Show Record

NOTE: Since the excessive spamming continues to be a problem, I am left with no other option but to continue showing approved comments only. So, if you leave a comment on my blog, you will not be able to view it until it is approved by me, which may take a few days. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Posted in Articles by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 17:27:30 ADT.)

ARTICLE: The Sissiboo Pulp & Paper Mill (Getting the most out of your small space)

This article is more about getting the most out of the space you have available than it is about modeling a pulp and paper mill. I just used a paper mill as an example of how an industry that covers a great deal of real estate in the 1:1 world can be shoe-horned into a reasonably sized footprint.

However, to attain my goals for this project I had to explore some unique design options that others may shy away from, or even completely ignore. Although the methods I used may seem advanced to some, for the space-starved modeler it may be an option to consider when faced with modeling a big prototype industry in a limited amount of space.

This article will also lightly touch on the process I use when faced with designing a layout for a small space. I will offer a few pointers for what has worked well for me in the past and highlight pitfalls that you might want to avoid.

While I do feel that getting the most out of your space does begin with creative layout design, I also feel that how you operate the layout will determine the level of enjoyment you receive from the finished product as well. With that in mind, I will share some of my thoughts on how I see the layout being operated, and how including prototypical operations adds so much to a layout at a minimal cost.

Footwork before the project begins:

You might be surprised to know that before this article was written, I knew very little about how a pulp and paper mill works. Although I have included representations of paper mills in my past layout designs, I never really understood the process, nor did I know a great deal about the types of structures found within a papermaking complex. So, as always, the first step of my design process is to gain a little knowledge on the subject.

I spent a few enjoyable hours researching pulp and paper mills, and as you would assume, there was a great deal of information to be found on the Internet. I soon discovered that there are a few different types of mills, all differentiated by the final paper product produced. One thing I noted during my research was that modern paper mills include a lot of track running inside of buildings to keep the product dry. I did include some track inside of structures on my designs, but most of it remained in the open for easier access. Although my graphics don't show it, the loading doors should probably have some type of canopies over them to keep the weather at bay.

My best resource came from a two-part article published in the October and November 1998 issues of Model Railroader titled "An Industry you can model: Papermaking and the railroads." The first part of this article was written by Marty McGuirk and covered the papermaking industry prior to the 1960s. In the next month's issue, Jim Hediger offered additional details about the industry up until the 1990s. After reviewing Marty's and Jim's excellent insight into the industry, and with the additional information gleaned from the Internet, I felt that I was ready to attempt a design for a layout.

The design challenge for this layout:

I decided to challenge myself by keeping the available space small, and the track work as simple as possible. I settled on a 1-foot by 6-foot board and decide to base the track work on an Inglenook design. This guaranteed that my shelf would not be overcrowded with track, which I think is a must for modeling railways of today.

I also decided to use a 36-inch long fiddle track for this design project. By utilizing this "active staging," I was able to replace a lot of support track on the main part of the layout. I think a fiddle track is a design option that should be used much more with smaller track plans, since the flexibility they add to a design is of significant advantage, both for designing a much leaner layout, and for operating it.

As you will eventually see, I ended up designing three separate shelves, each modeling a different step in the pulp and paper making process. Each of these shelves will be covered separately. To wrap up this article, you will discover how I combined all these into a bookshelf type layout that does a reasonably decent job of representing the mill within the restricted space.

From the very start, one of my primary goals for this project was that each shelf had to be completely independent and provide enough interesting operation to stand on its own (with the additional fiddle track) since not all modelers would want to build all three shelves. I also wanted the shelves to have a slightly different feel to them, so the builder had the opportunity to hone their skills while exploring a few modeling techniques.

Designing the first shelf:

The first shelf I designed is actually the last step in the pulp and paper making process. It includes the warehouse which is the out-going shipping point of the mill's paper products: tissue paper and paper towels.

Whenever I start a new design, the track that I consider to be the "mainline", is usually placed an equal distance from both the backdrop and the front edge of the layout. In most cases, this ensures that I have enough room, front and back, for structures with any adjustments made later if needed. Once that is in place, I usually add a round-around track equal in length to that of the average train to be operated. In this case, however, there are no run-around tracks on any of the shelves because of the Inglenook design used.

The next step in the design process is to prioritize what you want to include on the layout, then work your way down the list until you have filled your space, or until you're happy with the design. On this first shelf, modeling the tissue paper mill and the paper towel mill was on top of my list, but I decided to combine them into one structure to save some valuable space. I then added a shipping warehouse for paper shipments sent out by both rail and truck.

Once the mill and warehouse were in place, I still had some room up front as planned. As noted in the Model Railroader article, a clean-out track is needed to ensure cars are clean and dry before shipping out any product. Also, later in the planning phase, I decided that I needed a track for incoming shipments of recycled paper. So, I added a track set in concrete to fulfill both of those purposes, knowing on small layouts you sometimes must double up on track functions to get everything included.

Once the main elements were in place, the final step was adding the support scenery that gives life to a layout. This came in the form of switch stands, bumping posts, chain link fences, gates, tanks, concrete pads, and semi-truck trailers. The only thing that was missing was all the overhead piping that can be found all through the mill, which would add to the industrial feel of the space. The result was a small, modern, uncluttered layout with some very nice visual appeal.

Track plan for the 1st shelf:

2020.03.07B-101.gif (15921 bytes)

Overhead views of the 1st shelf:

2020.03.07B-102.jpg (91620 bytes)

Some screen captures from the 1' x 6' shelf layout:

2020.03.07B-103.jpg (194654 bytes)

2020.03.07B-104.jpg (246941 bytes)

2020.03.07B-105.jpg (171706 bytes)

2020.03.07B-106.jpg (143438 bytes)

2020.03.07B-107.jpg (182920 bytes)

Modeling the tube mill (2nd shelf):

The first part of this article focused on the final stage of the pulp and paper making process by modeling a tissue paper and paper towel mill, along with the product shipping warehouse. That shelf has a very strong modern industrial feel to it, which I really like to see on a layout. On this shelf, I wanted to shift focus to a more scenery intense setting, while still building on the big industry in a small space theme of this article.

As with the first shelf, this was also built on a 1-foot by 6-foot board, and the track work was based on the Inglenook design to keep things simple and uncongested. The same 36-inch fiddle track was also included in this design which is really the backbone that will make this 3-shelf design project work, as you will see in the conclusion of this series when I concentrate on the fiddle track.

I stuck with the same design process, and placed my mainline track at mid-point of the shelf, but had to moved it slightly off-centre to the rear, to allow more room from the bridge and small stream scene. My original plan was to have the tube mill alone on this shelf with mostly scenery. However, since I couldn't find another location for the powerhouse, I decided to model both on this shelf.

Once the tube mill and powerhouse were in place, I started adding the scenery elements I wanted, which included a small grove of birch trees, two road crossings protected by cross bucks, power utility poles, an electric sub-station, and the bridge scene with the meandering stream. I was also hoping to include an employee parking lot on this shelf, some more fencing with a gate and guard house, but there just wasn't enough room.

Track plan for the 2nd shelf:

2020.03.07B-201.gif (17648 bytes)

Overhead views of the 2nd shelf:

2020.03.07B-202.jpg (123894 bytes)

Some screen captures from the 1' x 6' shelf layout:

2020.03.07B-203.jpg (263522 bytes)

2020.03.07B-204.jpg (193584 bytes)

2020.03.07B-205.jpg (169235 bytes)

2020.03.07B-206.jpg (199249 bytes)

2020.03.07B-207.jpg (228309 bytes)

Modeling the sulfite mill (3rd shelf):

The third and last shelf is home to the first step of the paper making process; the sulfite mill. This is where the raw materials all come together to make the pulp that is used in the other sections of the mill. As with the other two shelves, this was also built on a 1-foot by 6-foot footprint with an attached 36-inch fiddle track. The track work is also based on a simple Inglenook, but there is one additional track to serve the pulpwood yard.

The two other receiving tracks on this shelf are for the additives needed in the paper making process, which include dry chemicals (both in bags and in bulk) and liquid chemicals that arrive by tank car. The pulp produced in the sulfite mill is distributed to other parts of the mill via the shipping track that enters the building. I will go into greater deal on how the mill operates in the next part of this article, but for now, I just want to give this brief overview and background information on the buildings.

Track plan for the 2nd shelf:

2020.03.07B-301.gif (16796 bytes)

Overhead views of the 3rd shelf:

2020.03.07B-302.jpg (118444 bytes)

Some screen captures from the 1' x 6' shelf layout:

2020.03.07B-303.jpg (160591 bytes)

2020.03.07B-304.jpg (190448 bytes)

2020.03.07B-305.jpg (154022 bytes)

2020.03.07B-306.jpg (156982 bytes)

Operations on the 3-Shelf Layout:

Now that I presented the design for all three shelves, it is time to take a look at operations on the entire layout. While the Inglenook design I used on each shelf may look simple enough, there is a great deal of switching action possible on this small swath of railway. That amount of action is all made possible with the use of the fiddle track, which is long enough to hold a small loco, and four 50-foot cars.

2020.03.07B-401.gif (27372 bytes)

The image above shows my representation of how I see the prototype mill looking if it was spread out in the real world. The red outline with numbers, shows which shelf contains that part of the mill complex. I am now going to describe the process of how incoming pulpwood and wood chips are converted into paper towels and tissue paper.

Beehive of Activity:

Anyone living close to a paper mill knows firsthand how much railway traffic they generate. While doing research on the paper making process, I discovered that to produce about one ton of paper requires two cords of wood (which I think is about 2 tons of dry pulpwood or wood chips); 55,000 gallons of water; 102 pounds of sulfur; 350 pounds of lime; 289 pounds of clay slurry (used for paper coatings); 1.2 tons of coal; 112 kilowatt hours of power; 20 pounds of dye and pigments; 108 pounds of starch; other additives and chemicals; and may also use recycled paper.

So the process of converting logs into paper products obviously takes a lot of raw material, and most of it arrives to the plant by rail, or at least it does in our ideal world. This sounds like a very busy, and very interesting industry to model with all that traffic coming in, and paper products and by-products going out.

Operations within the Mill Complex:

The entire process starts in the pulpwood yard where pulpwood arrives by bulkhead flatcars, and wood chips are delivered in wood chip cars or high-capacity gondolas. A tractor like vehicle makes quick work of unloading the puplwood which is first sent to the debarker, then sent to the chipper. After the woodchips are unloaded, they are sent through a conveyor system that dumps the chips in a pile (along with the chips made from the pulpwood) until needed.

As required, the chips are taken from the pile, dumped onto another conveyor system and head to the digester where chemicals and heat turn the chips into a pulp slurry. Recycled paper pulp produced in another section of the plant may also be added to the mix. This mixture is then washed, screened, bleached, and additives introduced to make market pulp and Kraft paper.

The market pulp is then sent to the Tissue Paper & Paper Towel Mill, while the Kraft paper is sent to the Tube Mill to be made into the tubes that form the center of the paper towel rolls. The paper tubes from the Tube Mill are sent to the receiving door of the Tissue Paper & Paper Towel Mill. The moving of market pulp and Kraft paper within the plant is done in intra-plant boxcars that never leave the complex.

Out-going packaged tissue paper and paper towel products are moved internally to the Paper Warehouse from the Tissue Paper & Paper Towel Mill. The warehouse also receives empty and cleaned box cars from the clean-out track. Packaged paper products are shipped out by rail in box cars, or over the road by truck.

The clean-out track receives box cars in need of clean-out service, and then sends those box cars to the Paper Warehouse for shipping out paper products. The clean-out track also serves as the receiving point for incoming shipments of recycled paper which is stored in the warehouse. Incoming box cars are then cleaned if necessary, and used for outgoing shipments if suitable.

Coal also comes in for the steam plant in various types of open hoppers. Liquid chemicals are transported in tank cars (such as chlorine, ammonia, and sulfur), while the dry chemicals are received in bulk via covered hopped, or in bags via box cars. Packaging material is received in box cars from suppliers outside the mill complex, and is stored in the warehouse. Several by-products are also produced during the paper making process which are occasionally shipped out in tank cars from the Mill Powerhouse track.

Typical Shift at the Mill:

For anyone that loves switching duties, these three shelves will provide a lot of entertainment. The operator has to keep in mind that cars cannot just be spotted anywhere, they have to be spotted at the proper door, or at the proper place for unloading. Also remember that any incoming box cars that need cleaning, must be sent to the clean-out track before they can be loaded at the Paper Warehouse.

Just like a real pulp and paper mill, the normal routine during a shift is pretty standard. The shift begins with the "Mill Job's" loco (probably a GE 70-tonner, SW9, GP7, or GP9) idling alone on the fiddle track, then slowly making its way into the mill on the lowest deck (the deck with the Tissue Paper & Paper Towel Mill). The first task is to remove any out-going cars from all tracks, to make room for incoming traffic. Each time the loco has gathered four cars, it must pull them on the fiddle track where they are removed by hand, and the loco re-enters the stage until all out-bound cars are removed.

Once all out-going traffic is taken to the "yard" on the first deck, the next step would be for the loco to move "cleaned" cars from the clean-out track, to the Paper Warehouse for loading. Once that is complete, the loco would head back to the fiddle track (to our off stage mill yard again), to retrieve the in-coming traffic four cars at a time. The small cut is assembled by hand on the fiddle track with the diesel in position to push the cut of cars onto the layout.

Once the first deck is serviced, the "Mill Job" moves to the second deck, the one with the Tube Mill. Again, all outgoing cars are removed first, then the incoming cars are spotted. Once the switching is completed on the second deck, the crew moves to the Sulfite Mill deck, and repeats the process once more.

For the final step of the day, the crew will have to revisit any deck so the intra-plant box cars can be spotted. And since the Tissue Paper and Paper Towel Mill typically produces 5 or 6 loads of paper product per day, the warehouse must be switched twice per day. Once all that work is done, the loco ties up for the day on the fiddle track.

That is more than enough action to keep an operator busy for well over an hour, as long as the moves are done at prototypical speeds and waiting time is allowed for coupling/uncoupling and for ground crews throwing turnouts. That's not too bad for three 1-foot by 6-foot shelves, with such a big modern industry.

Type of Cars Required:

Traffic Generating System:

This simple layout can also be made even more realistic by employing some form of traffic generation which will add another layer of depth and atmosphere to the layout. There are numerous methods for generating traffic on the layout, from 4-cycle way-bills, to simple spreadsheets, to more complicate computer generated switch lists.

It is not important which method is used, but I would suggest that you explore and utilize some scheme instead of haphazardly moving cars around. If you also decide to add the paper (or computer) work to the equation, the op-session could be extended even further.

I realize prototypical operations and paperwork is not for everyone, but for me, it is like watching a movie with the sound turned off. You still see all the action on screen, and you can probably appreciate it on some level, but it is very hard to follow the plot. Sure you still get to see the main characters in action, by isn't it always better when you understand why something is happening? It sure makes a difference to me.

With that in mind, I am going to suggest a possible scenario for traffic levels that should be considered if you're going to set up some sort of traffic generating system. Using these system adds a certain degree of unpredictability to your operating session, and changes the dynamics every time you operate the layout.

Most systems will ask you to enter a minimum and maximum daily level for each commodity, which is usually stated in car loads. Somewhere in the system there is also a random modifier that uses chance to determine the actually level of the commodity that is needed or produced during the op-session. Doing so, makes traffic levels a little different in all sessions and having to deal with a random level of shipments is all part of the operating fun.

The system may generate a op-session where traffic is light, so it is fairly easy to complete your assigned switching duties that day. Or, the system might generate traffic levels for a session where all cars can't be spotted at the same time, so the switch crew has to keep replacing empties with loads throughout the work day until all needed cars are spotted. This variety in traffic levels duplicates what the real mill switcher would face on a normal day, and sometimes makes the work very challenging.

The model mill's estimated production of paper products is 6 to 8 box car loads per day, so the switch crew would have to work the Paper Warehouse twice per day. To also give you a better idea of how much switching this layout can require during a typical day, I would suggest using these numbers in your traffic generating system for the minimum and maximum expected traffic levels of each commodity (min/max):

Inbound Traffic:

Intra-Plant Moves: (All Intra-plant shipments handled with mill-owned boxcars)

Outbound Traffic:

As you can see, a paper mill makes a great industry to model, even in a small space. In my view, there are very few industries that offer such a good variety car types and commodities. There is also the challenge of modeling all the tanks and piping needed as part of the chemical recycling and by-products recover processes. These mechanical systems are very important to the visual appearance of the mill. Modern mills also tend to be quite well maintained and the grounds keep neat, so go easy on the weathering.

Moving Traffic Between Decks

As I mentioned at the beginning, this article is more about getting the most out of the space you have available, than it is about modeling a pulp and paper mill. I just used a paper mill as an example of how an industry that covers a great deal of real estate in the 1:1 world can be shoe-horned into a reasonably sized footprint.

The desired outcome of this design project was a bookshelf type layout that did a decent job of modeling a mill complex within a confined space. However, to accomplish that goal, I had to explore some unique design options that others may shy away from, or even completely ignore. Although my methods may seem advanced to some, for the space-starved modeler it may be an option to consider when faced with modeling a big prototype industry in a limited amount of space.

2020.03.07B-402.jpg (348105 bytes)

As designed (see above), the layout consists of three 1-foot by 6-foot shelves stacked one on top of the other with and an attached 36-inch long "cassette" that is used for "active staging". The cassette would serve both as a fiddle track and as a train elevator to allow the vertical movement of trains from one deck to another.

Train Elevators:

The concept of using an elevator to move trains between decks, or as a means of staging trains on a model railroad is not a new idea. Over the years, many designers have sought feasible alternatives to the helix and around-the-walls spiraling mainlines (also known as a "nolix") to get trains between levels. Train elevators have been utilized in the past by well known layout designers such as John Armstrong and Iain Rice, and it is also an idea that I'm exploring for use on my triple deck On30 layout.

Although I prefer to use the term "train elevator", it has also been referred to as a "vertical sector plate" or a "3D sector plate." In the case of John Armstrong, he coined the term "dehydrated canal lock" (Creative Layout Design, Kalmbach, 1978) while Iain Rice used the term "train stacker" (Shelf Layouts for Model Railroads, Kalmbach, 2009) for his stackable staging track concept.

Other implementations of those themes were also explained by William Roberts (Train-Eater, a vertical staging yard, Railroad Model Craftsmen, October 1979), Russell School (Vertical main lines using elevators, Railroad Model Craftsmen, November 1987), John Griffiths (Fiddle shelf staging, Model Railroader, September 1996), Dick Roberts (Going Up!, Model Railroad Planning 2001), and Steve Harris (Build a train elevator, Model Railroader, June 2009).

Although some might prefer to have an automated elevator, I think a manual one will work quite adequately for this project. I actually think a manual elevator provides more flexibility since more than one cassette can be used, and the cassettes can also be stored on brackets away from the layout to provide additional staging.

However, if lifting the 3-foot cassette between decks does become troublesome, there are many ideas covered in the resources mentioned above that explain how to build some sort of guided lifting system using drawer guides mounted vertically. While the guided system could still be a operated by hand, a few of the articles also cover what you need to know to motorize the lift.

The Docking Port:

The biggest challenge was deciding how best to join the cassette to the shelves that would allow it to line up accurately with the layout. I also wanted to keep the required electrical connections as simple as possible, and knew I also needed a simple way to prevent trains from running off a layout, if the cassette was not in place.

I decided that each of the three decks would have a "docking port" attached at the end where the track exits the layout which would hold one end of the cassette in place. This docking port could be milled from a 1¾" high x 4" wide x ¾" thick block of wood using the dimensions shown in the graphic below as a guideline.

To make the necessary power connections, this docking port must also include four electrical contacts as shown (labeled in red as "A", "B", "C", and "D") which would be used to provide track power to both the cassette and the layout.

This is accomplished by having a wire from the contact labeled "A" going to the positive side of your power supply, and the wire from the contact labeled "D" going to the negative side of your power supply. Power is supplied to both aluminum angle bars through a bolt and nut connected to the power bridge plate located on the bottom of the cassette.

The power bridge is also used to bridge the gap between positive plates "A & B" and negative plates "C & D". Plate "B" will provide the positive power feed to the shelf, and plate "C" of course will provide the negative power feed to the shelf. A wire lead must therefore be soldered to each of these plates and then be used as the power harness to supply power to the tracks on each shelf.

2020.03.07B-402.gif (14781 bytes)

Wiring the cassette and shelves as described, will ensure that all track on the shelf will remain dead unless the cassette is in the proper position. I thought this simple solution was much easier than having toggle switches to throw, or power connection to be made, each time the cassette was moved.

To ensure the rails always align properly and the power connection are made, the docking port is designed to surround the cassette and hold it firmly in place. The mating end of the cassette, could be tapered a bit, to help guide it into place as it is slid into the docking port.

The Cassette

The graphic below shows the docking port with the 3-foot long cassette in place, shown from the end that attaches directly to the shelf. The cassette will serve as a place to park a locomotive and string of cars that are exiting or entering the layout. Fiddling the rolling stock on or off the cassette could be done by hand, or the cassette could also be part of a multi-cassette "fiddle shelf" system.

2020.03.07B-403.jpg (81336 bytes)

The docking port supports the end of the cassette that connects to the layout, while the other end would be supported by an inexpensive utility shelf brackets attached to the wall. Just make certain that the brackets are screwed directly into the studs, and not just the sheetrock. Depending on the situation, the shelf brackets could be removable, or hinged to sit flush against the wall when not in use.

The cassette is made from 1/2-inch thick by 4-inch wide pine board cut to the correct length and width. Two 3/4-inch aluminum angle bars-spaced 5/8-inch (0.625") apart-are used instead track on the cassette. The aluminum also provides the strength needed to keep the pine board as stable as possible, and prevent it from warping or twisting.

The connection between the cassette and the approach track on the layout wouldn't require any rail joiners or guardrails since the layout is operated at such slow speeds, and the equipment should be fairly tolerant of slight vertical mismatches. The sides of the aluminum angles would serve as a fence to prevent equipment from falling off when the cassette was lifted.

There are two important features not shown in the above graphic, that must be added to both ends of the cassette. To prevent cars from taking a fatal plunge to the floor when the cassette is being moved, some sort of mechanism must be added, however, what is used depends on the final requirements for the cassette.

If the cassette is just used as a fiddle track and as a means of move rolling stock between decks, the far end (the end away from the layout) can be blocked permanently. However, the right end (docking end) would need some sort of gate, which could be lower into place when the cassette is being moved. If the cassette is made part of some more elaborate staging system that required both ends to be open, gates would be needed at each end.

Either way, a gate would be placed as close as possible in front and behind the train to box it in before moving. The gates must be designed so that once the cassette is lifted to the next position, the gates could be raised or removed so the train could exit. An even more simple solution might be using a snug fitting piece of foam rubber jammed between the aluminum angle bars just after the last car of the cut.

To save valuable space, the cassette/elevator system could be built in front of a doorway. Since it would not permanently block the passage, it could exploit a space that wouldn't be used for much else. If the elevator was eventually automated, the cassette could be "parked" is a position higher than the entry door so people could pass under it.

Take-away points from this article:


While I have always felt that getting the most out of your space begins with creative layout design, I know that using a train elevator isn't the answer for everyone. However, I feel that a train elevator does offer some advantages, and is a great space saver by eliminating the helix alternative. I also hope that after reading this complete article, you will see the benefits of using cassettes and fiddle tracks for your next project. These design options provide a great deal of flexibility for designing a layout when space is at a premium.

All these option are fairly easy to build and can add considerably to the operating potential of any small layout. They can add some space saving staging, or provide a versatile interchange facility in minimal space if used properly. For me at least, it was very easy to see that the cassette/elevator was the backbone that made this design project viable. So best of luck with your next design project, and please consider all your options.

TAGS: Staging Options: Cassette Staging, Theme: Industrial Railway, Type: Inglenook, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Type: No Run-Around Track, Theme: Single Industry, Design Feature: Train Elevator, Types of Industries: Pulp and Paper Mills

User Comments:

Posted by Frank Turner on Friday, June 26, 2020 at 7:54:05 PM.

Dear Rob, quite an interesting and complete article I must say and very informative too. I'm thinking about using some of your ideas for a layout with four levels modeling a steel mill complex and coke plant in N-scale. You wouldn't have to have a detailed operating plan like you included above for such mills? It would be of great help to me. Thanks!

Posted by Robert Chant on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 6:48:04 AM.

Hi Frank ... thanks for your comments. I remember putting together an operating scheme for my DOSCO steel plant layout many years ago but it was not as detailed as the one I put together for this article. IIRC ... it just included the "path ways" for the raw materials thru the plant from where they were received to where there were used ... but it didn't include the finished products being shipped out (at least I don't think it did). If I can find all the diagrams I will add them to my DOSCO layout since they were based on that track plan.

Posted by Dave Hansen on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 2:16:42 AM.

What a great article. Thanks for taking the time to write. Curious if you have a version you designed on one level that incorporated all the steps of the paper mill you included over three shelves


Posted by Robert Chant on Thursday, August 27, 2020 at 10:25:50 AM.

Hi Dave ... yes I have a single level version similar to this that incorporates all the steps ... I *think* it is around 2x8 feet ... send and email to with your request and I will try to find it ... it wasn't posted on here yet.

Posted by Murray Symington on Sunday, November 29, 2020 at 12:42:19 PM.

Hi Rob,
A great design, one that will undoubtedly provide many hours of fun to operate. As per a previous request from one of your readers, Dave Hansen, I would appreciate receiving a copy of the paper mill you designed that was situated on one level. I am currently building a layout that will be featuring an newsprint mill. Many of the concepts that you incorporated into your tissue mill project would apply to a newsprint mill.
Murray Symington

Posted by Robert Chant on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 6:50:03 PM.

Hey Murray,

Please send and email to with your request. I will get to it as soon as I can.


Posted by Joe Zeb on Monday, July 19, 2021 at 4:39:51 PM.

Hi Rob, this is is fantastic information, thank you for sharing. I am building the Pennsylvania RR Bald Eagle Branch" plan by Model Railroader. Your articles have helped me get some ideas of how to operate the RR.

Posted by Rob Chant on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 7:20:28 AM.

Thanks Joe ... I'm glad you liked the article ... I had a lot of fun researching this and coming up with the operating scheme.

Posted by Rob Chant on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 3:36:41 PM.

[ ... 11 spam messages removed ... ]

Leave a Comment:

NOTE: HTML is not allowed in your comments. Your comments may also be edited to improve clarity.