Iron & Steel Manufacturing

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IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
If you are a fan of Dean Freytag, then this is the place for you! :D

Anything related to the modeling of railroads in, and around, steel mills is welcomed in this thread. I know I am not the only person with a Walthers blast furnace on his layout, so come on in and show us what's on your pike; or feel free to ask questions if you are considering building a steel mill-oriented layout.
 
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dthurman

Guest
I worked for a scrap yard that supplied steel and recycled wire from Keystone Steel and Wire in Bartonville IL. Our yard was actually inside the steel mill plant. Let me do some remembering and I will try and post what I recall from my long time ago younger days, it's been 20+ years since I worked there. Where has all the time gone :(
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Walthers Coke Plant

Fellow Steel modelers, I have a question about the older Walthers Coke plant. As you know the kit is very much lacking in detail and parts. I am looking for photos and ideas of the work done by other modelers to prototype the kit into a believable industry.

I have found many pictures of prototype coke operations, but they are usually zeroed in on a specific process and it is hard to get a good idea of what it should look like overall. My modeling detail doesn't have to be at the rivet (pipe) counter level, but I would like enough of the major components for realism. Also, information on any add-on parts would be a plus.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
RexHea said:
Fellow Steel modelers, I have a question about the older Walthers Coke plant. As you know the kit is very much lacking in detail and parts. I am looking for photos and ideas of the work done by other modelers to prototype the kit into a believable industry.

I have found many pictures of prototype coke operations, but they are usually zeroed in on a specific process and it is hard to get a good idea of what it should look like overall. My modeling detail doesn't have to be at the rivet (pipe) counter level, but I would like enough of the major components for realism. Also, information on any add-on parts would be a plus.
Rex, here is a link to my 'entry level' rendition of the Walthers coke ovens as it existed on my old layout 7 years ago.
http://trainweb.org/ironbelt/coke_ovens.html
Just your typical 'vanilla' kit with a larry car [plus rails] added on the top, and a pusher on the rear. I also swapped-out the square stack for a round one. I never did a quench car because [at the time] the discharge side of the ovens was not visible.

If you could wait another 24 hours, I'll snap some better-quality photos of the models. I have a much-better camera now than I did back when the above shots were taken. I'll also ask my friends on the Yahoo STEEL list if they have any photos to share.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Thank you, Ken for the link. That is an excellent job on the pusher. I have to admit that the round smoke stack looks a lot better than the square one that comes with the kit. I am not sure if I have even seen a square stack, anywhere. Ha!

Yes, I can wait for more photos and the more the better. I believe it was you that posted a link to some very incredible steel mill models on the "other" forum. I believe it was some sort of club. They were well beyond what I can do at this time, but wouldn't mind working up to that point over time. I am very interested in your work and ideas.

Ironically, we had a coke plant here in Tuscaloosa (Empire Coke) that closed its doors about two years ago. Several years ago, I went out there on business and never paid that much attention to detail. I do remember that they had one heck of a train yard. It was next to the Central Foundry and they supplied coke to it, as well as the steel mills in B'hm and around the United States. I don't believe that I can get in there now.

Just as soon as I finish up on my "Sawmill Ridge", I need to get my Steel complex headed in that direction. I have a large home layout and have now begun work on adding more detail, beginning on the front side and working back. The Steel complex was the first thing I did on my layout. I got the buildings for Christmas and my excitement was so great, I just had to build them right then and there :D. I almost backed myself in a corner by doing this, as it is in an area of the layout that has some complex scenery between all three levels. It took all of the summer of 2004.

Here are some pixs of my skeleton steel complex. I still have bottle cars, slag cars, and coke cars to put together. The VO660 is a Stewart that I changed the name on and weathered for the mill operation.
 

modelbob

Administrator
Any of you ever seen the old David Plowden book on steel mills? It would be a wonderful reference for work like this...
 

JeffShultz

Stay off the tracks!
If I somehow end up with a steel mill on my layout (not likely, but not impossible), it'll be modeled after the Cascade Steel Rolling Mills "mini-mill" in McMinville, OR. 80 acres is apparently considered a "mini-mill" in this business.

Instead of a blast furnace, it has an electric arc furnace. I'll have to go up there and get photos one of these days.
 

RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
Rex, well, first of all, great work! I'm curious: who makes those N&W hoppers?
 

Steve B

Firefighter
REX, that is a fantastic layout , i would be proud to own it, this will be a backdrop scene on my layout when it's done, just got to cram it into a space 4 inches deep by 12 feet long against the wall,
102480012.gif
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
First, thanks for your comments. I explained in the upper post, this was the first area of landscaping and setting up an industry, summer 2004. What a dumb thing to do for a first time project:eek:! I must say that I learned a lot fast and certainly learned about mistakes :D. After I got the basic structures in place, I moved on and started getting other areas to a basic level. My plan has always been to get the basics installed, come back and add more detail, and then later do the fine detail. This has allowed me to have interesting operating time almost from the beginning of the layout. As you have seen, I have plenty more detailing at all levels to do on my steel complex.

Bob: I am not sure if it was David Plowden's book that I tried to find about two years ago, but I think it was called "Modeling the Steel Industry", or something like that. I was told that it was out of print. Sure like to get a hold of a book with similiar coverage.

Jeff:We have a "mini" rolling mill here in Tuscaloosa. I think its owned by NUCOR Steel now. It also takes up at least 100 acres and still growing. I will have to go out there and take some photos. They won't help me since I am in the 1950's, but it may help others. Good idea!

Ryan:The NW hoppers are BLI's. They are very well made and detailed, but pricey.

Steve: Thank you for the compliment, but it looks like you are on your way with a fine industrial scene. I wish that I had made a backdrop with more steel making buildings instead of painting mountains. I really like that idea, but at the time I didn't know diddel. :D
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Rex, I really like your mill! I've often caught glimpses of the blast furnace in the background but this is the first time I've ever seen it [and the coke ovens] close-up. NIce work!

As for the additional photos, I'll dig the items out of their boxes tomorrow and snap a few. Right now I'm a tad exhausted after driving to western PA and back. (Visited with SpaceMouse - details in the coffeeshop.)

The book I think you were referring to is by Dean Freytag, titled The History, Making and Modeling of Steel and previously published by Walthers (now out of print). You can usually find it on eBay, but it is highly coveted and often fetches >$150 :eek:

There is another book that is easier to find, with better technical data, called The Making, Shaping and Treating of Steel that is published by U.S. Steel Corp. The first edition was published in the 1920's [i think :confused: ] and a new one comes out every 6-7 years. I have the 9th Edition from 1971.

Jeff - those mini-mills are becoming the 'norm' since the need for steel has dropped, and there is so much scrap available for recycling. Electric melt shops are fascinating in their own way, but many hard-core blast furnace modelers view them the same way that steam lovers viewed diesel locos in the late 1950's, i.e., 'they're just not the same.' As for me, I'll gladly take whatever I can find. I'll try to visit this friend of mine who has an excellent HO model of an 'electric' shop and post pics of that here too!

Steve - I look forward to seeing some more mill architecture on your layout, those nicely-weathered gondolas of yours need a home! :D

Bob - I have the Plowden book on Lake boats (End Of An Era: The Last of the Great Lakes Steamers), lots of interesting photos. I never saw his steel mill book though.
 

modelbob

Administrator
CSX_road_slug[b said:
Bob[/b] - I have the Plowden book on Lake boats (End Of An Era: The Last of the Great Lakes Steamers), lots of interesting photos. I never saw his steel mill book though.
I've got several of his books, and enjoy them all. This book is titled "Steel". It too is out of print, and now goes for about $100. I would gladly have paid list price $30 for it, but the only copy I've ever seen was at B Dalton on clearance for a whopping $3. I didn't have much trouble deciding to buy it.

I'd suggest trying to find some photo references. I've seen a lot of model railroad mills, some very well done, but none that really looked quite right. They're usually too neat and clean.

Here's an example:

http://davidplowden.com/photographs/photo.php?album=Industry&img=7

http://davidplowden.com/photographs/photo.php?album=Industry&img=12

Note the rocks and dirt and debris and how there seems to be something filling just about every available space...

More images here:
http://davidplowden.com/photographs/thumb.php?album=Industry

Here's one of my all time favorites:
http://davidplowden.com/photographs/photo.php?album=Industry&img=5
 
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RCH

Been Nothin' Since Frisco
RexHea said:
Ryan:The NW hoppers are BLI's. They are very well made and detailed, but pricey.
That's what I was afraid of... They look great, and I was hoping there was an alternative I didn't know about. I have a couple dozen MDC cars, which aren't a match for anything N&W, but they'll have to do. Especially at the price I paid!
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
CSX_road_slug said:
The book I think you were referring to is by Dean Freytag, titled The History, Making and Modeling of Steel and previously published by Walthers (now out of print). You can usually find it on eBay, but it is highly coveted and often fetches >$150 :eek:
$$$$150.00! Yikes, Ken! I would have to buy a safe to keep it in :D. I believe I'll have to pass trying to find that one and stick with looking at what others have modeled.

Well, I was going to stick a link on here and discovered I can't paste. How do you do it? I am using Mozilla Firefox browser.

Bob: The Plowden site has some very good photos.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
OK Rex, I finally got around to posting those additional photos of my Walthers Coke Works 'embellishments' - it seemed like every time I was just about to upload, there was some family situation that I always had to deal with immediately! I also put out feelers on the Yahoo STEEL forum as well, one guy emailed me an image. I'm just waiting to get his 'official' permission to upload it here since it isn't a photo I snapped myself. (He doesn't have a web site I can insert a link to.)

You'll find my new photos here:
http://www.modelrailroadforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2588

BTW, about your Firefox issue - I don't have it installed on my own laptop or the family PC, so I'm afraid I can't duplicate your error condition to troubleshoot it.. :confused:
 
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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Great thread guys.

Rex, hope you don't mind me posting these.

A couple of tracklevel views of the facility on Rex's layout. He's done a fantastic job with it. What a cool online industry!
109229251.gif


109292543.gif
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Not at all Eric. Looking at the pictures makes me want to get back into that area and start working again. There are so many more things that I want to do...maybe, after I come down from Sawmill Ridge. I believe it would be a good break from all the mountain building.
 




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