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Thread: Steel made in America

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    Default Steel made in America

    This is going to be a thread to document some of my journey modeling the manufacturing of steel.
    With a background in the rail industry and directly serving a major producer of steel for over 13 years now I hope I can bring both the professional prospective and the modelers prospective to this thread and that the information here can help others wishing to model this industry. In addition to working around this industry I have spent a great deal of time researching and studying the history of steel production in America.

    My aim for this thread is to be a place I can share my progress through the process of building multiple phases of the steel production process. I also plan to model several railroads that played a critical part in this process here in Pittsburgh. I will be modeling Conrail, the Union Railroad, and the Bessemer & Lake Erie. Down the line as time and space allow more the potential for the addition of the B&O (Chessie), and P&LE may make the layout.
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Over the coming week I hope to bring the thread up to speed on the process I am going through with heavily kitbashing a Walther blast furnace kit.

    The blast furnace complex will consist of three furnaces, each will be kitbashed and built to represent not a specific furnace but to have the flavor of furnaces commonly found around Pittsburgh area before the collapse of steel circa 1987.

    Stay tuned..
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    I am looking forward to this thread

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    Some pictures Please!

    ___________Just do it in Vinyl!__________


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    Locomotive Roster Update #1

    One of the interesting ties to the steel industry is its direct link to railroads. In addition to the Class 1, regional, and short lines that serve mills many have there own inter-plant railways.

    Since I am basing my N scale steel mill off of US Steels Pittsburgh area I decided to model the motive power off of USS inter-plant locomotives. Going with a late 1970s based layout I was able to track down through a nice collection of images that showed what the switchers looked like at various plants around Pittsburgh. Typically USS was using variations of a light blue scheme on its inter-plant locos around the "Mon Valley"* Now before anybody points out a variation I will say inter plant exchanges of locomotives were extremely common especially at US Steel so the light blue was common not a rule. One of the biggest exceptions was at the US Steel Edgar Thomson Works. From the mid 1970s till the mid 1980s the ET Plant as its locally called had a very eye catching paint scheme for several of its inter-plant switchers. Bright orange car bodys with a blue frame, fuel tank, and trucks. I am choosing to go with this scheme. I think I will really stand out in the maze of giant rusty buildings that will make up the mill scene.

    So here are two KATO NW2s that started life as Union Pacific locos. Only partially through the process I wanted to share these two units before they get a nice coat of heavy grime.



    Here is a link to a NW2 that was recently overhauled and painted, likely being transferred from another USS property. You might notice the lettering is slightly different, and it is! I have come across about a dozen photos of the ET locomotives in orange/blue and they are all uniquely painted

    http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/sho...spx?id=1891242

    * Mon Valley is a region around the city of Pittsburgh that follows the Monongahela river south east from the city. The heart of Pittsburgh steel industry was on the banks of the "Mon" and today US Steel refers to the various plants the "Mon Valley Works"
    Last edited by Bessemer Bob; 2nd Aug 2019 at 01:07 PM.
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    So why the "Mon Valley Works"

    As stated above the current day complex of individual plants in the Pittsburgh area is known as the US Steel Mon Valley Works. Before the collapse of steel there were several integrated mills in the valley that all had separate names, since I am not going to model a specific plant and specific furnaces I went with the general "Mon Valley Works" for the inter-plant locomotives.
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Blast Furnace construction Update #1

    #1 furnace construction
    Ill try to keep the history lesson a little shorter on this one. More posts with less story.

    Heavily kitbashed from a Walthers kit. The cast house floor is scratch as well as the walls. The three furnaces will be based a lot off of Carrie #6, and #7 at US Steel Homestead Works. (DJ just posted a good drone video of these) Key word is "based" I am not trying to model this site. In fact I will be using some scenes from J&Ls Eliza furnaces too!

    A lot of the furnaces that are now long gone from this area were smaller then todays survivors. National Tube, and Carrie 6,7 were smaller and since even in N scale a mill eats up a ton of space I am modeling smaller furnaces that will be squeezed together.





    A lot more to come!
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Locomotive Roster Update #2


    Finished up #110. This unit now has TCS DCC and a good coat of weathering. Its been years since I did any customer work in N scale and many lessons were learned on this one.

    Handrails are a PITA!
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Its been a while. Got frustrated assembling one of these NWs. I break them down about as far as I can for painting and weathering. A couple things gave me fits so I just stepped away (thought about HO) and when I got bored went back to the attic to finish the second NW2. For now those are the only two NW2s that I am going to do. These two will get the JMRI treatment and be speed matched and scale speed maxed out to 15mph. Due to N scale being N scale they will be paired together just in case the want to occasionally stall on a frog etc. Technically these units never had MU capability and in the mill switchers always work alone(in the mills I work at and what I am trying to model, yes other mills had units MU'd). I push for prototypical operations etc, but I try to remember at the end of the day these are toy trains. I dont want to beat myself up trying to mimic the real world 100%, instead have fun with the hobby!
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    I push for prototypical operations etc, but I try to remember at the end of the day these are toy trains. I dont want to beat myself up trying to mimic the real world 100%, instead have fun with the hobby!
    ^^^ THIS ^^^
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    It’s fun to watch you iron this out. I like how you temper your expectations of the engines. Look out for oxide on the wheels. I hope you find a way to forge forward and have a blast.

    I suspect your quenching a thirst for steel plants on this forum!
    --
    Leo Bicknell

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    It has been quiet, too quiet!

    A nice October keep me outside as much as possible. I do not know how many times I was out saying "its not going to hit 70 till Spring" just to have another nice day. That basically kept me away from trains.

    Well now the time change has happened and from being above average we have been having temps below average so back to the attic!

    Just getting warmed up, but a little glimpse...
    [IMG][/IMG].

    #1, #2 furnace and foundations are underway, #1 cast house frame is up.

    Lots more to come hopefully soon.
    Modeling Steel in N scale


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    Slow progress, a few steps forward and a few back.

    Got the roof over the slag runners done. Hope to put the roof on the cast house tonight.
    Modeling Steel in N scale


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    Liking this waiting for the next update

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    Progress continues on #1 and #2 furnace.

    All that is left on #1 is the roof around the furnace vessel, and some final detail work on the corners. I am going to try to get to that point on both 1,and 2 this weekend.
    Once those two are basically ready for paint I am going to start on the blast furnace stoves and associated plumbing. Lots of pipes will need to be added beyond the Walthers Kit.



    Some rolling stock and mill locos staged on a foam shelf I have above the work bench. Its exciting to see things finally start to look like a model and not a pile of styrene.


    Merry Christmas to everybody. If you are not into that, well enjoy the free day off!
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    Looking great Bessemer - nice job indeed.
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat457 View Post
    Looking great Bessemer - nice job indeed.
    Thanks Tony.

    The project is moving much slower then anticipated. It amazing how a few hours here or there in the evening is not getting a ton of work done.. But I am chipping away.

    I was so excited to get this far on the cast houses I almost forgot that I have to do the top works before I move onto the stoves..............
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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    I think I'm experiencing vicariously through you, @Bessemer Bob, my latent interest in modeling the steel industry. So many cool cars, structures and locomotives.

    MR published back in the late 1990s an article featuring two bedroom-sized track plans for steel mill layouts. I pored over those for hours. Still an enticement. ...
    Paul Schmidt

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    Gut! Besser! Bessemer!

    Following your build thread closely. My ignorance of the steel industry is vast, so as you proceed I hope to learn something of the process.
    Cheers!
    Gordon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    MR published back in the late 1990s an article featuring two bedroom-sized track plans for steel mill layouts. I pored over those for hours. Still an enticement. ...
    Paul,

    do you have any recollection of what issue that was?
    Modeling Steel in N scale

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