It’s not often that you get to see internal (in-plant) company railway operations today. Thankfully “Saginaw Terminal Docks” (Facebook and YouTube) posted a video from Reid Machinery in Lansing, Mi showing how they use old freight cars to store valuable machinery on their site prior to sale.
Reid Machinery’s internal railroad
Reid Machinery Inc of Lansing Michigan have specialised in moving machinery, primarily in the forging industry, throughout North America since 1992. And while that may not seem like the most worthy thing to write about on the third Tuesday in July – I urge you to hang around a moment longer. You see they also hold their large (as in big – not lots of) inventory on and in their own railroad assets.
Yes – they have their own switching layout.
Thanks to Saginaw Terminal Docks we have a front row seat, and a cab ride on one of these switching moves. I asked him about connections to the rest of the world. He tells me that the in-plant line connects to the JAIL/Adrian & Blissfield on over a mile of old track through Lansing’s south side.
And this is so modellable…
Some of the things to watch out for in the video are:
- The three person crew (Engineer, conductor, and digger – and yes it’s a guy with a shovel)
- Slow switching speeds
- At around the 18 minute mark – opening the boxcar door with the forklift forks (we often model the result but the actual operation is rarely filmed)
So sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy the show.
Who says that asking for help doesn’t work?
When I wrote the TSE Boxcars page, about images I took back in 2005 in Austin Texas, I had no idea about the operational nature of the cars. Thanks to Paul, who is familiar with the cars, their loads, and operations I now can share a little more information with you.
This morning (AEST) Paul wrote the following: “Those cars came in empty. We would spot six at a time Balcones Recycling and they would be loaded with waste paper. There was about 30 of these cars that were in captured service. We would send the loaded cars out on the UP. They did not come in loaded with lumber. East end lumber is now long gone, and it has been at least 40 years since they received rail service.”
My thanks go out to Paul for sharing his time and knowledge with me. One of the reasons I love the Model Railway community is their willingness to share. Greatest hobby in the world? I’d like to think so.
I’ve updated the page with the information Paul has provided. Good to know finally what they were there for, and the operation cycle they used.
Update and explanation
There has been a shortage of posts on Andrew’s Trains during February, due to a couple of factors. First and most importantly my eldest is moving to another city and beginning at University. Mum and I have put in a lot of work to get her ready for the transition during January and so far in February. This has included multiple trips back and forth looking for accommodation, signing of leases, paying rent, bond and the government related tasks that need to be done to get your adult life underway. The second reason in my output has been extreme heat events we’ve suffered in regional Victoria over the last couple of weeks. Most homes in town don’t have air conditioning. Ballarat’s climate (being nearly 1500 feet above sea level with usually low humidity) means that apart from a few days each year we don’t need it. However, when the air temperature gets over 35 degrees Celsius (this week over the 40 degree Celsius mark) there is simply nowhere to hide from the heat. February is Victoria’s hottest month and the most dangerous. Enough of all of that for now – on to the modelling.
Site 1: The Design Build Op Blog – Scrap Steel Loads
Image courtesy of designbuildop.hansmanns.org
Mike Weiss, one of the Wheeling Freight Terminal crew members has a very clever method of creating scrap steel loads for gondolas. His approach takes on industry standards, rather than the usual articles in model railroad magazines about making scrap steel loads. Often these articles don’t provide an easy way to remove the loads without a wire loop or hidden magnet. In this article Mike addresses both issues. There is a lot of great information on the blog beyond this post. Take the time to look around. Very well worth the effort.