The town of Mount Joy in Pennsylvania, USA has been on my must research list ever since I found this photograph of the Wenger Feed Mill:
You might think that’s strange because a closer look at the picture reveals there isn’t actually any track in the picture. While that observation is true, it’s still a very interesting and attractive jumble of buildings which would make a very nice scratch-building or kit-bashing project.
I don’t have a photo to show it but the facility is still rail served, it’s just that railcars are currently loaded/unloaded on the other (north) side of the facility. However there’s no reason why we couldn’t apply a little modellers license, add some track and create the option to model tracks on both sides of the facility.
There’s also something else not visible in the photo above that makes this location somewhat rare and interesting, at least in terms of US operations…
So here’s a satellite image of the Wenger Feed Mill facility:
You might have to scroll around the satellite image above to get a better view but it helps show that the photograph at the top of this post was taken from the gravel yard alongside South Market Avenue on the western edge of the facility.
Rail cars are currently loaded/unloaded on the northern side of the facility on a spur that runs parallel to the east-west mainline. The spur serving Wenger Feed Mill diverges from the mainline just to the east of the South Angle Street bridge.
Here’s the best image of the spur and loading bay I can find, StreetView imagery captured from the South Angle Street bridge that crosses the mainline running through Mount Joy.
If you look to the right of the main elevator building you can just make out the concrete apron and covered bay used for loading/unloading silo cars. The bridge looks like a fairly modern addition and probably replaced a busy grade crossing.
The southern side of the facility is where trucks are loaded and unloaded.
The smaller covered loading bay in front of the two large silos has probably only ever be used to unload trucks but that second larger covered loading bay on the right could have been used to load/unload railcars in the past. There’s plenty of room in the yard for a second spur to this side of the facility and the openings look large enough for a grain hopper.
Here’s some rough mock-ups of potential layouts based on the facility.
You could model either the north or the south side of the site and still end up with an interesting module. The mixture of buildings that make up the facility lend themselves well to selective compression if you don’t have much space. All this, plus it’s set in a urban area which means plenty of other buildings, including a road bridge, to act as scenic breaks at either end of the module.
Here’s how the site actually fits on various different sized modules:
The blue boxes represent single T-Trak modules; these look like they’d be best suited to modelling the south side of the facility with that fictional spur running across the yard in front of the facility.
The green box represents a double T-Trak module, which would allow you to model the north side of the facility, the spur, it’s unloading bay and the mainline. The bridge on the right and the covered unloading bay both act as natural scenic breaks. The mainline exit on the left could be disguised quite effectively by one of the houses alongside the mainline.
Finally the red box represents my chosen module size (1050mm x 400mm) which allows you to capture quite a bit of the northern side of the facility. You might need to shorten the spur though as it would be quite difficult to disguise this
So what was that rare and interesting feature that I mentioned at the beginning of the post?
The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted it in the satellite and StreetView images above already but for those that haven’t, the answer is: electrified mainline!
These electrified tracks are a section of the Keystone Corridor that runs between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; all of which means you can run both freight and electric hauled Amtrak passenger services. It’s well worth taking a look at the interesting array of locomotives and passenger rolling stock seen in and around Mount Joy over on Railpictures.net. Penn-Central and Amtrak liveried GG-1s anyone!
Mount Joy even has an Amtrak station further to the east (a possible site for an additional module when it comes time to expand your empire).
But back to the feed mills and grain silos…
The Wenger Feed Mill isn’t the only current or formerly rail-served facility in town, it’s just the only one I had a photo of. There’s also:
Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate, just of the mainline to the east of the Wenger Feed Mill.
Wilkins Rogers Mills on a spur in downtown Mount Joy.
There’s enough evidence there to make me think Reist Popcorn Co. was once rail-served too.
On the eastern edge of town there’s the more modern Cargill Animal Feed Mill.
Finally, there’s Esbenshade Mills right on the eastern edge of town.
And that’s just the silos and mills; you could build a garage full of modules based solely on the industries in this town.