Saturday, February 6, 2016

An Easy (and Busy) Industry to Model

I’ve passed this industry dozens of times on the 401 when travelling from Pearson airport in Toronto to Kitchener.

I’ve often wondered what it was, and what was being brought in by the covered hoppers that are usually lined up outside the building.

So, this time, I decided to do a bit of research. And with some time between business appointments, I also went trackside to take a few photos, too.

The company is Katoen Natie, which is headquartered in Belgium. It provides logistics and other services to various industries in Europe and North America.

In Canada, Katoen Natie has branches in Edmonton, Montreal and Mississauga. This Mississauga location offers logistics for specialty chemicals—plastics used for packaging, boxes and bags.

I assume the covered hoppers lined up beside the building are bringing plastic pellets, and that they are unloaded pneumatically. The cars are delivered by Canadian Pacific.

(And thanks to Jurgen Kleylein, I now know that the pellets are stored in the cars until needed; no need for storage facilities in the building. This explains why there are so many hoppers there.)

For those of us modelling the modern era, an industry like Katoen Natie would be a great addition to a layout, what with having so many spots for cars in such a small area.

It would be simple to make with some cardstock, foam board and corrugated siding. You don't even need doors!

It could be modelled as a flat, with one, two or, in this case, three tracks beside it.

Too bad the CP Rail M & M Sub. is done. Maybe if I ever build a new layout, this could become a signature industry.

(Sorry about the trackside photos; the sun was on the wrong side of the building when I made my visit.)


  1. Great post. I've visited this industry before. There's often one boxcar spotted here among the hoppers, which adds some operating interest. I drive along Hwy. 401 frequently and often when I pass this place, there's a different mix of cars on the tracks so it's clearly a busy industry.

  2. Great post. I've visited this industry once and see it often during frequent Hwy. 401 trips. Although there wasn't one there on the day you visited, there's often a boxcar spotted among the hoppers, which adds operating interest.

  3. Up until a couple of years ago, K&N also occupied the building on the other side of the main for what I'm assuming was warehousing and transloading of bulky items. There were multiple boxcars spotted there on a regular basis, which can still be seen if you use Bing Maps.

  4. I have often followed the Tracks around the GTA (and everywhere else ) on google maps looking for Industries to Model. I had seen this but hadn't followed up . Thanks for the info.

  5. I used to model this very industry when my layout was in Mississauga! i've since scaled down to a condo in Toronto where I model a smaller Plastics plant based on a former plant in Peterborough.

  6. Thanks for that. I had clocked this and included it in a shelf in my railway room though have not got round to finishing it due to lack of photos. I live in UK so not that easy to get there!