Designing A Layout Based On A Single Industry

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by Drew1125, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    I’ve done a lot of “armchairing” on this concept over the last couple of years…designing & building an entire layout based entirely on a single industry, rather than the more traditional approach; having multiple industries on a single layout…

    Up until now, logging layouts are the only ones I’ve seen that practice this in its purest form… (outsideof the odd “micro”, or “pizza” layout.)

    You may think that building this type of layout would inherently mean it would have to be small…this is not necessarily true…size isn’t really that much of a factor…It’s a great design concept for a large, or small layout. Building a large layout this way would free up a lot of real estate for more prototypical things like larger structures, longer, multiple sidings, storage tracks, longer mainline runs…The advantages for a small layout are obvious…

    The single-industry concept lends itself perfectly to point-to-point operations…Industry pick-ups/drop-offs, main, or branch run to terminal/interchange…Continuous-rum setups could be made to work as well…perhaps with the industry switching on & off of a continuous running main…

    A few years back, I saw an idea in MR showing some ideas for designing a single-industry layout centered around the auto industry…

    My reason for posting this was to possibly get some discussion going…I’d love to get some feedback on this…any thoughts on this idea, pro or con…? Has anyone built a layout like this? Planning on it?
  2. engineshop

    engineshop Member

    Maybe this is the same layout you are talking about, but somebody built a huge metal foundry layout. It was really impressive and seemed to have more action than a regular layout with multiple industries.
    Another layout I saw once was just a harbor scene with containers and other freight like coal and metallic iron.
    That layout was actually the insperation for my layout since the harbor takes up about 50% of the layout and I have virtually no industry besides that. The rest of the layout is just going up the mountain so I can enjoy my trains.
  3. zedob

    zedob Member

    WEll, I've seen sugarcane, mining, and creosote plants done as independant railroads. However, most were narrow guage, but most also had dual guage track.

    Most of these layouts are built to give the impression that the railroad was hanging on by a thread and was/is in a state of disrepair, which may or may not be what you are looking for.
  4. Jac's Lines

    Jac's Lines Member

    I think it's a cool idea. Eastman Kodak has a 19 mile line called the Kodak Park RR that dates back to the early 20th century -- it's used to transport chemicals brought in by the main CSX lines or freighters docking at the port of Rochester into the main facilities where production occurs. There are lots of old pictures online of the facilities and I think that the gritty urban feel would not only look cool as a layout, but would provide lots of opportunities for view blocks, extensive use of flats, etc. It's also standard gauge. There are also a couple of pics of retired diesels painted up in the kodak scheme at this site:
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Neat discussion topic Drew!
    I've seen articles about nice layouts based on the steel industry with car movements from the furnaces to the various mills. I also recall some 4X8 layout plans with a back drop down the middle that divides the layout into two sections. Each side could represent a component of a single industry. One side could be a mine, for example while the other could be an unloading from rail to coal barge scene. This concept could lend itself to any number of industries: ie. meat packing plant on one side with stockyards and cattle loading on the other, refinery on one side/ wharfside loading to a ship on the other...same with grain elevators, etc. I suppose one side could be a small yard with an interchange and the other any major industry of choice.....
    Looking forward to other ideas!
  6. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I am entertaining the idea of single industry for my layout.

    The freelanced Wauseon & Norwalk Railroad is an Ohio shortline set in the 1950s with ties to the Nickel Plate Road. One of the themes I'm considering is using this railroad to support motive power for the NKP. The W&N could've been established to supply a new locomotive builder. All industries on the layout could revolve around this theme. Industries could include:

    Iron ore mine
    Steel mill
    Locomotive component builders
    Main builder assembly/maintenance shops
    Small local shops
    Steel recycling
  7. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Another possibility and one that would require some really difficult structure building would be to do a chemical plant ie: Dow, Dupont etc.

    Dow Chemical in Pittsburg is a huge facility with 40-50 tank cars and their own switching engine.

  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Another common idea for single-industry layouts are coal mines, like the classic Model Railroader Clinchfield plan, with a coal mine on one side and a powerplant on the other, with hidden trackage for empties-in/loads-out (and vice versa) operation.

    Even something like a fruit/vegetable packing plant could be used for a single-industry layout of moderate size. Some of the canneries where I live took up several city blocks, and would call for several types of cars: reefers carrying fruit and vegetables, tank cars full of corn syrup, lumber for packing boxes, sheet tin for cans, cardboard for packaging, glass jars, assorted chemicals--on multiple long spurs, sometimes from more than one railroad.

    Having passed by the oil refinery complex near Martinez on the Capitol Corridor, I can't help but imagine an oil refinery layout with tons of detailed piping and a hatful of tank cars. It would be a job for someone with a steadier hand than I, to do all of that piping!
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Everybody’s kickin’ out some great ideas here, folks! :thumb:

    I was discussing this topic at another forum, & one of the guys said it sounded “boring” to him, but that he was “more into modeling than operations”…

    Well, I think the modeling potential of the single industry design could be every bit as fun & challenging as the operations…Like a couple of people have mentioned here, the structure building alone would present a lot of opportunities for scratchbuilders & kitbashers, & some industries, such as steel mfg. would present the need for some specialized equipment/rolling stock…

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Interesting idea. There is a guy in our modular club who is interested in the Massey-Harris tractor plant in Brnatford (Ontario), and will be building a few modules based on the plant there.

    I wonder if a single industry (i.e. one factory or plant only) could be done. Mining, or prehaps metal processing could be large enough - many in the real world sport their own (sometimes narrow gauge) railway with dedicated cars and engines. Maybe a harbour would be the closest thing?

    So for the discussion seems to have followed the possibilities of a single industrial theme, rather than just one actual industrial installation. Or is that just a diorama? ;) :D

  11. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I just learned something new. I did not know there were any large equipment manufacturers that still shipped by rail.


  12. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

  13. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I obviously need to get out more often or move to another part of California where I can see such movements. Regardless, in context with this thread it would make for a unique modeling opportunity.


    Caterpillar still ships by rail, and I think most heavy equipment manufacturers ship by rail. Many of their machines are just too big to go on a truck over the highway.[/QUOTE]
  14. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I live in Cornfield Country, and frequently see John Deere farm equipment riding on the rails. Every now and then I see Caterpillar heavy equipment, but not as often.
  15. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Andrew,
    The modular idea sounds cool, but I'm still thinking of a strictly self-contained layout, not just a piece of a larger one...
    As far as the size of the industry...many of the industries that have been mentioned in this thread would be quite large in the real world...being located on sites possibly consisting of hundreds of acres, & containing at least a few miles of track...think about that in terms of the fact that a 4x8 sheet of plywood represents about 35 acres - IN Z SCALE! - So even with one industry, you would still have to use some modelers' license, & some size compression...
    And I'm not insinuating that the industry has to have its own RR...I'm just toying with the idea of a layout where all of the rail traffic, (either private, shortline, or Class 1 carrier) would be based on one single industry...
    And no, I'm not talking about a diorama...I'm talking about a working model of a section of RR...
  16. My favorite idea is The ACME (tm) Corporation, Supplying Cartoon Mayhem for 75 years!

    Literally Anything could be delivered there. Wood fpr shipping crates, chemicals of all types, coal, oil, even rocket fuel. Masses of steel for giany magnets, generators, ball bearings, etc
  17. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Don't forget anvils! :)
  18. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    This sounds a little like the layout I am in the planning stages of right now. The main industry will be a full service recycling plant that takes in raw materials (ie. junk :D ), seperates and processes it, stores it and ships it out to industrial customers.
    The complete layout will represent the junction of a semi-small north-south line and a major east-west railroad and will consist of the plant, a small residential/comercial area. a large switching/classification yard that will provide a local to take material to and from the plant, and a hidden staging area that represents the source of materials and customers for the finished product. When I get the plans refined a little more I'll post them in the "Layout Planning" section.
  19. zedob

    zedob Member

    Safes too.

    Yeah, that's me at Disneyland a few years back.

    Attached Files:

  20. SteamerFan

    SteamerFan Member

    You can build successful layouts centered on a single industry, for instance, you could build a Furniture factory and then build all the supply industires on the outskirts. So a lumber mill that delivers wood to the factory, a nail factory delivering nails, a glue factory (complete with horses) delivering Glue.

    You might say, "well that's not a single industry layout", but it is, all the industries are supporting a single central industry, since the Glue, Nails and Lumber all have to be supplied to the factory to make furniture. Of course, depending on the type of furniture factory, you could add a glass factory or a textile mill as well.

    Now if you had enough room to expand out, then you could start adding the suppliers for the suppliers, so a logging camp, a steel mill, ect. And you would still be a single industry layout, as the furniture factory would be the central industry and all the rails would link to it in some fashion.

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