Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Just a few quick notes on a photo of Midvale Steel that I found somewhere online a little while ago.  Midvale was a mid sized steel maker located in the Nicetown section of Philadelphia.  They specialized in high quality steel and had a large forging/machining operation. Besides steel, products included armor plate and ordinance.    The steel was made in open hearth furnaces and I don't believe they ever had any blast furnaces.  The plant closed in the 1970's and was razed in the 80's.

The scale of the operation and their location in an urban setting with limited space, make this a good basis for modeling.  This photo has a number of elements that are interesting to take note of -

  • small sized open hearth scrap yard - several narrow gauge scrap buggies plus standard gauge gons.  Standard gauge tracks enter craneway from side, not via a long parallel approach track. Plus a turnout in the scrap yard
  • the trackwork - much of this is dual gauge.  Check out the tight radii and the complex arrangements.  
  • the city street running through the mill on the right side of the photo
  • the second craneway - purpose unknown
  • the crane structures - solid supports - not your typical structural steel or riveted open construction.  Visually interesting and not hard to execute with styrene
  • the triagular office type building behind craneway.  Obviously built to accommodate railroad track requirements.   Tracks on both sides of building would cross city street to another section of mill.
  • the texture and shape of the scrap - neatly segregated piles
  • general cleanliness of the overall operation 
  • very few motor vehicles 
Probably if you had built a similar, crowded scene, with tight turns, multiple crossovers, triangle shaped buildings, and track everywhere on your layout, you might have been told that it "doesn't look prototypical"


Anonymous said...

Are more images and a plant layout available?

Carbon and Alloy Steel said...

Steel industry, railroads, and more - model and real are provided great information for me.