Last update August 22, 2007
  Central Indiana Division, MWR, NMRA
Central Indiana Layouts

Westport Feed and Grain

Feed And Grain 1986 It was 1986 and I decided that my town of Westport needed an Elevator. The actual Westport in Southern Indiana had one on the CCC&StL (NYC) tracks and I didnít. What I had was several old time-old town type buildings that I had used to make up Westport with the main street leading to my farm. I didnít have an elevator and there was no money to buy one. I had closed my hobby shop and money was tight. What I did have was the remains of an old Revell coal loader operating accessory, some doors and windows left over from other kits and some heavy shirt cardstock. Remember when they used to put cardstock in new shirts as stiffeners?

I built the structure to sit upon the coal loader base. Construction detail doesnít matter now. The Revell kit was simulated concrete and made a nice looking base with the new elevator on top. I did an article for one of the commercial magazines complete with pictures. It was rejected because the Revell kit was out of production and they only wanted articles using things that were in current production or that could still be easily obtained. I tossed the article and all photos but one into the trash and built the town around the Feed and Grain on the layout. I also built a copy for a friend, Jim Clem, for his Kyle Feed and Seed. I used some old ceiling tile as a base. It lent a nice old town texture to the model and although it was shorter, it looked very natural in itís setting on his layout.

Feed And Grain 1999 In a couple of years I realized that the best view of Westport was from an access panel where I could look down the street to the farm at the far end. I rebuilt the area placing the farm on the other end and moving the F&G about a foot along the track, but it still wasnít right. I had finished Westport, but it just didnít feel right.

Now itís 1994 and I add a 90 degree extension to the end of Westport for two tracks for the elevator and an abandoned main. I rearrange Westport again and move the elevator onto the extension, add some new buildings to Westport and then everything sits and waits. Ok, it still isnít right. I have a building to add to the elevator, but something is missing and so I wait while I get the area ready for a MWR Regional Layout Tour for Indy Ď95. I work on adding slo-motion switch machines and LEDís to my control panel and still the F&G and Westport waits. This Spring (1999), a friend gave me a box of buildings. There in the box is an elevator loading frame with three overhead bins. Bingo!

platform and bins
One of the tracks will have to be shortened, the stairs to the overhead bin area needs to be moved to another location and the hole filled with a ladder. I will need to remove the old coal conveyor mechanism to make room for the new kitís conveyor and I still canít write an article because this kit, too, is out of production. Yes, Con-Cor brought back the coal loader, but I have absolutely no clue as to who made this kit. So, here it is. The original F&G in its first location and then as seen on the extension and the new kit set in place while I modify the old structure to fit.

It is now November 1999 and I am working the NMRA table at the Great American Train Show (GATS) in Indianapolis. While I'm there, I have decided that I will look for some grain bin kits that I have seen before. And I find them. They are the Rix Products 33 foot Grain Bin number 628-0304. I buy two of them and the Rix Products Grain Elevator number 628-0407 as well. The elevator is the mechanical tower that you seen on modern farms and grain elevators. I will also add a larger scratch-built bin to the set when I put the new F&G together. I assemble the two grain bins without painting them and return to the layout where I rework the area where all of this will go. I modify the old elevator building and mount it with the new structure and add a little plaster and paint around it to give it some life. I also set one of the bins in place so you can see where I am going with this project.

Old tower in place With bin
Left, the new structure - Right, with a bin set in place

Oh, now I find that I want to remove the Atlas surface mount switch machines on these two tracks and replace them with ground throws for more personal operation. I have already changed the main line switch to a slo-motion switch machine. I have also decided to add another siding to the fore of the esisting track that you see in the pictures.

new siding looking South new siding - North
Left, new siding - South - Right, new siding looking North

Well, After nearly 3 months, I got a chance to get back into the basement and completed laying the first new siding that has been laid on the ECI in the last five years. Oh, yes, I've pulled up some track and relaid it. Sure, I've been changing to slo-mo switch machines, but it has taken my rebuilding of the Feed and Seed to get new track added.

I have taken this opportunity to replace all of the old Atlas switch machines with Caboose Industries 202S ground throws. This is a logical move as I intend to switch that area using a tethered speed and direction control rather than the control panel setup that I currently have.

While I was at it, I made a template for the 'concrete' base that the ground throws will be mounted on. This will give a family appearance to them.


Here is a view of the elevator on July 19, 2007. (Click for larger view.) The rebuilding of the feed lot is coming along with the addition of a backdrop and new buildings.


Lastly and not the least, the Feed and Seed is finished.

Installing Caboose Indistries 202S Ground Throws. - click here -
Colonel Sander's Kentucky Fried Chicken. - click here -
Scratchbuilt Quonset Hut - click here -
Scratchbuilt Suki Plastix - click here -

More to come...


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Photo Credits:
Feed and Grain, B/W - 1986 photo by Lew Shapiro
Feed and Grain before changes, 1999 - photo by Roger Hensley
New Platform w/bins - 11/05/99 photo by Roger Hensley
Old structure in place - 12/26/99 digital photo by Roger Hensley
With a bin added - 12/26/99 digital photo by Roger Hensley
New siding North and South views - 03/06/00 digital photos by Roger Hensley
New siding Progress - 11/29/04 digital photos by Roger Hensley

Copyright 1999-2007 by Roger P. Hensley
This page is written and maintained by: Roger P. Hensley,
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