Power Plants

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by jimnrose, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I'm thinking of adding a hydroelectric power plant to my layout and now is the time while I'm forming the terrain. Has anyone any photos of a plant and dam? I can envision the dam but can't seem to fathom the plant or its details. Any suggestions?
    Thanks, Jim
  2. roryglasgow

    roryglasgow Active Member


    I don't know much about hydroelectric plants, but I thought you might enjoy the attached photo. This is from the book Great Railway Journeys of the World, by Max Wade-Matthews. This is an excursion train that runs on a portion of a longer line from Sault Sainte Marie to Hearst, in Canada. The photo caption reads:


    Attached Files:

  3. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Hi Jim,
    Sorry, I don't have any photos, but I was thinking that in order to model one of these things is going to require some compression in size, even on a large layout. Are you wanting to model the dam itself? High tension lines? Power plant? Turbines?
    My advice would be, pick one feature to model in detail, & simply imply that there's more there, off the layout somewhere.
    Whatever you choose, it'll make a really interesting project.
    Good Luck!
  4. billk

    billk Active Member

    Jim - Got your heart set on a hydroelectric power plant? I was just thinking of this big coal-fired power plant in western Nebraska (called Goodfellow or something like that) - it has two separate railroads (UP and whatever Burlinngton is now) bringing coal to it, both on purpose-built lines.
  5. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks for your inputs. I'm thinking of a small dam and plant as a compliment to the coal and electric facilities I'm putting in.Initially I was putting in two waterfalls and one is near the coal mine area. As I'm putting in the cardboard strips, the waterfall could be converted to a dam. Now that I'm at the keyboard, I just remember a small power dam in western Connecticut that I'll visit and take a few photos.
    Take care, Jim
  6. billk

    billk Active Member

    JIM - In the current geopolitical climate, I'd be hesitant about taking pictures of power plants, get my drift? It might be better to use photos from books or the internet, limiting as that might be. Also, there are sites that have aerial photos of just about everywhere, look at the 'UPRR Bailey Yard' thread here on the Gauge. Anyway, sounds like a neat project!
    Bill K
  7. justind

    justind Member

    Flaming Gorge, UT

    This supplied the majority of the power in my old home-town. I am sorry but the picture is either not clear enough to tell, or it was taken during constrution...I think it is the latter. However they are always the same in design.

    Start with an arch, growing wider towards the bottom. At the base you will have some massive pipes or other openings (sometimes formed into the concrete). They will be as far down as possible w/o weakening the dam so except in the low season they will be under water. This is were the water passes through the dam. These can handle a bunch, but you still need a sizeable spill-way off to the side so that during the spring thaw or heavy rains you don't have to push more water through the hydroelectric machinery to avoid overflow (I beleive this would ruin the mechanics and probably eventually wear away the dam-not good). Usually on the canyon walls to the side or on top of the dam itself will sit a bunch of high voltage wires and what-not (any of the substation model building kits would work fine and you could improvise a lot). These usually connect to a collumn in the center of the dam. This will have a stairwell or elevator and is the main entrance from the top (you also need one on the bottom but the power-lines usally come from the top for safety reasons). The substation and powerlines will be thick, so sometimes they have grounded support lines coming from the canyon walls if they are high enough. The substation if is is on the dam is going to have to be high to accomodate a rail crane (like what you see at intermodal railroad yards). I don't know if you want that much detail, but the hydroelectric machinery in the dam is big, and this seems to be how they manuever it off of the trucks. Don't ask me how they get it into the dam, I have never seen that. In the picture there is a concrete block near the base (huge) that overhangs and acts as a platform (also the pipes shoot out water directly below it). Maybe there are some doors there.

    I hope this helped, it has been almost 7 years since I last visited this dam and I didn't pay much attention to the tour guide, however you can get a pretty good idea of the workings because they take you throgh the inside of the dam from the top to the base. Surprisingly a lot of it looked like the inside of an office building made of concrete with offices and computer labs and so forth. The base was a massive room full of vertical turbines and huge piping going everywhere and a lot of noise. With the nature of things in the world right now they probably don't do tours like that anymore.

  8. justind

    justind Member


    The substation is at the top of the side on the canyon wall, never the base as far as I have seen. I meant to say you need another opening in the base for entry/exit of workers.

    In the picture below you can make out the substation to the upper left in the forground, in the back is the crane (it is really, really tall).

    (There are 2 copies of this, I aplogize if it is the small version)

    Here are some of the Hoover Dam

    Here is the base of the Hoover Dam
  9. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    Justin & Rory,
    Thanks for the photos. I was initially thinking of a smaller dam but after seeing the shots, I decided to shift location to allow more area and highlight the dam structure. I've got some homework to do. Take care, Jim
  10. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    If you don't wanna scratchbuild the dam part (although I think that would probably be the easier part), I know for a fact I saw a kit the other day in one of the local train stores (can't remember the manufacturer) for a dam.

    I too, am thinking about a dam on some layout in the future (I just started, so I just have a small layout now, which is working out quite well - no need to intimidate myself at this point).

    Rock Island Mike.
  11. jimnrose

    jimnrose Member

    I'm backing down from the hydroelectric plant because the minimum dam height is 250ft to be anyway prototypical and that would scale around 3 feet which would overpower the layout. Although I have the floor space I don't have the height plus I avoid large structures.
    Thanks for the inputs. I will include two flood dams/waterfalls in an attempt to copy Shamus's work.
    Take care, Jim
  12. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Keep the coal-fired power plant in mind -
    These make much use of the railroad for bringing in fuel.
    Always remember that any large industry can be represented by something as simple as a track spur, & a chain-link fence. The rest can be implyed as being "off the layout".
  13. justind

    justind Member

    good idea charlie

    Jim, I really like what Charlie said...
    You wouldn't have to model the whole thing. In fact if you wanted you could make it so the dam is almost completely hidden in a canyon you won't be able to see much of from an operating/viewing angle. Then model the top of the dam and the catenary and cranes that you wish...or you could make the dam part of the backdrop with the catenary being a little to the side and actually a standing structure...its worth thinking about.
    If you do go with the dam, you may want to think of using a sheet of stained glass for the water. It can be a real pain to cut, but if someone has a water grinder that you could use you could get it into the shap you wanted fairly easily (don't cut your finger though, that stuff is sharp! :D ).
    Anyway, keep us informed.

Share This Page