In doing all my new waybills, I’ve discovered numerous times just how interesting research can be. As I use the industry database on the Opsig website, searching and researching the various industries and car routings, etc. for all the rolling stock on my layout, it’s been quite interesting. In interesting, meaning learning what manufacturers make what products, where they were located on the various railroads, and the routing they would take on and off my layout. Also determining what raw products an industry would receive has been very interesting.
First, I had to determine what each industry would have shipped in. Then, I had to determine what manufactured goods or raw materials were shipped out. Then I went from there to determine where these industries were, then what routing they would take over which railroads. For example, obviously my coal mines ship out coal, in my layout’s case, all to Union Carbide plants withing the Kanawha valley, or in other words, in the immediate area. Holsum Baking would realistically receive flour, grains, and corn syrup, but also would receive jams and jellies for pastries, bakery supplies such as bags and paper tray liners, boxes, baking machinery, and equipment such as bakery trays. All their products are then shipped out to local merchants by trucks. An exception to this would be to ship out scrap cardboard and scrap pallets. Another example is Paxton Salvage, which receives truck loads of scrap which is then shipped out in gondolas.
It’s interesting when delving into what manufacturer makes bakery supplies for example, and where they’re located. Then I research to see if they were in business during my layout’s era or timeframe. Then I check the database to see what railroad(s) served them, and how they would get onto my layout. Using the same example for Holsum Baking, it’s interesting when you do this research to actually on some of these manufacturer websites to see what type of baking equipment is used, and how they produce their products. Finally, certain raw materials coming into an industry may have to be shipped in certain types of cars, for example woodchip hoppers full of woodchips going into Electro-met at Alloy.
All of my waybills now have authentic, actual industries that would either potentially ship raw materials in or out, and actual companies that would receive their outgoing products. For example, furniture from Armitage goes to several warehouses, but one is Sears warehouse that sat astride Buckeye yard in Columbus, Ohio. One piece of rolling stock on my layout is a fifty-foot GM&O boxcar that is stenciled “when empty return to GM&O, Laurel, Mississippi. I wanted this car to be routed to one industry especially in Armitage Furniture, so I researched the same database and found a finished lumber supplier in Laurel! Thus, my waybill is routed from this company to Armitage. It’s all in the research you do that can make your layout much more prototypical where your cars are coming from and going to….