Lumber mill, rustic enginehouse, input needed!

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DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
Working on this area of my club's lumber mill. Any ideas for what should go near the rock face at the top of the image? I'm thinking it's meant for the inbound logs, as the other side of the mill has the cut boards. The storage houses for fresh lumber are to the right of this image, but I think we're needing a bunch more stacked outside for drying.
 

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cv_acr

Active Member
Can't really see the mill in full context since you say there is a bunch more out of frame...

There's not a lot of room there, but if that track is meant for log unloading then what you have there is basically the driveway for trucks/loaders to access the sides of the cars and take the logs off. You could make a small pile of logs at the wide spot in front of the cliff, but keep the main part along side the track clear so loading vehicles can access the track. (Don't forget to consider HOW your miniature people are able to load/unload cars on a particular track.)

I assume the finished lumber is loaded on another track out of frame.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
GP chip and saw mill Bay Springs ,MS.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/31%C2%B058'36.0%22N+89%C2%B016'46.0%22W/@31.9544558,-89.2832094,113m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d31.976667!4d-89.279444?hl=en

Cut trees are brought in by truck , tree length ( dia < 12" ) . Trees are cut into dimensional lumber and leaves by rail , and truck , the excess is chipped and loaded into chip cars (bottom left) ,

I not sure if they take pulp wood (short sticks bottom right), If they do , they might not process it there , it may get purchased ,loaded and sent on the paper mill.

If they do buy pulp it probably goes to the paper mill for processing (the chipper may not be big enough for large diameter pulp ) .

Anything larger( up to 24 - 28) would go to the plywood mill.
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
I realize in hindsight I was pretty much asking a stupid question here. I brained out what to do around the mill, anyway. Presently building us a couple of GHQ log fork loader machines for the area, we have nothing to unload the log trains! Thanks, you two, for responding.

SummitEngineHouse.jpg
What I really need help with, is the engine facility, the three-stall shed there. Our layout is supposed to be transitional era. There is a water tower present for the area but in terms of distance on the layout, this sawmill is as far away from an engine service facility as you can get. I would assume there would need to be a coal or oil supply here for local steam engines, as there's no other fuel supply anywhere until you're off this mountain. Could a little facility like that simply have a bunker of coal that is supplied by truck? I'm thinking a conveyor like this Walthers one for coaling. On top of that I have intention to add a diesel/fuel oil storage tank for the same reason.
WalthersOldConveyor.jpg
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
The logical choice for a mill engine , of course would be hardwood.

But I dont see any reason not use coal or fuel oil , the advantage of fuel oil is the facility would be about the same for either diesel or bunker fuel .

Coal or hardwood normally would require an ash pit , Wood doesnt require any special loading , I am sure the crew would appreciate a "low side" tender to make it easy for hand loading wood . I am not sure but I think coal and wood could be used by the same locomotive.

I dont see any reason why they couldn't use wood and buy ( refuel) at the main engine facility when convenient . I think that it would make more sense for them to haul the coal that isn't put into the tender directly , with a drop bottom, or side dump gondola. Then you can dump it on the ground and use the conveyor to load .
 

cv_acr

Active Member
What "main engine terminal"?

If the lumber mill owns and operates its own switcher, it's not travelling to the railroad's shop to refuel. It never leaves the property, unless maybe they need to contract out a full boiler rebuild. (Only once every several years...)

If the railroad switches the mill, the train would likely come down from the yard with loaded log cars and empty flats/boxcars for lumber load, do the switching and head back. It's not so large a facility to require a dedicated full time local switch engine.

You also don't mix fuels. Burn wood or coal, not both.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
Could a little facility like that simply have a bunker of coal that is supplied by truck? I'm thinking a conveyor like this Walthers one for coaling.
A little later than the actual steam era, but I saw a photo earlier this week of a steam engine on an excursion in the early 1970s being topped up by a locally contracted dump truck and portable conveyor similar to the Walthers one shown. That's basically exactly like what you're describing.

Another excursion outfit had a gondola car full of coal, and I'm not sure if they had much other than manual shovelling to fill up the tender, or if they used crane and bucket. But for the 1950s, labour is cheap.... I mean, coal was actually shipped in regular gondolas and shovelled out by hand into coal sheds at local coal dealers.

For an actual real, steam era example, the Canadian Pacific branch line terminal facility at Goderich, Ontario had a small dump pit on one track with a conveyor over to the track beside it to directly load coal from a hopper car into the engine tender. Scroll down near the bottom of this page for a bunch of good photos of the CPR facilities at Goderich: http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/CPR_London/history_G_and_G.htm This was a *very* compact little branchline terminus.

All ideas for loading coal without a large coal storage bunker.
 
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GeeTee

Well-Known Member
What "main engine terminal"?

If the lumber mill owns and operates its own switcher, it's not travelling to the railroad's shop to refuel. It never leaves the property, unless maybe they need to contract out a full boiler rebuild. (Only once every several years...)
The lumber company may own the mill , the timberland , and the rails . Lumber company locomotives left the mills all the time.

Lumber company locomotives burn what ever is available , if wood is available they burn wood ,if not then coal. Its whatever they have on hand.


All it takes for the mill/lumber company to buy its coal from a large railroad is a contract of sale . The logical place for coal to be acquired by the mill is from the engine terminal or coaling yard since most larger railroads were in the business of selling coal and had scale houses .

If the railroad wants to sell the coal , there's no reason for them to not let the mill come get it (especially if motive power is in short supply) . After all , the railroad owns the rails it can do more less what ever it wants.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
The lumber company may own the mill , the timberland , and the rails . Lumber company locomotives left the mills all the time.
If the whole line is privately operated by the lumber company. They're generally not running out onto tracks owned by another railroad.

Lumber company locomotives burn what ever is available , if wood is available they burn wood ,if not then coal. Its whatever they have on hand.
There are differences between wood burning and coal burning engines; most notably spark arrestors on wood-burners (the large diamond shaped stacks on "old time" engines).

All it takes for the mill/lumber company to buy its coal from a large railroad is a contract of sale . The logical place for coal to be acquired by the mill is from the engine terminal or coaling yard since most larger railroads were in the business of selling coal and had scale houses .

If the railroad wants to sell the coal , there's no reason for them to not let the mill come get it (especially if motive power is in short supply) . After all , the railroad owns the rails it can do more less what ever it wants.
Railroad BOUGHT coal for their own usage, they generally weren't in the business of selling and distributing it themselves.

The lumber company would be buying coal from either a local dealer (most likely) or direct from a mine. They could have a railcar delivered from the coal mine, or a truck from the local dealer.

While a railroad "could" allow another company to run their engine over their tracks, the likelihood of that is low, considering the scheduling and dispatching requirements, the lumber company crew would have to have all the proper RR timetable paperwork, and be "qualified" on the line, and follow all the proper RR rules... there's a lot going into that that makes delivering a carload of coal at the same time loaded lumber cars are picked up FAR more convenient and less complicated... or a truckload from the local dealer. Coal was common everywhere for both industrial fuel and home heating, so they could get it anywhere, with "from the railroad" being the least likely scenario by far.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Railroad BOUGHT coal for their own usage, they generally weren't in the business of selling and distributing it themselves.



Most Major railroads either owned the coal mines such as PRR , Reading ,UP, NP, and GN The Virginian was built specifically to access coal in WV.
PRR coal mine map https://www.railsandtrails.com/PRR/1956BituminousCoalMines/index.htm

The state of West Virginia pass laws to prevent the railroads from owning the mines . The railroads formed holding companies to get around the laws. N&W formed Flat Top /Pocahontas Land Corporation to hold and purchase their mines .

The Reading's mines are still in business .https://readinganthracite.com/

In the west the first coal mine in Wyoming was opened in 1868 by.....Union Pacific Railroad.

Coal was primarly mined in the east along the Allegheny and a large deposits in WY .Access in the West was limited with northern roads favoring coal and southern roads favoring oil.


The majors didn't need to buy any coal . They owned the mines.
 

boatwrench

Active Member
What a great little project. Here's my unsolicited advice.

Just last week I had the privledge of taking a short trip on The California Western, better known as The Skunk Train. The CW was a logging railroad whose predecessor began building east into the Redwood Forests from the harbor at Fort Bragg, CA. I was surprised to see that this logging turned tourist railroad's engines were oil burners. Sometime prior to the completion of the line in 1911 the locomotives were converted. The date is an estimate because that is when the line connected with the Northwestern Pacific on it's eastern terminus. A photo in a book about the CW shows a locomotive being craned off a ship at the wharf. The notation was it was converted from wood to oil in San Francisco.

The book also stated that the locomotive would burn 5 gallons per mile (waste motor oil). A small oil tank and associated piping and a water tower would serve the loco facility nicely with no need for an ash pit. Sand could be loaded manually so a covered shed for sand bags could be erected. A covered hopper of sand and tank car could be spotted on the spur where the two cabooses are in the photo keeping free the open area between the engine house and mainline for a yard office and a MOW shed. BTW; San Francisco's transit system the Municipal Railway still loads sand in the cable cars, historic PCCs and LRVs one bag at a time.
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
Yay, ideas!

Let's clear up something. This layout is entirely protolance, and we have no idea of what's going on in terms of if the Mill has its own motive power or not. I assume it has atleast one loco, as it sits at the bottom of our logging line. I'm making educated guesses and, dare I say, assumptions, based on what's in front of me vs what I know of. This area of the layout is extremely reminiscent of the western transcon lines, such as MILW and NP had.

The lumber company may own the mill , the timberland , and the rails . Lumber company locomotives left the mills all the time.
Yes, I believe in this case our lumber co owns our logging camp area and associated timberland, and the rails from there to this mill. Nothing else makes sense to me.

The track curving around the entire complex, seen going into a tunnel, is the branch line main. I probably don't need to say that the branch line connects the mill, the nearby town, and the rest of the mountain to the main railroad down below. As I said, this is the only potential (modeled) service stop for trains coming up the line and/or going back. My goal is to make this little hole look like it can handle a Mikado or two, as well as a diesel. I have an idea from MILW for an ad-hoc "ash pit", but otherwise finding reference materials on smaller loco facilities has been a challenge.

EDIT: I'm probably totally overthinking the entire thing, but these are my first steps in a portion of modeling that I have not been able to bother with before now. My wallet is in so much danger!
 
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GeeTee

Well-Known Member
As far as issues with non "home' railroad crews operating on the main, I know that when I lived on the Gulf Coast , Dow switchers would occasionally come 10 miles up the MP main and retrieve tank cars from the yard and take them back down the main to Dow and other chemical companies .

My understanding (which was 3rd hand ) was that MP had the contract to deliver the cars but wasn't always in a position to fulfill its obligation in a timely manner ( it costs millions of $ at that time and took 2 weeks to shut certain operations down gracefully) . After going round and round , MP and Dow reached an agreement , Dow could come get their tank cars anytime they need them and an MP switcher wasn't available , Dow would hire ex MP engineers to run their locomotives , that solved any issues over "qualifications". Besides , there was only 2 signals to read on the 10 mile stretch and one of those was busted , only the yard signal worked. It was Dow's way of getting trackage rights on the MP without having to pay for it.

Usually this was only an issue when there was a motive power shortage ( like the RI going bankrupt ) .

Those switcher jobs were apparently coveted because working for Dow meant they were home every night and not out on the road.


Bottom line is as long as the mill hires ex MILW / NP engineers to run their equipment qualifications shouldn't be a problem if they need to move cars over the Class 1 .
 

Rico

BN Modeller
I can’t remember where in my travels but I can remember a seeing small loco sitting on a spur off a mainline. There was an elevated fuel tank, a shed, and an old bus beside it.
I was told it was for a mill up the line and that it was kept there for the convenience of being close to the main highway and town.
I think that would be a cool scene to add to any layout.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
The majors didn't need to buy any coal . They owned the mines.
The CORPORATIONS owned the mines not necessarily the railroad. The corporations had coal company subsidiaries that mined and sold coal. The coal company controlled the mining sales and distribution of the coal. That lasted up until the 1920's and 1930's when the federal government filed suits against the railroads for violations of the Sherman Anti Trust Act and forced the railroads and coal companies to formally separate.

In more modern times, the corporations that owned railroads also were involved in oil production and refining companies. However the railroads still had to have a contract and still had to buy diesel fuel from their subsidiaries. The railroad can't just "take" a carload of diesel, even though the refinery and the railroad might be owned by the same parent company.

Bottom line is if a company needs a car of coal, they aren't going to go to the depot and buy a car of coal from the local railroad agent. They will buy a carload of coal from the coal company (which may be a subsidiary of the railroad).
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
After going round and round , MP and Dow reached an agreement , Dow could come get their tank cars anytime they need them and an MP switcher wasn't available
Well not exactly, the MP leased the lower end of the branch to DOW and they took over switching and maintenance. The MP delivered to a yard and the DOW switchers pulled the cars from the yard.

Dow would hire ex MP engineers to run their locomotives , that solved any issues over "qualifications".
What "solved" the issued of qualifications was DOW leasing the track from the MP. Therefore it wasn't MP track. DOW operated on their track and the MP operated on their track.
For a short line operating on a larger railroad's track, just hiring ex larger railroad employees doesn't solve the problem. The employees still have to be qualified on the rules. They have to take the same rules classes and tests as the larger railroad employees. Doesn't matter where they used to work. Hiring ex-railroad employees just cuts the initial training time down.

Besides , there was only 2 signals to read on the 10 mile stretch and one of those was busted , only the yard signal worked. It was Dow's way of getting trackage rights on the MP without having to pay for it.
That branch didn't have any block signals. You are probably talking about the signals for the weigh in motion track scales. And yes, DOW did have to pay for access since they leased/bought the line from the MP.

I was a former MP trainmaster on the Southern District and several of my friends worked at Angleton or Freeport (DOW). Fun Fact : Freeport and Arlington Texas were the two highest revenue producing stations on the MP.
 
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dave1905

Well-Known Member
Personally on as small a layout as it looks like you have, I wouldn't bother with a "mill" or "shortline" engine. If you want to model the MILW, just have a MILW switcher/local switch the branch and logging area. Makes the whole backstory waaaaaaaaaaay simpler. If you want to assign and old 2-8-0 or 2-8-2 a s the local/switcher engine to work the mill fine.

As far as fueling facilities, if the "road" engines are diesel I wouldn't worry about fueling or servicing them at the little branch line terminus. A diesel engine has a range of about 500-750 miles in that era and I would doubt that wherever the "road train" is going its more than 250-350 miles from your branch. Plus having to send small amounts of fuel to a remote, minor engine terminal is very expensive. The railroad would avoid fueling engines there unless its an absolute emergency. It would prefer to service engines at a larger facility where the supplies are cheaper (railroads will even plan where they fuel engines based on state sales tax). In the diesel era, especially post 1960's, they would probably use a GP7 as the branch switcher/local engine, and put GP's on the train that pulled the cars from the branch, then once or twice a week, swap out the branch GP with a engine off the through train, and not even bother with servicing anything on the branch.

If you go with having the branch engine belonging to the railroad, then the only thing you need to worry about servicing is just the engine or engines needed to support the branch itself.
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
One other thing, from a historical perspective, modern short lines and transition era short lines can have very different histories and operations.

Transition era short lines tended to have been built as separate, independent railroads and retained their independence. They would be very unlikely to allow a larger railroad to operate over them and would be much less likely to be able to operate over a larger railroad. Industrial roads even more so. Way less likely that a larger road operates over the industrial road and way less likely they operate over a larger road. Modern short lines tend to be spun off branches of the larger railroad. As such, the junctions/interchanges with the larger railroads tend to be in more jointly operated yards that might be several miles from the branch junction. It is more likely that the shortline would operate over the larger railroad. It is still unlikely that the larger road would operate over the short line.
 

GeeTee

Well-Known Member
Well not exactly, the MP leased the lower end of the branch to DOW and they took over switching and maintenance. The MP delivered to a yard and the DOW switchers pulled the cars from the yard.
as I said my info was third hand , I had heard that Dow had purchased the line , but I also heard that they didn't want to buy the line because they didn't want to deal with the grade crossings , apparently there was some concern about lawsuits ?

I also heard that MP was deliberately disrupting service to Freeport in order to get them to purchase or lease the line . That may just be the way Dow saw it though.

For a short line operating on a larger railroad's track, just hiring ex larger railroad employees doesn't solve the problem. The employees still have to be qualified on the rules. They have to take the same rules classes and tests as the larger railroad employees. Doesn't matter where they used to work. Hiring ex-railroad employees just cuts the initial training time down.
So MP engineers weren't qualified when they worked for the MP ? Seems like if you were hiring someone that has just come off the road it wouldn't be an issue. I can see that they might have to be re-qualified for rules changes .


That branch didn't have any block signals. You are probably talking about the signals for the weigh in motion track scales. And yes, DOW did have to pay for access since they leased/bought the line from the MP.
You must not have been there before about 1970? Things went on at night some times during the day. Some of the super's were more "flexible". Some had their own opinion about where "end of track" was , there was no sign and so it varied according to who was working. It could move as much as 7 or 8 miles in day.Once when I saw the switcher I asked and was told Dee Oh Dubyuh spelled MoPAC. I'm not makin it up.

Fun Fact : Freeport and Arlington Texas were the two highest revenue producing stations on the MP.
Dow found that out and they weren't to happy , they didn't think the MP "flexible enough"was doing enough for the amount of money they were paying. They felt that when they were ready for those cars they ought to have them. I dont know what they were paying but I did hear $10,000/car tossed around in (1980 $)they said it was enough of a sum of money that buying the MP was briefly considered as cheaper alternative.
 




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