Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Peace River Paper Mill

A freight passes by on the mainline as the switcher
works the small yard at the Peace River mill.

I may not enjoy switching cars, but I have friends that do. The Peace River paper mill was built just for them—although I occasionally like operating it, too.

The mill occupies a space about eight feet long in one corner of the layout. When envisioning the CP Rail Manitoba & Minnesota Sub., which is set in the early to mid-1990s, I realized that it would require a few big industries—no small buildings that look like they could barely fill up one small truck on a good day, much less a whole boxcar. By the time period I am modelling, railways had long-ceased serving most of those small customers.

Another shot of the mill; the walls are styrene on foamcore.

The mill itself is entirely scratchbuilt. Which sounds more impressive than it really is; the building is almost entirely flat and possesses few details. (It exists more to give the impression of a large building, rather than really be a replica of one.)

The building is made of foamcore and Evergreen siding and strip styrene. (A lot of Evergreen siding and strip styrene . . . I kept my local hobby shop in business when buying styrene for the mill.)

Looking down the mill trackage from yard.

One feature of the complex is a mirror that makes the pulpwood receiving tracks look longer than they are.

The mill itself features a runaround track, five spurs and a two-track yard. It is served by it's own locomotive—an old unpainted Atlas S-2 that I bought used. I decided to leave it in "primer," and just re-number the unit.

S-2 #2 pulls a string of cars at the mill.

The left side of the mill is for receiving inbound recycled paper, pulpwood and chemicals. The right side is for shipping out finished product.

It can take about 40-45 minutes to switch out the mill—remove the outbound cars and replace with the inbound cars. It's great for keeping my operations-minded friends entertained. And I even operate it occasionally, too.

An overview of the Peace River paper mill.

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