|Trackplan for the No-Name Industrial Park|
The room is almost exactly 21 feet on each side. For perspective, that's 1008 feet in O scale.
The connection to the outside world is in the lower right, where the tightest curve on the railroad (36" radius) curves out into the aisle where it says "interchange". Following the main track from there, the first switch you come to is a 3 or 4 car storage track for Northeast Container. Next is the switch for Midstate Recovery Systems, a construction and demolition debris recycling business. Next is the switch for Northeast Container itself, followed by another short storage track. Around the lower left corner is the runaround, which can hold 9 or 10 cars. The runaround is a slightly more forgiving 44/48" radius. Continuing up the left wall, the next switch is for Tighe Warehouse, and then a transload track. The final switch is for Cains Foods.
I got the idea for a switching service operating the park from SMS Rail Lines, a company that operates several industrial parks in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. It's a fascinating operation - you can spend quite a bit of time poking around their web site and studying google/bing maps satellite and aerial photos of the parks they serve.
Power for the park switching service is an MP-15 purchased second hand from CSX and given a patch paint job. Or at least that's the plan - currently the Atlas O MP-15 sports factory fresh CSX paint. The MP-15 is generally kept up near the Cains switch, where there's a small trailer office. The switching service keeps someone on hand to respond to customer requests whenever needed. So an operating session might be as simple as pulling an empty/load from a customer to replace it with a fresh car from storage, as complex as finding a dozen inbound cars on the interchange track that need to be shuffled into position, or anywhere in between.
Northeast Container is based on the Temple-Inland plant in Biglerville, PA served by the Gettysburg Northern RR. The plant makes boxes. It receives boxcars of pulpboard and an occasional hopper car of starch. Some of the empty box cars get re-spotted at the outside dock to be loaded with scrap cardboard. Jack Hill describes it here on his blog. You can see it in the satellite view on google maps. As soon as I read Jack's description of the operation at the plant, I knew it would be much more interesting than the feed mill I had originally put in that spot on the layout. I will be using a motley collection of 50 foot boxcars, plus an as-yet un-acquired starch car to serve this industry.
Midstate Recovery Systems recycles construction and demolition debris. This is a real industry in Portland, Connecticut served by the Providence & Worcester Railroad. You can see it here on google maps. This industry caught my eye when I saw this photo of it on NERAIL. It's a relatively small building with a track going through one end of it - only two cars fit inside. Debris arrives via truck and is dumped in the building. It's then loaded into railcars. If you're an O scale person used to not being able to get the type of car you need for an industry, you will probably have noticed that the cars in the photo are coalveyors (some with side extensions) - a car Atlas actually makes! On the No-Name Industrial Park the building is positioned so the truck dumping portion of it will be implied by the on layout portion of the building missing the aisle side wall. The building is carefully position to make it easy to see the clearance point for the runaround on one side, and to easily reach the caboose ground throws for the three nearby switches. I sincerely hope my model doesn't collapse under the weight of a record snowfall as the prototype did this January - see photo.
The Tighe Warehouse is based loosely the Tighe Logistics Group warehouse in Mansfield, MA. There are other Tighe facilities in the area. The Mansfield one is at the lead end of an industrial park called "the chocolate" by the railroad for historical reasons, it's served by a CSX local. You can see it here on google maps. On my layout most of what this warehouse receives will arrive in NS 60 foot Berwick hi-cubes (Atlas), plus a few FBOX 50 foot hi-cubes (MTH).
The transload track was inspired by J.P Noonan operations I've seen in Mansfield and Leominster, MA. The track serves local industries that don't have rail service of their own. There will almost always be several plastic pellet cars here, and often a hopper or two of soda ash for a nearby water treatment plant. The plastic pellet cars are old Weaver cars - good enough to get the point across but that's about it. The soda ash cars are a couple MTH hoppers.
Cains is based pretty closely on the Cains plant in Ayer, MA. You can see it here on google maps. The plant receives tank cars of vegetable oil. There are 4 unloading spots inside the chain link fence on their siding, which is served by Pan Am Southern. The piping leads to a tiny cement building next to the track, from which it apparently proceeds underground to the main building. On my layout the main building is presumed to be in the aisle, so all I need to model is the little cement block building and a suggestive patch of asphalt in the parking lot (see the satellite photo). I'll be using Weaver 50' tank cars for this industry even though they aren't right - unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a decent funnel flow veg oil tank in O scale.
The current state of the railroad is ugly but functional. I'll post some photos sometime soon. And I'll also post something about that blank peninsula sticking out into the room from the right wall.