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Posted in Layout Designs by Rob Chant. (Last activity on Friday, August 06, 2021 at 21:30:42 ADT.)

HO SCALE: Brewery Complex (in 4 square feet)

This was an entry in a 4-square foot layout design challenge that was held on an online forum where I am a member. The idea was to design a layout with a foot print less that 4-square feet that was a good representation of an American railway. At the time, I had wanted to do a layout featuring a brewery complex for a while, and I felt this would be a good chance.

The layout is set in the transition era, so 40-foot cars are the norm. A short diesel is assigned to the in plant switching duties. Although I was hoping to use a different footprint for this entry, I just couldn't get the complex to fit in any other configuration and still include everything I wanted. So, I went with a shelf 8" wide by 6' long again, plus a 2'-foot long drop down for a switching lead.

Loads of grain, barley, and hops are received in boxcars and unloaded at the grain silo (yeast arrives by trucks). Packaging materials (bottles, kegs, cardboard boxes, etc.) are received in boxcars and stored in the warehouse until needed. Product is shipped out in boxcars, and if the product is chilled, it is shipped in reefers.

Loads of coal for the unseen boiler house arrive in hoppers and go to the coal unloading shed. To make that switching the coal shed a bit more interesting, an idler flat car (stored on the lead to shed) is needed to get the hopper in the low clearance shed which is too low for the loco. So it will take a few moves to get the flat between the loco and the hopper.

Track Plan:

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Overall view of the layout:

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3D screen captures from the layout:

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TAGS: Design Feature: Drop Down, Layout Size: Mini Layouts, Theme: Single Industry, Types of Industries: Breweries

User Comments:

Posted by Bradley on Friday, August 06, 2021 at 11:44:11 AM.

I like this layout a lot, and have been looking for a smaller switching layout like this since I'm a bit low on space. I have a couple questions... 1) What was the reasoning of having the grain storage so far from the brewhouse? Is it just rearranging necessary due to the space constrains? I'm wondering if it might make more sense have it as Packaging-road-Bottling-Brewhouse-Grain. 2) Would you operate this with a different railroad bringing in a cut of cars on the front most line? Or do you treat the cassette as an off-layout yard that interchanges with the main?

Posted by Rob Chant on Friday, August 06, 2021 at 12:36:22 PM.

Hi Bradley,

Thanks for the comments. The placing of the structures was driven solely by the available space ... and not the practicality of where they should be located. You can *try* to arrange the structures as you suggest ... but I am not 100% sure it will work ... nor am I 100% sure that it won't work either. As for how it operates ... having the cassette used as an off-layout yard/interchanges is the scheme I had in mind when it was designed.

Take care,

Posted by Bradley James Elliott on Friday, August 06, 2021 at 6:15:02 PM.

Thanks! I kept digging and found your updated version from 08-Mar-2020, and I think I like it even more anyway. I have a little more space than these two examples (roughly 11'x11' room, but I don't really want to use the entire space), so I'll probably play around with the ideas you presented here. Thanks for the (really) quick reply!

My interests skew towards weathering rolling stock and operations more than the layout itself, so I'm inclined to make two smaller layouts to maximize the various rolling stock I can model. I'm thinking one layout for where I live (SoCal) that I can effectively have late '70s-Present Day locos and cars, and another for where I grew up (Midwest) set in '40s-'60s. Something like this I think could be a freelance Michigan-Ohio-Pennsylvania brewery and not be stretched too much to have 1940s-early '60s cars.

Posted by Rob Chant on Friday, August 06, 2021 at 9:30:42 PM.

It seems many modelers are now thinking along the same lines as you ... multiple smaller layouts with differences in era, location, and scale ... I am having a hard time deciding between a modern-day HO scale switching layout ... and a 1916 era On30 narrow-gauge layout ... and I now have the track and rolling stock to model both ... with smaller layouts than I originally planned ... I could model both with a shared staging area.

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