The Great Intermodal Myth!!

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Bikerdad, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    For some reason, the thought of modeling intermodal operations really appeals to me, but...

    the sheer size of intermodal port operations is staggering. I mean really, who wants to dedicate the space for a static ship model that's nearly a 1000' scale feet long, right? Just about everywhere I turn, I'm reading that "prototype intermodal modeling" is going to be very rare because of the size, and that's why nobody makes ships that big, etc...


    It turns out that we've been misled, bamboozled, snookered, kept in the dark, etc.

    Mind you, it may not be as practical for HO folks to do intermodal, but what about N-scalers? Can you dedicate a mere 22 x 4 inches to your intermodal freighter? Sure you can...

    Or, if you have a hankerin, you can just buy the REAL THING...

    You don't even have to model the cranes with this baby!

    3 Million Euros and you can be an intermodal shipping tycoon!

    Click on the "ships for sale" link for more potential small container ships to bust the myth.
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    The main reason I'm not interested in modeling intermodal operations is that I enjoy switching industries. In intermodal, cranes put containers on chassis, and trucks do all of the "switching." The other thing that I have noticed is that a static model of an intermodal port looks good in a magazine, but look at it in person on a layout, and the total lack of movement looks dead.
  3. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    Photo vs. in person layout

    I'll keep that in mind. Of course, it seems as though the railcars still have to get into position (i.e., switching opportunity) and there's also a great potential is for creating functioning cranes...

    Maybe I'll have to visit an intermodal port one of these days and find out in person. (Given that the nearest port is @300 miles away....)

    Thanks for the comment.
  4. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    Why not just do a rail to truck intermodal facility and forget the port operations?

    While it still would be somewhat large to do in HO it certainly would be smaller and easier if you leave out port operations.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Now I'm sure I recall some one around here building an intermodal ship! Who was it? There were even some preliminary pics. Hmmmmm. Ship builder, are you out there?
  6. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Interesting thread, Bikerdad...
    A couple of things...

    First of all, thanks for posting that site...even if none of us have the $$$$$ to throw down on the real thing :eek:, you've provided a fantastic source of prototype photos for anyone thinking about building a model of a boat! :cool:

    Second, you've illustrated one of the great advantages of modeling in N scale...i.e. the scope of railroading you can fit into a given space in this scale is just tremendous! Not to mention long trains, with big modern equipment, & locomotives, that look great, & operate perfectly on 18" radius curves!

    Now, as far as modeling an intermodal facility, or representing any large industry that you really don't have the space for, remember, from an operations standpoint, an industry can be represented as something off the don't have to model the whole thing! ... in other words, an intermodal facility could be something as simple as a siding along the edge of the layout, where you stage intermodal "empties-in-loads-out" type could include stacks of containers, & a crane too if you have the could have a picture of cranes & ships on the backdrop...just some ideas...just keep in mind that a big part of model railroading is the art of "selective compression".
  7. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Who said... needed to model the docks???

    Uhmmm- there's more way to skin a cat (I can think of 200 just using a handgrenade) if you just think outside the docks.

  8. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    Okay, I know...

    ..., a bit over the top- my last comment BUT-

    I think if you look at the Truro, Nova Scotia post on this BB you'll see a Trailer Train facility that looked quite nice as far as modeling Intermodal.

    There is the receiving end too- I guess is what I meant.

    You don't "have to" model Port Newark in order to model intermodal.

    I have no use for it- beyond the scope of my interests- but if that's what I wanted- I'd make it happen.

  9. rsn48

    rsn48 Member

    A 22 inch long ship in N scale would equal 293 foot long ship in real life, not a very large ship for I know you were just funnin, but I thought I would check it out.
  10. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    I had forgotten about the selective compression technique. I have seen some great examples and some not so great examples, but if done properly this would work.

  11. Bikerdad

    Bikerdad Member

    RSN, I'm somewhat serious. The linked ship is 99 meters long, which scales out to 61.875 cm, or 24 3/8". I actually stumbled across a few others that were a bit smaller. Admittedly, the 8,000 TEU monsters are a lot more impressive, but lotsa lit'l intermodals exist.

    For me, the ship to rail to ship is the most interesting, rail to truck is mundane. Figuring out a good way of doing the compression for a small intermodal exchange where the ship has its own cranes (a' la the link) is going to be fun. Methinks something along the lines of the treatments that rail-float scenes get would work, with the potential advantage that the ship tie-up can be parallel to the tracks. Heck, when I'm a rich retired young fart, I'll do an HO scale Baltic RORO, the ultimate in ship/train combos. Or maybe I'll model the WW1 Lake Victoria naval race in a garden layout. (Subtitled : Gunboats on the Serengeti)

    FYI, a TEU is "Twenty-Foot Equivalent", the standard measure of Intermodal shipping container capacity.
  12. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Why model a port intermodel?
    My parents used to live in Glendale Az. Right up the road was Santa Fe's truck-intermodel facility.
    A few years back, I think late '80s early 90's,MR did a couple part series on doing a port intermodel facility. The ship was just backdrop cutout. The guy did it for an HO modual
  13. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    ITS dock in Long Beach Ca. has a K Line train on dock each week from the U.P. It brings in loads to go directly from the train to the ship, and it picks up loads off the ship to go East on the train. I think they use utr's (trucks w "bomb carts"-chassis made with 1" thick plate) to transfer the loads from the train to the ship and vice versa. They may have a couple of trains each week depending on how often the K Line ships come in.
  14. babydot94513

    babydot94513 Member in training

    The Port of Oakland is a fascinating operation to watch. A few years ago I worked for an insurance company that insured a portion of the Port ops and I was amazed at what happened and how all the cargo was handled.

    Yes, it would make for a fascinating model scene with all the ship, truck and rail operations but it would be way complex to try on any large scale for model railroading.
  15. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    A "by the way" for you...


    I have held onto a "Blue Devil" Destroyer kit for quite a long time figuring how to remodel her for use in N-Gauge.

    I could see it as a Corvet on steroids and have imagined it with containers- or perhaps a bulk (coal/grains) carrier.

    22" long- 4 " wide, I know once I come to my senses it'd be a nice Destoyer- in the mean time-

    How many cubits was Noah's ark?

  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Bikerdad,Our intermodal yards at the club measures 2'x 12' down the back side of the layout (in the yard area)and is a intermodal yard not a port terminal(hard to justify when the club's RR doesn't go near a ocean port you see).We also found out that there was indeed a lot of misinformation and myths about modeling intermodal yards..We do make up and break down our intermodal trains and of course place empty cars where needed.This keeps one member busy during operations.:D
  17. grumbeast

    grumbeast Member

    reasonable sized container terminals

    Hi Bikerdad.

    I live in Dartmouth / Halifax, not a large city by any stretch.
    We have quite a lot of container traffic and with a little selective
    compression you could model something like the fairview or
    halterm facilities we have here. Here are a few links to the
    port authority website. Have a look around and you'll find some
    maps and photos

    Hope this helps!


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