Help me choose some industries

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by alexbnfan, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member


    As i am on a very strict budget, I am thinking of what industries should go on my new layout. I am thinking of some IHC, and Lifelike, Atlas, and all those cheap kits, repainted, but i am wondering, what industries would be good.

    Just so you know, my Era is the 1970's to early 80's, roadname is BN, Locale is anything goes. Also, one last point, i am not really concerned about the prototypicalness of the size opf the industries.

  2. CRed

    CRed Member

    Grain & Cement Elevators are always good choices and maybe a oil/refinery type industry would be good.Something to do with coal is nice also.

    On mine I'm putting a Walthers ADM Grain Elevator and their super refinery kit along with a warehouse or two.I like there back ground kits so i'll be getting some of those.

  3. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    I've thought about them, but they seem too expensive, and too big for my applications.

    Thanks anyway
  4. CRed

    CRed Member

    Well the reason I brought them up is that they are popular industries and are made by many manufacturers so you should be able to find cheap alternatives to the Walther kits.

    Good luck.
  5. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    I know they are popular, but i was thinking more the el cheapo kits.
  6. CRed

    CRed Member

    "and are made by many manufacturers so you should be able to find cheap alternatives to the Walther kits"

    Don't think you noticed that,but either way you should be able to find cheap alternatives.

  7. ed acosta

    ed acosta Member


    Try to give your railroad a reason for being. As such, the choice of railcars you currently have should dictate the type of industy that will be served. Do you have chemical tank cars, box cars, container cars or hopper cars and gondolas? Well, put them to work by creating the type of industry that would justify the existance of each type of railcar you own.

    You mentioned that you are seeking low-budget items and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you have a little creativity. You are not confined to assembling the kit for type of industry and signage that is shown on the cover of the box. Customize, and perhaps combine parts of other kits to create a different type of industry and use your own signs.

    Look for model train swap meets in your area and you might be surprised at finding the more expensive craftsman kits at real good prices.


    -Ed Acosta
  8. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    I'd check trainshows, but this isnt really a area for that type of thing.

    Furthermore, the other problem with larger kits is that i dont have the room for them.
    So everyone knows, i have numerous types of cars.

    I have decided on a coal mine, team track and maybe a factory that will serve as a bakery. What else could be used in a very small space?
  9. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    What do you think about scratchbuilding some of those industries Alex?
  10. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    I'd try it, but, how do you cut the styrene?
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Another flexible "industry" is a platform where you can unload almost anything. wheeled vehicles, boxes of ???, stuff that fits on a handcart or forklift (plastic forks or metal).
    You might look for industries that take a variety of car types -- meat packing is one but they tend to get large.
  12. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    yeah, i'll proabaly have 2 of them on my layout
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    This is probably out of your era, but what about a country co-op? Folks would bring in livestock to be shipped out in stock cars, produce to be shipped in reefers, and recieve box car loads of farm supplies. Something like a team track.

  14. alexbnfan

    alexbnfan Member

    not a bad idea. I dont really care about matching prototypes that much too.
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Check out ezday's scratchbuild challenge entry for a neat flour mill..

    If you are REALLY on a budget, you can easily scratchbuild out of cardboard. All you need is a hobby knife, a straight edge, and some glue. You could make a grain storage elevator out of carboard tubes. You could also check out the cardmodels forum for some neat ideas and tips.

  16. green_elite_cab

    green_elite_cab Keep It Moving!

    I'd go with the walthers kits and just buy them over time. Thats what i had to do for my layout. it was until last june that i even had all the basic structures i wanted for my 4x8, and at that point i had my layout for 3-4 years. I didn't even have a job until right after i got the last kit.

    Here is what i would suggest. You recently said you were redoing your layout, so here are two top notch suggestions-

    Loads in Empties Out

    This is an awesome way of running a railroad. basically, you'd have a pair of industrys that take a unit train of something, (like coal mines and a power plant). each industry would have a loads in track, and an emptys track. However, the trick is that these tracks would be SECRETLY CONNECTED! so when your BN crew backs up an empty coal train under a flood loader, the empty cars go through the hidden tracks and come out the other side of the building that "houses" the unloading machinery. at the same time, a full train of coal should be at your coal loader, and you pull that train out to the power plant, and back it in its "loads in" track. you grab the empties that are at the plant, and bring them back to the coal loader, starting the process all over again.

    Its one of the best ways to keep your layout busy.

    Magic Pan Bakery- The versatile kit

    Magic Pan bakery is another good kit to start as your "base" for a model railroad. Magic Pan needs loads of grain, and it needs insulated box cars/reefers and other things for it to both make goods, and ship them out. An addition to magic pan would be a tank car track, as alot of places like these need shipments of things like corn syrup, which are also shipped by tank cars

    SO where does Magic Pan get grain?

    From the ADM grain elevator. So you would have this kit on the corner of your layout somewhere with some grain hoppers, but also a loading track for box cars (surprisingly, alot of grain is still moved in bags by boxcars), and another track for heavy machinery that is sometimes shipped by rail ( these last two don't need to be big)

    What about the Boxcars?

    get a warehouse. Nu-line makes big warehouses (then again, they are modular, and can be built to a size you like), and walthers makes Lakeville Shipping. warehouses can ship just about any kind of freight commodity put in a box car, so box cars and things can go back and forth. It doesn't need to take to much space up either. You can probably make the warehouse a "backround building" kit, to save space.

    What about the Cornsyrup?

    You don't need a huge facility for this either. One prototype cornsyrup place in NJ that i've seen is literally a small warehouse building like ST plastics by Great West Models, only it had 2 indoor railcar loading areas (but you only need one in your case anyway!), and was a bit longer. luckily, GWM's parts are also modular, so you can buy packs of their warehouse walls and kits to make a stucture you like! With two tracks for loading tank cars, you can bring the tanks cars back and for as magic pan needs them. Here again, you can make this a backround building kit, being long enough to enclose a couple tank cars.

    You can try one or both of these ideas, and it will fill your layout with operations. If you plan right, none of these industrys will take up to much space, and you can run a vareity of eqipment like tank cars, boxcars, Flat cars/gondolas (machinery loads for the factorys), covered hoppers, and Coal gondolas, to name a few.

    I hope i've helped you get some ideas!

    the kits mentioned here are-

    ST plastics Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 24-106

    ADM Grain Elevator Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 933-3022

    Magic Pan Bakery Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 933-2915

    Nu line warehoue (keep in mind you can make it smaller!) Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 533-8710021

    You can also get a backround building kit of this building, but i can't find it. It is much smaller than the Nu-line Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 933-2917

    Tri State Power ( you can still find this kit despit it being retired) Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 933-3055

    Wester Flood Loader Walthers Model Railroad Mall -- product information page for 933-3089

    Just save up your money and get them one at a time. trust me, you don't want to do this all at once!

    Space is also not as much as a proble. Your layout should have enough space if you plan it right.
  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Another cheap alternative for a grain silo kit in addition to card board tubes is to buy some pvc pipe or electrical conduit at your local home center the right diameter for a silo. Then cut the pipe to length and add tops made of styrene, as well making the necessary buildings from styrene. You could also get some inexpensive Pike Stuff "Butler" type buildings to kitbash with your pvc pipe to make a grain elevator complex. If you use pvc pipe, you will need to use a liquid glue that will work with pvc, the normal styrene glues will not work pvc. I think some of the plastic pipe is made with abs, and that might be an even better material to use with styrene. Micro Engineering makes a lot of their stuff from abs and their cement will work with both abs and styrene.
  18. FiatFan

    FiatFan Member

    Another small industry is a canned pet food manufacturer. When I worked for one in the '80s, we could ship as many as 10 railcars a day. Just a small to medium size building with a single siding would be enough to represent a smaller manufacturer. We had three spurs and still fit in less than a city block. We would also get the occasion tank car of inbound ingredients to add operational interest.

  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Another "industry" that's even more flexible than the team track is a car ferry. The low end is a barge with tracks on it that match up to the end of a siding; high end is a dedicated boat or ship.
    Anything can be loaded or unloaded from the car ferry -- a convenient "other end" for some of the problem industries.
    A simple car ferry model is a shaped plank with track on it. You could even have multiples and store them like a cassette fiddle yard.

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