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Date: 06/15/22 17:30
Most Popular Industries
Author: DynamicBrake

Based on the various types of cars available to model, I was wondering what, in your opinion, are the most popular industries to model?  TIA for any responses.

Kent in CArmel Valley



Date: 06/15/22 17:39
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: DKay

With all the great kits available these days (mostly Walthers) I would say grain handling is near top of the list. I went in heavily for the Ethanol plant kits also. Paper manufacturing plants can be interesting  .And of course Mining is always a winner.
Regards,dK



Date: 06/15/22 17:50
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: WrongWayMurphy

On my layout, it's food products, then cattle, then oil



Date: 06/15/22 18:39
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: wabash2800

It depends on the era. Since I model the transition era in the early 1950s, the railroad handled more customers and more kinds of industries, large and small. Box cars were the most common and could haul about anything including manufacturing products, automobiles, lumber, bags of cement and feed, and even grain. (Covered hoppers were not common yet.) Open top hopper cars were the second most common with the coal the biggest commodity hauled in hopper cars. "Short coal" was dropped on line to power industries, power plants and homes.

Victor B.



Date: 06/15/22 22:10
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: gnguy

Shoot for industries that can take a variety of car types.  manufacturing would need rolled steel, plastic pellets, boxcar supplies, flatcars with wood  etc. 
Fuel dealer would take oil, propane, coal, boxcars of lubricants.

and don't forget to have a team track.  It can take almost any type of car.

Mike Stewart
Oakley, CA



Date: 06/15/22 23:01
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: ts1457

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It depends on the era. Since I model the
> transition era in the early 1950s, the railroad
> handled more customers and more kinds of
> industries, large and small. Box cars were the
> most common and could haul about anything
> including manufacturing products, automobiles,
> lumber, bags of cement and feed, and even grain.

LCL, less than carload, was a significant part of traffic through the early fifties, so don't forget those freight houses in towns and cities and transfers at major yards. It's an easy way to get more boxcar traffic.



Date: 06/16/22 08:16
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: mcdeo

As already mentioned: era, location, and RR are key. And the other key as mentioned, try and pick industries with lots of car variety. Not a requirement, but certainly adds interest pretty quickly. Team tracks (trans unloads in modern day terminology) are great for variety. Interchanges are always at the top of the list for traffic variety and flexibility and easy to model, having a single siding into a backdrop for example. 

For my modern era layout, lots of generic, concrete tilt up warehouses that gets lots of boxcars usually, but pretty much can be any kind of carload including LCL and ship any kind of carload. 

I have an oil facility on the layout, gets crude oil in, gas/diesel/heavy oil out, plus carbon black out, coke out, and LPG out, as I've learned are by-products of refining oil. I think I could have some other chemicals come in for variety. Interesting to learn about how many different commodities a large industry can service. I also have a brewery, so a good variety of inbound/outbound cars and loads. 

Mike ONeill
Parker, CO



Date: 06/16/22 11:48
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: aehouse

The largest traffic receiver and shipper on my layout is a 1950s-era paper mill complex, which occupies about 15 linear feet of space.  Separate spurs exist for inbound chemicals, pulpwood, non-bulk products, and (powerhouse) coal. Outbound loads from the finished paper products warehouse require two spurs.  Inbound loads of chemicals come in tank cars and covered hoppers, pulpwood in pulpwood flats and boxcars, and non-bulk products in boxcars and the occasional gondola.  Outbound loads ride in boxcars, so there is a great mix.  My layout just misses the era of wood chips (a 1960s development) but had I included it that would have been another type of freight car added to the mix.

Art House



Date: 06/16/22 13:53
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: inyosub

   Both MCDeo and AEHouse make excellent points. Era Matters alot. Team tracks evolved into Break bulk terminals, and Freight houses
became Freight forwarders, and moved to intermodal.
   For a Model Railroad I think Papermills are timeless. Some of the chemicals have changed, but they always offer a variety of cars.
Chemicals in tank cars and hoppers. Chips in gons or pulpwood on flats or in gons and other cars. Boxcars outbound.
On my own layout I opted for a recycle mill, So it's scrap paper in, in ratty boxcars, and linerboard out in Big tall new boxcars.
   A lumber mill, that takes in logs and ships out lumber, chips and other things is also probably one of the most popular;but
doesn't have the car variety or shipping complexity. 
There are tons of interesting industries, but you asked for popular and these are some.



Date: 06/17/22 00:28
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: funnelfan

On the various layouts I've visited, there are some industries that are commonly modeled like grain elevators, freight houses, coal mines, and intermodal tracks. Sawmills and paper mills are also fairly common.

Ted Curphey
Cheney, WA



Date: 06/17/22 08:21
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: ts1457

The locations which I am considering for a late steam era layout in the Georgia-Alabama area all have cement plants, Many of the ones I see are served by two railroads. I am pretty certain that I will include a cement plant on any future layout.

One industry which I cannot ignore with my location is textile mills. To get back to LCL, many of those mills would load LCL in boxcars spotted at their plant. The destinations could be a transfer, where the shipments were reloaded into cars destined to all over the country



Date: 06/17/22 08:51
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: SPDRGWfan

inyosub Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>    Both MCDeo and AEHouse make excellent points.
> Era Matters alot.

Yes, and modern day, coal is declining.  



Date: 06/17/22 15:07
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: wabash2800

If you model early enough, covered hoppers had not yet been used widely and cement was loaded into boxcars bagged. Also, a cement plant might take in chemicals in tank cars, gondolas of clay and bags in box cars and cars that carried fuel. I am considering one on my layout. Cement plants had a high ratio of machinery versus workers and equipment might be shipped in and out too.

Victor B.

ts1457 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The locations which I am considering for a late
> steam era layout in the Georgia-Alabama area all
> have cement plants, Many of the ones I see are
> served by two railroads. I am pretty certain that
> I will include a cement plant on any future
> layout.
 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/17/22 20:11 by wabash2800.



Date: 06/17/22 15:44
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: ts1457

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you model early enough, covered hoppers had not
> yet been used widely and cement was loaded into
> boxcars bagged. Also, a cement plant might take in
> chemicals in tank cars, gondolas of clay and bags
> in box cars and  car that carried fuel. I am
> considering one on my layout. Cement plants had a
> high ration of machinery versus workers and
> equipment might be shipped in and out too.

The railroads I am looking at all were buying a few covered hoppers by 1941, so I assume they were for the cement shippers. In the Southeast, most cement plants have a local source of limestone, but the quarries certainly could be shipping limestone by rail to other places. I think coal was typically used to fire the kilns.

Certainly both bagged and bulk cement could be shipped from the same plant.



Date: 06/17/22 16:40
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: NCA1022

While not technically an "industry", modeling an interchange with another railroad is always a winner.  You can have as little or as much car volume as you care to model.  You can hide a pretty long interchange track behind /inside buildings or through a well hidden hole to a track behind the backdrop.  Because the cars are going to "off layout" industries, they can be virtually any in-era car type.  Don't have an industry that takes covered gondolas or coil steel cars?  No problem - route them to the interchange.  Moving traffic between two interchanges representing different railroads is an interesting bridge traffic move.  Interchanges also provide an excuse to run a wider variety of road names. 

My 2 cents.

- Norm



Date: 06/18/22 18:27
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: EricSP

I noticed nobody answered his question, which was what is the most popular industry to model based on model freight cars available. I have no idea except the first thing to came to mind is that there are a lot of covered hopper models.

mcdeo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have an oil facility on the layout, gets crude
> oil in, gas/diesel/heavy oil out, plus carbon
> black out, coke out, and LPG out, as I've learned
> are by-products of refining oil. I think I could
> have some other chemicals come in for variety.
> Interesting to learn about how many different
> commodities a large industry can service.

A carbon black plant located next to an oil refinery makes sense but I don't think I have heard of or seen such a thing. Of course I plan to have a 30,000 BPD oil refinery with a couple of steam crackers which I am sure is not prototypical.

If your refinery has a fluid catalytic cracker you could have FCC catalysts delivered in PD hoppers. If it has an akylation unit you can have sulfuric acid or hydrofluoric acid delivered in tank cars. Sulfur and ammonia are some by-products that it could ship out. There are oxygenates that could come in by rail. Depending on the era there may be no oxygenates, methyl tertiary butyl ether added at the refinery, or ethanol added at the truck loading racks. If any company adds a multiple compartment tank car or you want to scratch build some can go to a lubricant plant at the refinery.

Sometimes fuels are shipped by rail. The refinery in Commerce CIty, CO ships gasoline, diesel, and probably jet fuel, to the terminal in Grand Junction, CO by rail. The refinery in El Dorado, KS used to ship about a half dezen tank cars at a time of gasoline to Richmond, CA (if I remember correctly). Before hurricane Rita a local racing fuel distributor used to get tank cars placarded 1203 from Nederland, TX. I am assuming they found a new supplier while the refinery was shut down.

I currently have part of the oil refinery I plan to model, a dry bulk terminal, and a small train yard with an intermodal terminal on my layout. There are a couple more spaces I will probably used for a tomato processing plant and citrus packinghouse. Once I can expand I plan to add a mini-mill and lumber mill or paper mill if I have enough space.



Date: 06/18/22 19:20
Re: Most Popular Industries
Author: jgilmore

Of course, the most traffic intensive industry is a landlocked integrated steel mill, with coal, ore (taconite), scrap and limestone in and lots of products out. All of which have a considerable variety of representative cars already available. Only problem is to build a mill and do it justice requires more time and space than most modelers have available, and perhaps money too...

JG



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