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Corner Real Estate

Quite a number of industries/structures have been considered for this corner piece of real estate.
area and initial thoughts.jpg

Most recently I had moved 'Allied Rail Rebuilders' out of that very corner, and out to an open field in front of the bridge portion of the stone arch viaduct.

My intention was to pursue placing a power plant scene in that corner location, building flat of that power plant against the backdrop , image of big coal pile on the backdrop, then electrical distribution structure out in front of the plant. (and maybe 3 smoke stacks).

Oops, .....this morning I unpacked and was taking photos of the coke structures that were part of that steel mill scene I bought a few years ago. I figured I might as well sell this structure off as there is no way I would have room for it down near my steel mill. I had never really looked at one of these coke plants that closely, nor considered utilizing one on my layout.

BUT I got to thinking, that being another coal consumer, would this structure fit into that corner along with the coal fired power plant?....just maybe? It is a pretty interesting structure that could stand on its own rather than being directly attached to the steel mill.

So here is a little mock-up I did,..

I'm liking it,...even while I will be accused of 'too much' in a small space


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Awhile back I got this suggestion given to me about a few of my errors.

Hi Brian,

Have a look at the next 2 photos

Photo1 showing a new coal delivery track. Keep an eye on the area labelled "Bench".

Key points

  • rotate the whole Quench structure 180 degrees so that the Quench tower over the Benzol Track is over the Hot Car track. The quench tower's sole reason for existence is to quench hot coke moved from the ovens by the hotcar before the coke burns away to nothing.
  • a new Coal-In track - given the number of ovens and that it takes 16-24 hours to cook an oven of coal for pushing as coke and at about 20 tons/oven, then its feasible we can have a short Coal-In Track that takes about 2 by 100-ton cars of coal at a time several times daily that would meet the oven's requirements and not take up much space.
  • a Coke-Out track
  • The Benzol track can be fitted with a high-level tank-loading platform for loading out by-products such as Benzol, Napthalene, Toluene, etc.A photo of a By-products plant can be pasted on the backscene.

The next photo show the location of some of the new structure that would tie it all together.

New structures

  • Gate - to isolate the hotcar track from the rest of the layout. Hotcars are usually captive to the battery. We can go into the finer points their design later.
  • Wharf - Ideally this should be long enough to "catch" multiple loads of coke dumped by the hot car. However we could get away with a short wharf of about 2-3 hotcar lengths.
  • Dump - on the Coal-In track simply a corrugated iron roof and sidewall to cover a non-visible hopper and conveyor belt that feeds across to the other conveyor that heads up to the coal bin above the battery
  • Tanks - small concrete pondages that allow any coke fines in the runoff quench water to settle out before the surplus quench water is returned to tanks in the top of the building next to the quencher. About 4/5 of the quench water doesn't escape as steam and is recycled to the quencher tanks.
  • Quench stack - not shown - This is a large diameter stack that allows steam to escape from the quencher (for HO think about the size of the cardboard cylinder in a roll of hand towel) This is adjcaent to the concrete quencher structure, where-ever you can fit it in.
  • Screens - ideally there should be 2-tracks out, one for "small" and the other for "lump". The lump feed goes to the blast furnace highline and the smalls go to domestic markets (foundries/household use etc) or are used as feed at a sinter plant. One of the coaling tower kits could be re-purposed as the screens. Your unused conveyor runs from the wharf to the screens.

That ought to do to get your thinking started,
John Garaty
I was glad to get this knowledgeable info from a fellow who actually worked at a coke plant.


Well-Known Member
Then I got this info,...
if its got the coke collecting car (hotcar) and its tracks with the quencher chamber, then that is the "coke side" . If your model has the ram on it, then that's the "pusher side".

The big pipe with the yellow arrow is the gas off-take main This took the gas and other compounds liberated during the coking process off to the by-products plant for separation into gas, sulphate of ammonia, benzol, toluene, tar and other compounds. On all the batteries at Port Kembla, this gas main was on the coke side, but I can think of no real engineering reason why this should be so.

As far as light coming from the battery, on the coke side the only light would come from the oven that was in the process of being pushed. The door extractor machine that runs along the coke bench beside the hotcar track on the has 2 purposes. The first is to take out the coke side oven door prior to pushing and then to re-install the cokeside oven door after the oven is pushed. The second purpose is to insert the coke guide into the oven after the cokeside door is removed. The coke guide forms a hollow channel the height and width of the oven that carries the coke across into the hotcar while the oven is being pushed. The will be a continuous red/yellow glow from the oven that can be seen while the coke guide is in place or when the extractor moves clear of the oven after the push so any spillage can be cleared from the bench before the extractor moves back in to re-install the oven door.

The oven also has to be "taken off main" before the doors can be removed from either side for pushing. This involves "lifting the lid" and doing some other stuff on the vertical standpipe that feeds across to the gas off-take main (with the yellow arrow). While the oven is "off main", there is usually flame coming from the top of the standpipe. The oven "goes back on main" after both oven doors have been re-installed after the oven has been pushed and the oven has been charged and levelled.

Usually there is very little light from the pusher side, even when the door is out for the push because the ram and its equipment gets in the way. As soon as the pusher side door is removed, the ram beam is inserted just into the oven, The front of the ram beam is used to support the face of the coke in the oven before it is actually pushed, but this also prevents a lot of light form escaping from the oven..After the push, the ram beam comes back into the ram and the tall vertical face of the front of the ram beam would probably be only about 5' to 10' back from the oven edge. Any coke spillage is quickly shovelled back into the oven before the pusher side oven door is replaced.

Hotcars are usually restricted to each oven battery but they can be shared between batteries while the adjacent battery's hotcar is down for maintenance. This is not ideal because it slows down the pushing rate of both oven batteries. At Port Kembla we had 6 separate oven batteries all lined up on the one hotcar track. In the mid 1970's #2 Battery was dead, but the hotcar from #3 Battery ran through to either #1 or #4 battery. Another part of the trainee's duty was to be the "observer" when this happened.

Hotcars are very specialised pieces of equipment. The driving locomotive is electrically powered by live rails under the side of the coke bench. The actual catching wagon has an angled deck on it and is robust enough to take having several thousand gallons of water dropped on every 10 minutes or so when the coke is being quenched under the quenching tower. The hotcar does a simple yo-yo run - catch the oven as it is pushed in a nice even thickness layer/move to under the quencher tower/quench the coke/move to the coke wharf and drop the quenched coke onto the coke wharf/close the coke drop doors on the hot car wagon and move to where the Extractor is set up for the next push/repeat until the end of shift. It sounds easy, but it isn't.

If you have 2 rams in action on a battery the hot car becomes "the weakest link" in how quickly you can push ovens. This is another reason why the hotcar stays on its assigned battery. If there is only one ram operating on the pusher side (most usually) then the ram becomes the weakest link, which is why the ram driver is the top paid operator on the battery.

I hope that this helps you to make some sense out of what your Walthers kit represents.

John Garaty


Well-Known Member
So begins my attempt to correct my mistakes, while concurrently trying to keep the plan simple

I have moved my quenching structure out from the wall, and aligned it with the quenching car track. Now that new coke can be cooled off by quenching, and furthermore perhaps a few hours sitting on one of several spur tracks back there.

Now that track over near the wall can become my coal-in track? I would image that the conveyor that goes up to the coke plant's coal reserve could be picking that coal up from a grated area at the end of that spur (where that cardboard box is),...or perhaps it could be a covered drop off ? .....

That would give the coke plant its own supply of good quality coal, and alternately provide a holding track where quenched coke cars might rest for some period of time?

BTW I think I need to eventually get something like this for that side of the coke oven,..



Well-Known Member
How about if the drop off point for that coal-in was a vertical coal tower that accepts the coal cars, then delivers the coal to the coke terminal via a conveyor from the bottom of its coal bin (which is above the coal cars themselves).

I would have to provide an opening in that lower segment (silver portion) of that coal tower.


Well-Known Member
New Coke Wharf Location

Okay as I looked thru a lot of those photos today I did see a lot of wharf locations right off that hot track. So now I propose to put a wharf right along the coke collection track (the white slab in these photos). And I will add a new track down to that wharf to pick up the cooled off coke. Don't know that I will detail that loading procedure yet.

I debated as to whether to provide that additional turnout for the hot track itself, but since I have enough turnouts I though I would go ahead and provide it.


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Wow, I see my last posting to this subject thread was back in June. I've done quite a number of things since then, and need to update this thread soon, especially since I am starting to lay track.


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LED lighting and New Background Paint Job

I added valances to my LED lighting and repainted the whole rooms walls and ceilings with a new blue paint. I LIKE the way it turned out.

Here are some photos of my lastest LED lighting with the valences I made out of drip-edge metal extrustions

There were still two lights on the other end that I was wondering how to handle. I decided to do the same valences on them but placed at a slight angle. (they are also still their original white color as I have not painted them the blue sky color yet.

I then went down to the deck below where I felt the lighting in the corner was not so good due to the single light out at the edge being just a little too far away. So I added a second LED tube to the underside of that deck using some small 90 degree alum brackets glued to the backside of the LED tube, and screwed into the wood overhead,..brightens up that corner,..



Well-Known Member
I removed that vertical post between the 2 decks, and substituted a wire hanger from the ceiling. That opens up that area even more, and now I am laying track in that freight yard area.


Well-Known Member
And I moved my fueling/sanding structure to another location in that yard.


I'll likely have to kit-bash that facility to look something like the Diamond Scale structure

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