22 July, 2014

Researching Industries in the Bowman Center


While I am anxious to start on my new pike, and I am taking apart my old layout (loathsome, but necessary), I have to wait until I get down and settled into our new place. In the mean time, that does not mean I cannot 'work' on the new layout, by doing research (one field where some modelers really love, others hate, and most feel you can't do unless you're actually building a layout, or there's "no info out there" - NOT TRUE!). Here's my for example:  I have been trying to find information on the Transload facility in the Bowman Center. As is frequently the case nowadays, with the Internet fast becoming the #1 place to advertise and conduct business, I found some info.

First, in Google Maps, I got a nice overview shot of ten tank cars in the facility. 

However, a May 2008 street view shows the facility wasn't there yet.  So, I need to find a little info about start date.  And, the pix shows the tanks are there, which are owned and are being offered for lease, by the owners/managers of the Bowman Center.

So, I continued browsing the 'interweb' and found the facility is run by TRANSFLO®, the "largest rail-to-truck transloading network in North America" and a subsidiary of CSX Transporation. They have a decent website (www.transflo.net) and confirmed that the facility in the Bowman Center has "ten car spots".  But, what size cars?  Looking at my track plan (see the previous blog post), Bob gave me a lot of track, but I doubt I'll get two tracks of five cars, if they are bigger than 60'.  Tasker:  Check the length of the 20,700 gallon &  23,500 gallon tank cars. I am thinking three each, maybe four. And, I'll probably do it as heating oil or diesel fuel... we shall see.

Lastly,  I couldn't tell if this is a multi-product, or specific to one (i.e. dry goods, vegetable oil, ethanol, etc). I found a POC, that I hoped to get some additional information. So, I gave a call & left a message. I was not overly optimistic, since many folks (although not all) in the '1:1 scale' RR business don't have the time or patience to answer questions of modelers. However, "Ms. Diane" returned my call and gave a lot of good info.  No, they are not using the tanks next to the facility.  This facility handles only Ethanol, in 'vanilla' 27,000 gallon tanks; Athearn has 30k models for Ethanol, but she was specific about 27k tank cars.  The trucks then bring down the Ethanol to a Fuel facility, where it is blended with Gasoline. She had no problem giving public info and even asked to see how my progress is with the scale building of  the facility.  It was a very pleasant surprise & Kudos to her for being a good sport.  

There's more research to do, but this is a very nice start.  So, if you can't do some modeling or railroading on a specific day, or for a period of time, it never hurts to do a little research on the web.  You will be happy you did as you continue 'playing trains'.

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