most of the grocery stores do sell loose potatoes along with bagged.

    That is a definite possibility. Thanks for your interest, and to me, this is a really nice industry. It is kind of fun to wonder about the operation and dig up clues. I'll go back over there next week and see what else we can discover.