Sunday, December 27, 2020

Modelling a Working Scrapyard

Well, not "working" as in piles of steel and aluminum being dumped, pulverised, moved around, loaded, unloaded and all that. Seems the only things motile on my layout are the trains. Everything else is at a standstill. Diggers aren't digging, they're leaning on their shovels. Cars on streets are seemingly at stop signs. One tiny nexus of animation can be my I. Cohen scrapyard.

My scrapyard, like the prototype early Cohen scrapyard in Kingston (above), was on a track shared with other industries. In the above Queen's University Archives photo, the Kingston fire department had extinguished a fire in early February, 1968, and the run-off can be seen across the CP track. The building at right housed batteries, and there's a CP boxcar spotted there. 

In my case, my Cohen scrap yard is a gateway on the spur to Anglin building supplies (British Columbia Railway boxcar - below), Shell Oil, and Canadian Dredge & Dock. Anything going down that spur has to get through Cohen's first. So it's regularly switched, and has only a one-car spot (Soo Line gondola - below):


I use my scrapyard as a junkpile for layout projects. Simply out of the Love of Laziness and the Danger of the Duck-under. Why traipse over the garbage can on my wife's craft-room side, or have one underfoot on my side? Styrene snippings, cardboard cut-offs and bent joiners all get tossed into this little eight inch-square Cornucopia of Crap. The two water bottles show the proximity to my pull-out workbench-on-a-shelf:


Also due to the Love of Laziness, sometimes it's just easier to find a little piece of this or scrap of that in my scrapyard. When needed for a project, I can fish around in there and usually find just what I need.


Need a stirring stick, or a glue applicator, or a hole-filler while at the workbench? Just fish around the junkpile and it can usually be found.


Some carloads remain in open-top cars, like coal (drop-in plastic loads or aquarium substrate). Steel and lumber come out. Scrap comes out (from a loaded car, needed for another load - above), and goes in. (loading a car at the scrapyard - below) Guess where it comes from? Yes, the junkpile. I can even handpick items like rails, large gears, heavier pieces, lighter pieces to do a custom fill. Each scrap load is different.


Every so often, I remove and discard some bits of paper, anything too white or too clean, that sticks out like a sore thumb. Some things just get turned over to their less-shiny side.


Well, not too organized, but off the rails (don't want a short-circuit). I put some heavier pieces around the fence to hem the smaller pieces in. Like prototype junkyards, the edges of the property are usually well-circumscribed to keep pickers out. That junk is valuable, you know! 

Out goes another load of scrap, about to cross the CN under the River Street bridge to a distant destination:

Here in Kingston, the early rag-men who picked up everyone's cast-offs built multi-million dollar businesses covering large tracts. For instance, KIMCO on CN's former Aluminum Spur. Check out their website's drone and video footage

From  KIMCO's history: 

As a sixteen-year-old immigrant, Hyman Rosen came to Kingston in 1911 to start a new life. Following in his father’s footsteps, he collected rags and bottles with a horse and buggy. Hyman opened his first shop on Charles Street in 1918 under the proud name of H. Rosen. He later moved to a larger lot on Rideau Street taking on the new name of Kingston Scrap Iron & Metal Co.

In 1950, Hyman was joined by his son Irving, who brought with him new and creative ideas, including the baling press which compressed wrecked automobiles into highly compacted bundles of steel. In the 1960’s, Kimco expanded into new steel sales. It also began its refuse operation serving industrial, commercial and construction customers.

October 1975 marked Kimco’s move to its present location on John Counter Blvd. Here, Kimco even further expanded its new steel service center, ferrous and non-ferrous metal division, recycling center and container services. All four divisions began servicing customers within an ever developing radius of Kingston.


I've seen some amazingly realistic, possibly working, junkyards online. The scrap has been shredded, prototypically piled at the correct angle of repose, the ground is suitably weathered, oily and well, junky. The spur trackage looks just right. I aspire to that, but I don't see myself shredding bits of tinfoil, painting and weathering it. I admire those that do. Here's what I'm talking about: 

Canadian - Adam Regush:
European - Sandro Squadroni:
American - Modelrailroadpro:
As you can see, with some minor differences, scrap is like music. It's international!

Running extra...

Hoping you had an enjoyable Christmas, and from all of me here at Trackside Treasure, best wishes for a hopeful and positive 2021. By that, I'm positive it will be better than 2020! I'd like to thank everyone who has ordered my latest book, with 100 copies going out the door in just over a month. Enjoy your reading with a festive beverage! Happy New Year!

Rapido Trains Inc. unwrapped a Christmas gift by announcing their intention to produce the E-8 (their artwork below) in various schemes including CPR, CP Rail and VIA. The good news is you'll only need one* - having been aboard a partially E-8-hauled VIA train, I can attest to that. Need prototype info before you order? You can party like it's 1899! (* unless you're modelling that 1973 Thanksgiving fan trip or CP's Alyth dead line in 1982)

I'm enjoying my Christmas present of a subscription to Railstream web cams. I can watch North American rail traffic from all over, or in my case, Belleville. Here is CN's mid-train military/camo unit passing through Belleville eastward -  CN 3233 on CN No 322 at 2322 just last night! You can railfan safely from your sofa this way - check out the VIA tracking sites in my right sidebar while you're at it!


Eric May said...

The American scrapyard has used old boxcar doors for the perimeter fence. - Even more recycling.

Eric May said...

I've been relaxing and enjoying your new book with a festive beverage. The only problem is that holiday fatigue keeps keeps making me nod off. It's not your editorial content, it's me.

Eric said...

The boxcar doors are a neat touch, Eric. I noticed them, too. And that scrap gon is the cleanest ever!

Thanks for your feedback on my book. It's the type of book that you can leave and come back to easily, and just read whatever section interests you at the time. Or just do what I do and look at the pictures!

Happy New Year!

chris mears said...

I love the organic nature of this working scrapyard. Not animated but actually changing and its scrap real life scrap not a casting of it. This really works.

Eric said...

Thanks, Chris. That's exactly what I'm trying to convey via this post. I'm giving static to my static layout - trying to keep all the non-moving parts from simply being intransigently intaglio'd onto my layout.

It also mirrors my retention policy in soon as I throw something out, I need it. Bits and pieces that are 'too good' to throw out but no longer useful for the scrap box, well, you know where they go next!