Home Open Account Help 202 users online

Model Railroading > Paper Mill question

Date: 11/20/02 01:06
Paper Mill question
Author: funnelfan

I’m in the process of designing a papermill switching module in N scale. It’s designed along the lines of a 50’s or 60’s built kraft mill with updates bringing it into the 1990’s. It’s going to have a rotary dumper and a conveyer system for the woodchips, a warehouse capable of handling Hi-cube boxcars, and an alley of tankcar unloading sports for various chemicals. But other than the Kaolin clay slurry and the chlorine to bleach the wood pulp, I’m not sure what kind of chemicals a papermill would bring in. The mill is going to be scratchbuilt, and I’m far from a final design. I’m just wondering what kind of other railcar shipments a mill would have in or out on a regular basis. I’ve heard that the digesting of wood pulp makes several byproducts that are shipped out. Also, does anyone know how many cars at a time of each kind of product a mill would receive/ship each day? I’m guessing 2 chlorine, 2 Kaolin clay, 10 boxcars of paper, and 20 woodchip cars a day is about right.
In my opinion, a paper mill makes a neat central industry on a layout. Because your mill gets inbound shipments of chips from lumber mills, chemicals from everywhere, and ship out boxcars of paper (and trailers for the intermodal trains) to all kinds of satellite industries such as paper converters (cut rolls of paper into various size sheets for copiers, notebooks, ect.), corrugated box plants, newspapers, and printers. So you could link rail transportation through a string of industries, such as:

1. Raw logs to a mill from a log reload offline
2. Chips from the lumber mill to the paper mill
3. Paper from the papermill to a paper converter
4. Paper sheets from the converter to a printer

I even know of where this exact cycle happens on the BNSF (albeit the last move was in a trailer on an UP intermodal train).

Ted Curphey

Date: 11/20/02 04:05
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: kgmontreal

A kraft mill would not use kaolin. Kaolin is used to make glossy paper. The chlorine was used to bleach the paper, but in recent years has been replaced by more environmentally friendly sodium chlorate. The chlorate travels in those neat shorty aluminum covered hoppers.

Hope this helps.


Date: 11/20/02 05:05
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: MTMEngineer

KGmontreal is correct that natural kraft paper does not require use of bleach or kaolin. However, some will still be used for bleached kraft, perhaps up to 10% of a plants productionm.

Kraft mills also produce large amounts of lignin liquor, a byproduct of the digestion process. This used to be dumped into nearby rivers, but no longer. Can be shipped out in tankers, dried, or fed to other bacterias to make yeast.

Kraft plants can also use recycled materials to make recycled kraft. OCC (Old corrugated cartons) can come in by truck or boxcar, baled.

Date: 11/20/02 07:05
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: RustedFlange

Since no one makes a sodium chlorate car (yet, we may see one in resin), I\'d stick with chlorine. Kraft mills also use other chemicals such as sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and sulfuric acid. Corn starch is used to make cardboard boxes. A mill that recycles waste newspaper down here receives tank cars of sulfur dioxide.

Only bring in kaolin (slurry form is preferred by most mills) if your mill makes glossy paper. Even then, kaolin is being replaced by calcium carbonate (lime) slurry. Titanium dioxide (more tank cars) is also used to make really white paper.

Date: 11/20/02 07:23
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: stuart

my father use to work at a pulp mill in quebec, canada.
they had oil brought in by the train car load, along with other chemicals.
wood chips came in by the truck load or as logs ona truck, floated down the river till the early 90s or late 80s.

the kraft pulp is shipped out to various places like kodak in rochester, ny by the box car load, or to port for over seas shipment from the port of montreal quebec. the box cars are 60 foot I think, they are special ordered for the mill.

stuart in iowa

Date: 11/20/02 07:38
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: jdb

Some additional things you might consider. The Fort James mill at Camas gets chips by barge. They get some wood chips from New Mexico so you could run wood chips in the BARPAS all the way from Barstow. When there are extended work windows between Bakersfield and Stockton the cars have been routed through Denver and onto the MRL.

Also they get bales of scrap paper that are used in recycled paper products

They make printer and copier paper, bathroom tissue for McDonalds, and also the paper to package those products.

I haven\'t seen one there but you might have a 53\' McDonalds semi loading up.


Date: 11/20/02 12:46
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: funnelfan

This has been a great help so far. Rusted\'s list of chemicals is helpful. And I almost forgot about the recycled cardboard being shipped in by the boxcar load, even though I\'ve seen boxcars stuffed with cardboard on numerous occasions. I was figuring my mill would make bleached and coated kraft paper for shipping boxes, along with the brown kraft paper and corrugated stock. I thought turpentine was a by-product derived from the wood digestion process that was shipped out by the tankcar load. Are there any other chemicals shipped out??

Ted Curphey

Date: 11/20/02 12:49
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: funnelfan

Also, I\'ve notice that mills have been adding long and large rolling tubes to their plants. Are these the new continuous digesters that are being installed to replace or supplement the old batch digesters???

Ted Curphey

Date: 11/20/02 14:21
Re: Paper Mill ANSWERS
Author: rbx551985

All of the above threads have great answers; here\'s more. Earlier this year (I don\'t remember exactly when), I posted a similar thread in response to another poster\'s question/comment regarding the Model Railroader magazine article on the Smurfit-Stone paper mill that Norfolk Southern serves in West Point, Va. I dont have the thread LINK, but I\'ll try to fill in some of the RR car loads here, on the fly...

INBOUND (to the paper mill in West Point, Va.)...

...5-foot pulpwood, parallel-stacked on V-deck, bulk-head "woodracks" (Walthers recently offered these in N-scale: SOU, RF&P, SCL, CSXT, etc.)
...8-foot pulpwood, on gondolas out-fitted with bulkheads (applies mostly to SOO Line & Wisconsin Central -region cars going to paper mills in the upper mid-west)
...10-foot pulpwood, on standard, FLAT-deck bulkhead flatcars, single-stacked cross-ways
...LONG logs on "skeleton," LOG FLATS, loaded end-to-end ways
...WOODCHIPS, in 50-, 60-, or 70-foot high-cube hoppers (not yet offered in scale models), or in high-side GONS (which ARE available in scale depicting standard cars or rotary cars)
...COAL (if the mill has its own power plant)
...SALT CAKE, in standard covered hoppers
...LIME, in larger covered hoppers
...SODIUM CHLORATE (UN 1428), in aluminum, 40-foot cov. hop
...CORN STARCH, in those new, cylindrical, "-flo" cov. hoppers that recently came out in scale, with ACFX, CRDX, SOO, ADMX (and other) reporting marks
...LIMESTONE SLURRY, in the newly-released "OMYA"-logo Tank Cars
...SODIUM HYDROSULFIDE (UN 2922), in Tank Cars
...CHLORINE (UN 1017), in Tank Cars
...SULFURIC ACID (UN 1830) in smaller UTLX, GATX, PROX, KCCX, DUPX (--etc.) Tank Cars similar to the ones Walthers recently came out with in the "Molten Sulfur" design
...LIGNIN LIQUOR (which can also be used for alternative fuel in the power plant), in standard black tank cars
...PULP BOARD, in boxcars, for bleaching or slick-coating
...SCRAP PAPER, in boxcars, for recycling or blending with newly-made kraft
...MACHINERY, in gondolas or flats, for replacement of in-plant machinery

OUTBOUND (cars would be the empties of all of the above cars in addition to:)...

...PAPER ROLLS, single-stacked inside standard boxcars or double-stacked in the newer, Gunderson-style high-cube boxcars
...KRAFT or BLEACHED PAPER, ditto, in various boxcars
...TALL OIL by-product, in Tank Cars
...TURPENTINE by-product, in Tank Cars
...SCRAP IRON, in Gondolas, if the mill you model happens to be engaged in some large re-construction project

If I\'ve forgotten any more, I\'ll come back and add them here in a later thread. I HOPE THIS HELPS!

Date: 11/20/02 15:01
Re: Paper Mill ANSWERS
Author: lucky

All this information is great, was thinking of doing a paper mill on my layout in the near future, Ted just beat me to the punch with the questions.
One other question, is there any website that shows the track plans or structures of a real mill? I have tried, spending, it seemed like hours
on the world wide web, to no avail. I did get the information on how paper is made but no diagrams were availabe.

Date: 11/20/02 16:57
Re: Paper Mill ANSWERS
Author: mediumclear

Many mills also have coal-fired power plants for steam and sometimes electricity. You could justify a few hoppers of coal a week, I would think.

Date: 11/20/02 17:53
wallpaper mills
Author: podh

how about wallpaper mills ?

Date: 11/20/02 22:59
Re: Paper Mill ANSWERS
Author: funnelfan

Below is a early trackplan I developed a couple weeks ago, but it is lacking in several respects (namely, tanks!), but it does give you an idea of what I\'m shooting for. It\'s an N scale desinged on a 3\' x 8\' module. My mill is being loosely modeled after the Willamette Industries (now Weyerhaeuser) Kraft mill at Millersburg, OR (just north of Albany). Here is an overhead of that mill:


I-5 and the ex-SP valley mainline are at right, and it\'s hard to tell, but there is an alley of tracks that runs right through the heart of the mill connecting with the mainline at either end. The warehouses are at the southern end while the woodchip pile is north of the mill. I wish I had a side view of the mill to show, but I\'ll have to grab one next time I\'m down there. This mill at one time had a rotary dumper, but is all truck now.
Another mill I have a lot more images of is the huge Boise Cascade facility at Wallua, WA. This mills seems to be a combination Kraft and traditional paper mill. this mill has a end dumper and is switched by a Watco subsidy. Both UP and BNSF serve this plant just south of Pasco. Here is an overhead view.


Notice the large warehouse at bottom with the track curving 90\'s to serve it. also toward the middle of the mill is a steam plume, the tankcar farm is just noth of that with and overhead pipe rack above the tracks just beyond. The railcar dumper is two of the three platforms northeast of the tower in the woodchip pile. And the settling ponds are at center bottom. Here are some more views of Wallua.


Next we have a view of a Boise Cascade paper converting plant in Downtown Salem,OR.


BNSF delievers boxcars of paper rolls to the dock at left and three lines inside convert the rolls into 8.5" x 11" sheets. Two lines are for various grades of copier paper, while the third prints rule lines and punches holes for school and notebook paper. The cut paper is loaded into trailers at the south end of the plant, many of which ride intermodal trains to Southern California (ever notice those MDW trailers with PCXZ reporting marks, that go with the old SP PCX train). This was the old Oregon Pulp & Paper mill at one time.

Next up is the Boise Cascade Corrugated Container facility in southeast Salem.


This plant located along the ex-SP valley mainline would recieve rolls of corrugated stock and rolls of Kraft paper from Wallua (interchanged at Portland from BN). Corrugated stock is 2/3rd\'s cardboard, because it has a straight sheet and a wavy sheet (corrugated) glued to each other, but it still can be rolled up. This plant glued the remaining sheet to make cardboard, then diecut and printed it for customers. Some of the boxes left by rail, but much more by truck trailers (many of which rode the intermodal trains past this plant). I hope that helps you guys out some.

Date: 11/21/02 07:39
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: lucky

Thanks Ted, for the drawings and other information concerning the paper mill.

I have through searching, found a good explanation of the process if anyone is interested.


Not very good at cuting and pasteing, sorry.

The above site has very good information on the manufacture of paper.

C. Lanphere

Date: 11/21/02 09:27
How Many of What Loads?
Author: rbx551985

In an above thread, I listed what types of loads the paper mill in West Point, Va. receives and ships. I failed to mention just how many they have the capacity for. Whether or not the mill receives/ships a lot of cars or not depends on the current market for the type of paper made, but here\'s a general idea of the track capacity at the West Point mill:

N.S. YARD has 7 tracks, with capacity of (I\'m guessing here) up to 150 cars total, although at least one track is kept open for run-arounds and other basic switching, as well as have an open track for the nightly Turn from Richmond to enter upon arrival. There are several other tracks at the ("timetable--") north end of the yard that can hold an additional 20-30 cars, and a couple of team tracks.

IN THE MILL: former pulpwood yard, now removed (as the mill has converted to all chips, trucked in as of 2002), had room for 14 woodracks, with 7 V-deck cars on each of two tracks. The COAL-fired power plant uses anywhere from 2-6 coal loads daily, usually around 4/day.

The salt cake pit used to unload 2-4 covered hoppers each week, and the machinery track, now gone, used to get one or two machinery loads a month, sometimes more when a larger construction project was going on.

A branch extends off the main toward the river, and just around the curve there are doors where 2 or 3 50-foot boxcars can be loaded with bleached paper (ON THE CURVE, under hundreds of over-head pipes and buildings that were constructed over the track---this is called the "Drying Machine" track). The end of this track splits into two short stub-end tracks built onto a trestle over the edge of the Pumunkey River. One track is for unloading lime into the kiln, and the other is for loading tall oil and turpentine by-products into tank cars. These are the "trestle" tracks.

On occassion, black liquor is also loaded or unloaded here, as might be a load of Caustic Soda.

The Dry Machine has the capacity to load 2 or 3 cars a shift, although I believe this is all they currently load each day. They used to get a load of lime once or twice a week; I don\'t know about right now. Same for the t/oil and turp. tanks: about 1 or 2 @/wk.

In the paper mill, there are 3 long tracks in the paper warehouse. Each track can spot 10 fifty-foot boxcars at a time, and there\'s a raisable fork-lift BRIDGE located about 4 cars from the tracks\' entrance, where cars are separated so the bridge can be engaged and fork-lifts can then carry paper rolls to the cars on the furthest 2 tracks. From the mill toward the mainline, the 3 "Paper Mill" tracks are called the House Track, the Middle Track, and the Back Track. This mill can load as many as 30 cars a day, although lately they\'ve been as few as 10-15 cars a day, depending on who\'s buying their paper.

At the BUMPER ends of these are spots for unloading of pressure-differential covered hoppers that bring in Corn Starch for coating of specialty papers, and sulfuric acid in tank cars.

A curved track extends off the main toward a 3-car loading dock where "Finished" (coated) paper is loaded. This is called the Finishing Room track. The lead curving off the main to this area is called the "Crooked Track," since the S-curve to it is so sharp.

A spur just off this track and curves around the entire plant to the old scrap paper dock. When "Chesapeake Corp." ran this mill, there would be anywhere from 2 to 7 loads of scrap paper coming in every day, in ANY boxcars that could carry that material, from RBOX cars to CSX, to shortlines, to NS and everything else you can imagine.

Now, at the end of that same track there are usually 2-4 white-painted tank cars with the "OMYA" logo, for bringing in Limestone Slurry.

Jutting off the main across from the paper mill, and switching off the main at the same place as the leads to the Fin. Room and Scrap Paper Tracks, but on the OTHER SIDE of the main, is the lead to the CHIPCAR unloading pit. This mill now gets all chips via TRUCK, but the when SOUTHERN ran things and Chesapeake Corp. was in charge of paper-making, they\'d unload about 6 LARGE, 70-foot hoppers of chips twice a day, sometimes more when demand was high. Cars were spotted up and the mill hooked up a cable-pulley device to move the cars along, one after the other, as each was unloaded.

The Bleach Plant, where Sodium Chlorate, Caustic Soda and Chlorine are unloaded, are just beyond the woodchip pit, and the chip track splits into 3 tracks back there. To service this area, chip cars had to be pulled first, or the Bleach Plant was switched WITH the chip cars. The mill, under Chesapeake\' rule, would unload approximately 1 chlorate car/day, 2 caustic loads/day, and a load of chlorine every other day or so.

I hope this frequency helps determine your modeling possibilities.

Date: 11/21/02 15:48
Re: Paper Mill question
Author: SpokaneHarley

Ted, one thing you must determine right off the bat is WHAT kind of paper your mill is going to produce. That will help dictate the necessity of tank car loads of bleaching agents, as well as what era you decide to model (Clorine Bleach versus more modern day bleaching agents.)Best of my recollection from living on the Pacific Northwest, Crown Zellerbach in Port Townsend manufactured a majority of heavier brown paper, for paper bags. They also shipped LOTS of brown paper by the roll, loaded up on 20 or 30\' flatbed trailers that were trucked downtown and loaded on the Blackball Boat to Seattle for manufacturing paper products at other mills. Georgia Pacific at Bellingham was the monster of operations while I was growing up, serviced by the GN switch crews all three shifts, and capable of spotting the 50\' SD Plug boxcars on BOTH sides of the warehouse; made for a cute situation of the switchengine being sandwiched by the string of boxcars. (I\'m sure the brakemen didn\'t enjoy it however!) Give me a shout and we\'ll compare further notes.

Date: 11/21/02 18:25
Smaller Prototype Mill
Author: ccrider

Great stuff!!!

If you\'re looking for something a bit smaller, you might look at the November Mainline Modeler. They\'re did a pretty nice article on the Great Miami & Western in Hamilton, Ohio, an entire shortline that can be accurately modeled in n scale from end to end. That entire railroad serves the Smart Papers (formerly Champion) paper plant.

This particular mill seems to get about 12 cars a day from the outside world, as it makes paper from pulp purchased from the outside and from scrap paper. There is also an interesting intra-plant move with some old boxcars that are used to shuttle some additional scrap paper from the beginning of the process back to the beginning.

There\'s also a Railfan & Railroad article from around \'95 that detailed their approximate daily car count as follows (from memory, so forgive me if I\'m off a bit)...

Coal -- 4 to 5 cars a day
Market Pulp (Boxcars) 2 - 3 cars per day
Kaolin (Tank Cars) 1-2 cars per day
Latex (Tank Cars) about 2 cars per week
Scrap Paper (external) - About 2 - 3 cars / day
Scrap Paper (intraplant) -- 2 - 3 cars / day

This is an older plant that could be well represented in a small space with a bunch of Design Preservation \'building block\' pieces!

If you have a limited amount of space, this one might be a good alternative for you.

[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1348 seconds