No. 168: Hermitage Road Layout – Modeling the Grocery Warehouse

On my little Hermitage Road switching layout, I wanted to include a grocery warehouse to generate refrigerator car traffic on the small layout.

There were a few grocery warehouses in the Hermitage Yard area that were rail-served through the 1950s so I felt it would be okay to include one on the layout. While studying Sanborn maps, I didn’t find any in the immediate area on the Seaboard, but I found several in the Richmond area on the ACL and C&O lines.

This photo, below, provided some inspiration for my model. I understand this one was in Dallas, Texas.

When I planned the layout last year I felt a grocery warehouse could work on either end of the layout. I wanted the track in front at the edge of the layout, with a larger building immediately behind it, to 1) Get the cars as close as possible to the operator, and 2) allow the track to run into the fascia to create a feeling that the track continues well beyond the fascia.

Below, here is the layout under construction last year with a box serving as a stand in for the grocery warehouse. You can see how I’ve got the track running in the foreground but behind the fascia.

Before I built the layout, I built up one of those Walthers Reliable Warehouse models for fun. The build was straightforward. I painted the model with Tamiya Flat Brown, XF-10 and used Tru Color Concrete on the foundation and Testors Guards Red on the windows. During construction I used Robert’s Brick Mortar on the model and it went on very well and the results were excellent.

Here’s a view, below, of how I wanted the building and track to be in the foreground with the track running behind behind the fascia.

I completed the model before I built the layout, and arranged the track around it, but it never quite worked out right. After a short while I replaced it with a larger structure made from Walthers Cornerstone Modulars, seen below. The Modulars building was way too big, and I felt it overpowered that side of the layout. So I removed that one and set it aside too.

Then I built a third version using parts left over from the Marshall Canning Company structure on my old Ackley, Iowa layout. I added a photo of that one below. I built several increasingly smaller versions. I was not able to get the mortar between the bricks to my satisfaction so I scuttled that project.

Frustrated, I went back to the original reliable warehouse building. I tore it apart, rebuilt it to fit the space, and here’s the result. Putty has been applied to a few gaps leftover after I deconstructed it and put it back together.

I scratchbuilt the elevator machinery house and the staircase on top using leftover material, and the chimneys are metal castings from various kits collected over the decades. I also built gutters from styrene strip and made lamp-posts from Tichy lampshades. I’m VERY happy with the final version.

Above and Below. Details for the grocery warehouse.

Here’s the final version, installed on the layout and 99% complete. About the only thing left to do is to weather the tarpaper roof somehow (it is black construction paper). That can wait a while though.

And there you have it–many versions of the same building, but finally we have one we can keep!

Rock Island 133000-series Box Car

Here’s a freight car project I’ve been working on for a few months. This is a Rock Island 133000-series single-sheathed box car that I built from parts from various Westerfield kits. I contacted Andrew Dahm at Westerfield and asked him about the car, and between us we figured out which parts might work to kitbash the car from Westerfield parts. He sent me a box full of kits and I got to work.

In the meantime, I contacted Mike at K4 decals and asked him if he could make up a decal set for this car and a few other Rock Island single sheathed cars. I also got in touch with Steve Hile, an RPM friend of mine and a Rock Island expert, and together we put together a data package for Mike. Steve did 99% of the research work. Mike had the decals ready in less than a week. In fact, I already have two sets here in Germany.

Here’s the link to the decals: Rock Island 40 Ft Single Sheathed Boxcar White – Decal – Choose Scale – K4 Decals – Model Train Decals.

My model is built, sandblasted and ready for paint. I’ll send a complete post on the model in a while after it’s finished.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration and I wish you blessings for 2022! – John G

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