Iron Belt layout - track laid (plan w/photos)

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
RexHea said:
This is a picture I took at the Wrecking Crews layout of an unloading crane at work on the Warrior River. Although not exactly the same type, it does a similar job. The crane was scratchbuilt by one of the members. If Carey sees this he can add some details to this post.
You got it Rex - smaller size, same concept. Some of my fellow mill modelers were using that type of crane on their layouts before Walthers introduced their own ore bridge.

jbaakko said:
So, Ken, how does this process change with the Self Unloaders?
It eliminates Step 1 of the process, but the clamshell is still necessary to move the ore from the stockpile to the transfer car. The drawbridge-like extensions on the Great Lakes ore bridges have been continuosly in the 'up' position for probably the past 10 years at least.

... I think I found some boxcars for my RR's fleet of custom cars... Does your RR own Steel Cars?
Yeah Josh it does (~10), except people might not know it yet because they are painted for other roads (not Iron Belt) ;) .
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
RexHea said:
This is a picture I took at the Wrecking Crews layout of an unloading crane at work on the Warrior River. Although not exactly the same type, it does a similar job. The crane was scratchbuilt by one of the members. If Carey sees this he can add some details to this post.
You got it Rex - smaller size, same concept. Some of my fellow mill modelers were using that type of crane on their layouts before Walthers introduced their own ore bridge.

jbaakko said:
So, Ken, how does this process change with the Self Unloaders?
It eliminates Step 1 of the process, but the clamshell is still necessary to move the ore from the stockpile to the transfer car. The drawbridge-like extensions on the Great Lakes ore bridges have been continuosly in the 'up' position for probably the past 10 years at least.

... I think I found some boxcars for my RR's fleet of custom cars... Does your RR own Steel Cars?
Yeah Josh it does (~10), except people might not know it yet because they are painted for other roads (not Iron Belt) ;) .
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
CSX_road_slug said:
It eliminates Step 1 of the process, but the clamshell is still necessary to move the ore from the stockpile to the transfer car. The drawbridge-like extensions on the Great Lakes ore bridges have been continuosly in the 'up' position for probably the past 10 years at least.
I see... Sounds intreresting! I miss those big ships, when they'd either do one of a few things in my hometown:
1. Stop over for a storm
2. Pass through the canal because of a storm
3. Pass through cause they were late
4. the annual salt unloading...

CSX_road_slug said:
Yeah Josh it does (~10), except people might not know it yet because they are painted for other roads (not Iron Belt) ;) .
Ahh, so, I *could* make one or two myself later on... :p
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Signature Structures Finally Installed

I've finally installed the trio of structures that unmistakably identify my Iron Belt layout as being steel mill-centered:
a blast furnace, an ore bridge [a.k.a. traveling overhead crane] and a Great Lakes ore boat.
Even though the layout is still far from "complete" - i.e., ready to accept locos and rolling stock - I still consider the
setup of these structures a major milestone, due to all the tweaking that was necessary to make them fit in their limited space.
[NOTE: The MDF boards used as backgrounds in the photos are only there temporarily
for the duration of the photo shoot.]

We'll start wih a panoramic view of the forward end of the SS Marquette, with the open clamshell bucket silhouetted against
the 'blue sky' MDF backdrop hovering over the ore stockpile. At left is the rotary dumper, which receives unit trains of bituminous coal
for the coke ovens (not yet installed). The ore and limestone are received by water from mines in Minnesota and northern Michigan.
bf_boat_and_bridge_01.jpg




Next, we have a close-up view of the outbound staging track for emptied coal hoppers.
Each individual car, after being dumped, glides down the exit track via gravity and onto the dock track.
As soon as ten (10) empty hopper cars have accumulated on the dock, they must be cleared - moved to an outbound staging yard -
to make room for more.
In the beginning of operations, and for the forseeable future, the rotary dumper will be powered by the Hand Of Providence -
dumping live coal loads into a bucket under the layout. [Some years from now if I feel really ambitious then I'll motorize it.]
20-car unit trains of coal hoppers will be run point-to-point between here and a kitbashed New River mine,
where the recycled coal will be reloaded.
bf_bridge_and_boat_02.jpg




Panning toward the right, we have a view of the forward house of the SS Marquette,
named after an ore-mining town in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Back in 1962, I saw a color photo in Colliers Encyclopidia of the Cleveland-Cliffs vessel Ishpeming
being gently pulled away from dockside by a tugboat on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, OH; ever since
then I have always dreamed of replicating that scene (still need to find a decent scale model of a Great Lakes harbor tug though!).
marquette_fwd_closeup.jpg




Moving toward the aft end of the Marquette, we have a full panoramic view of her looking forward. Since I lacked
an adequate supply of sky-blue MDF for a backdrop, I needed to digitally superimpose some light-blue
coloring in the upper left-hand corner to cover up cluttered shelves and other eyesores.
marquette_aft_three_qtr_view.jpg




Zooming in, this aft-end view emphasizes the ore bridge and the blast furnace with her three stoves.
marquette_aft_closeup.jpg




Finally, in this close-up view of Marquette's stern, we see Ol' Glory flying the colors that never run!
ole_glory_flyin.jpg


How the Photos Were Staged

Getting views such as these required serious 'manipulation' of the surroundings as one might imagine. Sky-blue-colored insulating foam board
(MDF) had to be positioned immediately behind the larger structures not only to provide a contrasting background, but also
to hide the various tools and debris that still litter the under-construction layout. Furthermore, that murky-green river occupies
an aisle that is kept open at all other times. So this layout will have two possible ways to exist: 'operation' mode or 'photo' mode.

Once I finished installing the structures, I needed to get some triangular shelf brackets.
harbor_support_brackets.jpg


These had to be loosely attached to the benchwork via wood screws, at a level that would leave the top edge of a
sheet of painted MDF flush with the shelf supporting the Marquette.
harbor_support_brackets02.jpg




Next, the MDF painted in the same color of river-bottom silt was laid upon the shelf brackets...
silt_colored_MDF.jpg




...then covered with the dark-green cellophane to create a murky freshwater harbor like
those typically found on the shores of the lower Great Lakes.
aisle_under_water.jpg


Now it's time to install to remaining steel mill structures: coke ovens, basic
oxygen furnace, etc.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Simply BEAUTIFUL KEN! I love the draw of Great Lakes shipping, RR'ing and Mining. IIRC there was a site, that described 2 good examples of Great lakes tug boats, but heck if I could find it. I'd direct you to check out Resin Unlimited, but if seems their domain expired!!!! I think they have a tugboat. I KNOW they had some NICE Ore Frighters, more modern though, like the Fitz...

Keep it up! I gotta get this ITC gondola weathered so that it can haul scap...
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
jbaakko said:
Simply BEAUTIFUL KEN! I love the draw of Great Lakes shipping, RR'ing and Mining. IIRC there was a site, that described 2 good examples of Great lakes tug boats, but heck if I could find it. I'd direct you to check out Resin Unlimited, but if seems their domain expired!!!! I think they have a tugboat. I KNOW they had some NICE Ore Frighters, more modern though, like the Fitz...

Keep it up! I gotta get this ITC gondola weathered so that it can haul scap...
Interesting that you should mention about Resin Unlimited, Josh - I have an interesting story to tell about that :D , but I don't have time to type it right this moment (gotta put my youngest one to bed)...I'll come back to it later, remind me if I forget...
 
D

dthurman

Guest
jbaakko said:
I gotta get this ITC gondola weathered so that it can haul scap...
I want to see the Illinois Terminal gondola. They ran threw Morton IL when I was a kid, they are my second love for a railroad. Too bad they got borged by N&W/NS :(
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
CSX_road_slug said:
Interesting that you should mention about Resin Unlimited, Josh - I have an interesting story to tell about that :D , but I don't have time to type it right this moment (gotta put my youngest one to bed)...I'll come back to it later, remind me if I forget...
OK where was I at? Oh yeah, Resin Unlimited...When I sold my previous home I made a nice profit on it, so I had a little spending money. I figured I would buy a model of the Fitz so I could have a Great Lakes steel mill like I had always wanted. So I placed an order for one thru Peach Creek Shops. RUI kept pushing back the release date of when they would start shipping their Fitz models, so I eventually got frustrated and went with Sylvan instead.

Anyway, what apparently had happened with RUI was, they never realized how extremely difficult it is to mass-produce large resin castings and have them all fit together perfectly - this had never been obvious to them while they were individually casting the different sections of their "pilot" model. Now there was no way they could charge the advertised price for their Fitz model and make a profit if they did the castings the same way they did for the "show" model, so they quietly withdrew it - what a shame!:(

It worked out better for me in the end though, since this smaller Sylvan hull barely fits on my layout as it is - and it's 30 inches shorter than the Fitz!
 
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jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Yeah, I'm begining to wonder if something happened to them? They had a few things I wanted. Oh well I guess I'll just track down that Resin UP Turbine, and then a Lionel one, and the Tower 55 one when they release it.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Outstanding KenL!
All this good work you are accomplishing is putting a little fire under me to get more done instead of standing around thinking about it.;) :)
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
RexHea said:
Outstanding KenL!
All this good work you are accomplishing is putting a little fire under me to get more done instead of standing around thinking about it.;) :)
Ah but you HAVE indeed accomplished a lot, mon ami... Tsunamies, signal wiring, etc. - I'm not even anywhere close to that point yet!
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
A vexing dilemma finally resolved!

In spite of all the hoopla over the blast furnace/Lakeboat photos, that was stuff I did two weeks ago. Here's what I did today - added another spur in the town of East Minister to be used as an interchange track for surplus coal hoppers. Some of you may have seen another thread I posted about whether I could simultaneously have unit trains passing thru it, and park a handful of empty hoppers there. The feedback I got from other forum members, was that it would not be something seen in any prototype mine, it is either all of one or all of the other. But the other day, a solution jumped out at me: I could use the empty space where a second track had formerly occupied my mainline right-of-way, to install an interchange track capable of holding 8-10 hopper cars. Between op sessions, the empty hoppers would travel over an off-layout shortline to various small family-owned coal mines, and full hoppers from these mines would in turn be spotted for pickup on the interchange track. Problem solved - I could once again include a string of coal hoppers in my way freight's switch list as I originally wanted!

Here are two photos looking at the sleepy little town of East Minister. (Please ignore the piles of disassembled industrial architecture in the background... :eek: ) In the 'before' shot, you can see [on the right] where some leftover cork roadbed sits unused - this used to be a convergence of two mainline tracks when this piece of my layout was a standalone module:
East_Minister_before_interchange_tr.jpg


So I picked up an Atlas Custom-Line #6 left-hand turnout and installed that directly upon the spot where the previous junction had been, attached ~54 linear inches of FlexTrack onto the right, and - voila! - there was my interchange!
East_Minister__after_interchange_tr.jpg
 
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
CSX_road_slug said:
In spite of all the hoopla over the blast furnace/Lakeboat photos, that was stuff I did two weeks ago. Here's what I did today - added another spur in the town of East Minister to be used as an interchange track for surplus coal hoppers. Some of you may have seen another thread I posted about whether I could simultaneously have unit trains passing thru it, and park a handful of empty hoppers there. The feedback I got from other forum members, was that it would not be something seen in any prototype mine, it is either all of one or all of the other. But the other day, a solution jumped out at me: I could use the empty space where a second track had formerly occupied my mainline right-of-way, to install an interchange track capable of holding 8-10 hopper cars. Between op sessions, the empty hoppers would travel over an off-layout shortline to various small family-owned coal mines, and full hoppers from these mines would in turn be spotted for pickup on the interchange track. Problem solved - I could once again include a string of coal hoppers in my way freight's switch list as I originally wanted!

Here are two photos looking at the sleepy little town of East Minister. (Please ignore the piles of disassembled industrial architecture in the background... :eek: ) In the 'before' shot, you can see [on the right] where some leftover cork roadbed sits unused - this used to be a convergence of two mainline tracks when this piece of my layout was a standalone module:

So I picked up an Atlas Custom-Line #6 left-hand turnout and installed that directly upon the spot where the previous junction had been, attached ~54 linear inches of FlexTrack onto the right, and - voila! - there was my interchange!
Great idea Ken. I like the looks of it. The extra track also adds visual appeal to the scene. Good work!
 
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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
grande man said:
Great idea Ken. I like the looks of it. The extra track also adds visual appeal to the scene. Good work!
Thanx Eric, I guess that's an unplanned "side benefit" (no pun intended) of a track that is really nothing more than a parking lot for excess hopper cars;)
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
C'mon Baby Light My FIRE...!

[LATER EDIT - the following text and pictures were inserted on February 12, 2006:]

BOF Buildings Described

The following paragraphs attempt to explain how a rectangular plexiglas box, combined with two Walther Eleltric Arc Furnace building shells, morphed into an HO scale Basic Oxygen Furnace melt shop. A friend of mine asked me for measurements and under-construction photos, so I partially disassembled the mill to allow for some shots of the rectangular section and the modified EAF buildings. [The ingot teeming area, which is merely covered by a Walthers Rolling Mill building, will not be discussed at this time.]

Rectangular Building

To help create an illusion of enormous size, a rectangular addition had to be added to the pair of EAF buildings that housed the charging area. Obviously standard Evergreen styrene sheet wouldn't have the required rigidity for such a large area (24"Lx10"Wx20"H), so I used 0.25"-thick plexiglas instead. A friend of mine, who owned a table saw with a blade specially-suited for cutting this type of material, was kind enough to cut the desired shapes for me.

The following GIF image attempts to show the shapes and measurements of the plexiglas pieces that were used to form the rectanglar building section. [NOTE: Due to space limitations, I needed to cut a 3" high, 16" long opening along the bottom of the rear wall to allow passage of trains - you may not need to do that with your own structure.] Since I was able to use Evergreen 0.125"-thick styrene for the roof, I ommitted that 9.5" by 23.5" sheet from the measurement diagram to save space.

BOF_rect_box_diagrams.gif



The next JPEG image shows a view of the front with the twin EAF buildings removed. I coated the interior walls generously with flat black paint to create the illusion of a large, caverous interior - I could not allow the reflected light from the 40watt BOF light bulb to spoil that effect. I later discovered that I would need to drape a layer of aluminum foil (also painted black) over the BOF vessel enclosure to prevent 'stray' light from escaping.
BOF_rect_box_front_view.jpg



Here is a view of the rear wall, rarely seen by visitors, so I have not yet gotten around to "beautifying" this area. The tiny supporting "column" in the lower right-hand corner was cemented on, since attempting to make a right-angle cut on a sheet of quarter-inch plexiglas would be not only impractical, but dangerous as well!
BOF_rect_box_rear_view.jpg



This view of one of the ends was the best I could hope to get without totally dismantling the entire structure. If I would have had the foresight to completely cover the raw plexiglas with a layer of flat black paint before applying the zinc-chromate red, that unwanted "fiber-optic" effect visible in the left corner would not be a problem!:eek:
BOF_rect_box_side_view.jpg


Modified Walthers EAF Buildings

Now let's have a look at the two Walthers EAF buildings, which house the area "where the action is." The first image shows a 3/4-angle view into the side that sits adjacent to the furnace vessel, with the overhead crane and charging ladle still in position:
BOF_EAF_bldg_furn_side_view1.jpg


Here is another view of the rear of the same structure, showing the cutout area [to allow access to the furnace] and the covering of painted aluminum foil to contain stray light:
BOF_EAF_bldg_furn_side_view2.jpg



Next, we have a 3/4-angle view into the second of the two modified EAF structures. This covers what I call the "receiving" area, where the bottle cars discharge their hot pig iron into the charging ladle in a pit, and scrap metal is unloaded from gondola cars into a special charging bucket. Unlike the furnace-side structure, the rear wall has been left intact - but the front wall has been cut open to allow easier viewing of the BOF vessel and charging platform.
BOF_EAF_bldg_rcvg_side_view1.jpg



As with the first modified Walthers building, the rear has been shrouded in aluminum foil to prevent the bright light the the 40watt BOF bulb from shining thru:
BOF_EAF_bldg_rcvg_side_view2.jpg



########################################################################
[Back to original post....]

OK gang, here are the pictures to tell the story of what I've been working on since last Sunday.

The next major structure I'll be putting on the layout is the Basic Oxygen Furnace mill; the word 'basic' refers to the type of chemicals used in the refining process, i.e. "base" as opposed to "acid". One thing I wanted to do is portray the top opening of the vessel, where scrap metal, and liquid 'pig' iron are dumped in. At 2700 degrees F., that baby's gonna glow - really bright! So what I did first, was to make a BOF vessel out of self-hardening clay since that material can endure the heat from continuous exposure to a 40watt light bulb. The bulb fits right up inside the vessel (see below); the black painted foil captures and absorbs stray light, it will NOT be visible once the building has been fully assembled.
01_BOF_clay_vessel_in_place.jpg



Of course, a glowing light bulb by itself is not going to look right; liquid metal lies flat on the top, not hemisherical! Luckily there is a workaround:
Flames often emanate from the opening, so I can tear off a little swatch of yellow fiberglas insulation batting (below)...
02_fiberglas_insulation_batting.jpg



...and prop it over the vessel opening, thusly... (Can't see the light bulb as easily now, can you?)
03_BOF_w_fiberglas.jpg



Flick the switch, and presto... we've got FIRE!
04_BOF_lit_up.jpg



OK, what's wrong with this picture [aside from the fact that the crane is straddling a pair of paint cans)? Answer: The second trolley that controls the tipper hook is missing! I was ready to reassemble the entire building at 6:30pm on Sunday (Jan 20), but that missing trolley stopped me dead in my tracks; I spent the next 3 hours turning that trainroom upside-down hunting for the missing pieces.
05_missing_tipper_hook.jpg



I never did turn up the missing tipper-hook trolley, but I found these two gems that I had totally forgotten about: a cast-resin charging
ladle and scrap metal box
, manufactured by a fellow steel modeler named Brandon Wehe in central Illinois.
06_resin_ladle_and_scrap_box.jpg



I bought these items during an annual RRI/SIG meet in Pittsburgh 3 years ago, but wasn't sure I could use them. Now, since I had to scratchbuild my own replacement tram and tipper hook...
07_new_tipper_hook_and_tram.jpg



...I may as well install a larger, wider set of J-hooks to accommodate the new ladle and scrap box:
08_wider_J_hooks_and_new_tram.jpg



Once they were painted by Tuesday night, I was back at the point I should've been at on 6:30pm Sunday...
09_the_way_it_shoulda_been.jpg



Here is how I plan to position the charging ladle in front of the flaming BOF:
10_newly_painted_charging_ladle.jpg



...and here's what the scrap box looks like when ready for dumping:
11_newly_painted_scrap_charging_box.jpg


I'm waiting until I have the trains back on the layout before snapping any more pics of the BOF shop, that's all for now...thanks for dropping by!:D
 
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