Grain silos are a common sight alongside railroads in agricultural areas and seaports in the United States and Canada.
Many of these silo complexes have evolved and expanded over time resulting in an interesting combination of different building materials and styles. As such they have the potential to make a fascinating scratch-building projects.
You’ll often find photographs of the whole complex but sometimes photographs of small details can provide inspiration for a project so I thought I’d share a few interesting photographs that I’ve discovered on the Internet…
Ray Carroll Grain Elevator
Here’s a photograph of a covered grain loading building alongside the huge concrete silos of the Ray Carroll Grain Elevator in the Cortex area of St. Louis, Missouri.
What seems like a very simple building has quite a bit of potential to provide interesting operations even on a small-space layout. Having said that, I’m not entirely sure if the building was rail-served as any tracks that were there have already been lifted. In any case the portals are certainly large enough to accommodate rail cars and if you were to build a structure like this for your layout there’s no reason you couldn’t have one or both portals serving rail cars.
The silos themselves would make a nice backdrop on a narrow layout and the building could be included as a full structure or as partial structure at either end of the layout where it would act as a scenic break as shown below.
Derelict Silo, Location Unknown
Here’s an interesting shot of a derelict silo complex. The location of the complex isn’t particularly important, what caught my eye is the pipework and the jumble of different buildings at the foot of the tower. In fact, it’s one of those photos, that the longer you look at it, the more interesting features you see.
There are two different covered areas either side of the silos, either of which could be used to load railcars but their position in relation to the silos means you’d probably want them in the centre of a layout as they couldn’t act as scenic breaks as effectively as the previous example.
I like the interesting porthole windows in the concrete section of the tower and this must have been part of a larger complex at one time as the doors near the top left of the structure now open into fresh air.
Modelling those walkways would be interesting particularly on a narrower layout where you might not have a structure to connect them to!
Finally I thought I’d include this last shot to show that silos don’t always have complex loading facilities. I’m not sure where this photo was taken but it could suit a range of prototypes and even scales.