Friday, December 11, 2015

Grain Movements and Industries on the Line

As I slug through the semi-room prep and benchwork base, I've been using my time to evaluate my freight roster versus the industries on the line right now targeted to be modeled. Being in Northeast/North Central Ohio, the grain industry is to be heavily represented. In looking at the "elevators" on the modeled line, I came up with the following list:

  • Sun Mark Limited in Mansfield, Oh (now Town & Country Co-Op)
  • Agri Mark Farmers Co-Op (now also Town & Country Co-Op) in Loudonville, Oh
  • Conagra Mills (now part of Ardent Mills) in Loudonville, Oh
  • Cargill Feeds in Wooster
  • Land O' Lakes/Landmark in Wooster
Of the five modeled, according to NS's grain customer site, all but the Agri Mark Co-Op is rail served, however, I think the Land O' Lakes one is also no longer rail served, at least directly. Because the grain industry is so diverse, I decided to delve into each industry and using the power of the internet try and determine what each of these industries really did. 

I'll start with the largest one first, Sun Mark Limited in Mansfield. 

This is a terminal elevator which, even during Conrail's time, was a source for grain for use in a unit train.  In looking at Town & Country's site and Norfolk Southern's customer page one can see it's still a terminal elevator to originate loads out (and maybe some in). Needless to say, this should be a major customer on the line. One note is that on the NS page you can see that the Ashland Railway is indicated as the switcher. This might make the ASRY local that comes into Oak Street yard from staging have a little more play value then simply a out and back operation.

The next one to look at is the one that's probably most mysterious in this, but that may be because I'm expecting what it is to be larger. That is the Conagra Mill which, according to Wikipedia, is a flour mill.

NS's customer page also lists them as Wheat Flour Mills. While wheat isn't a main crop in this part of Ohio, it is grown. What I'm not sure is whether this collects or produces flour. The history I can find on this location is that it looks like it produces flour and based on the pneumatic trucks seen in the map above, it must still (I can't imagine wheat being transported in those trucks). This leads me to believe that it is a producer and receives both local and, more likely, rail wheat for operations.

The next one is also in Loudonville, however, it is no longer rail served., the Agri Mark Farmers Co-Op (as outlined in the ZTS I have read), now part of Town & Country, on the east side of Loudonville.

Looking at Town & Country's site again, it looks like this is an animal feed facility, although it is also listed in the grain storage/delivery page as well. This would mean that the ingredients for feed would come in by rail and truck and feed would be delivered to local customers. According to the ZTS, this had both a loading spout and a unloading hopper so it is conceivable that it might ship some feed or byproduct out or even perhaps local grain shipped out since there appears to be some separation where the loading/unloading could occur as well as the facilities for each.

As we travel further east, we enter Wooster where two of these industries are located. The first is relatively easy to identify, the Cargill Animal Feed elevator on the south side of town.

This is still served by NS and has a capacity of 5 and is labeled under Animal/Poultry Feed. You can go to street view and see the truck loading building so it's I'm going to guess that feed or feed ingredients come into the facility and are packaged up and delivered to local customers by truck.

The last one in Wooster, Land O' Lakes (now Land O' Lakes Purina Feed), is the interesting one.

According to NS, it is still rail served, although they may be listing the office only as you can see no rails go into the facility. It is listed as an elevator but further searching indicates it is a storage only feed elevator. So perhaps, unlike the Cargill facility, this facility receives feed loads only and stores them for distribution by truck to customers.

The main take away from this for me is that I need to invest in covered hoppers and the resulting products in and out can help with how the cars will be routed on which trains and ultimate destinations.


Post a Comment


Welcome to the my Conrail Model Railroad site. I will document the research, design, construction and operations of my N-scale model railroad based on Conrail's Ft. Wayne Line in Ohio.

Conrail Ft. Wayne Line © Header image from J. Alex Lang Template Nice Blue modified by Indian Monsters. Original created by