Asphalt plant for Sweethome Alabama

Jon Grant's picture

I was looking for an industry to put on a narrow 4ft6in by 1ft board to hide one of the two fiddle yards on Sweethome Alabama and had a Walthers Asphalt plant lying around. A little bit of research showed that these are quite common in Alabama and the raw materials required make for some interesting freight traffic - covered and open hoppers and tank cars, with the occasional box car.

After a couple of weeks work, the scenery is starting to come together as I'd envisaged, although I needed two attempts to get the backscene photo right.

Here are a few photos as it is now








I still have a way to go with the addition of weeds, vehicles, aggregate piles, weathered hoppers and figures, but it's getting there.



Jon Grant's picture

remodelling the track for the new board

The new scenic board necessitated the re-working of the track in the East Yard. I used the opportunity to lay a runround loop in the yard, which will free up the runround on the main line, which obstructs through traffic - result.








...and the first (aborted) attempt at the photo backscene. It was too washed out to look realistic.



You need to really dirty that asphalt plant up.

You have a good start on the asphalt plant.  I would think you need a lot of spillage of oil, tar and asphalt around the plant.  Since summer is coming on remember the dump truck fleets hauling asphalt out for pot holes?  Those trucks and the plant would be filthy.  There should be a lot of broken and crushed stones for the trucks to drive over in the plant.  This would create a dust of its own each time a truck enters or departs the plant.  You might want to include a couple of tar bobtails.  Those are the trucks that go out to repair the cracks in the asphalt roads.



Dennis Austin located in NW Louisiana

The Corkscrew to Morenci, Arizona. Looping the loops!

Jon Grant's picture

Thanks for the suggestions

Thanks for the suggestions Den. I have a couple of rollers that are sitting around doing nothing - maybe one in the yard and one as a flatcar load :)




sweet very nice work

rfbranch's picture

Amazing scenery to backdrop transition

Your scene blends amazingly well. some of the best work I've ever seen with that bar none. kudos!



Proto-Freelanced Carfloat Operation, Brooklyn, NY c.1974

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Mr Bridger's picture

I really like your weed grown

I really like your weed grown tracks. What sort of products have you used for this?

- Tore Hjellset, Norway -


My blog : Grimstad Line - 1965

Impressive backdrop transition

Very impressive backdrop transition- looks really good.  I especially like the road leading away from the plant down the tree-lined road in the first photo- that's very well done.  I think the photos are just faded enough to imply distance away from the foreground.  I hope mine turn out half as well.


Jon Grant's picture

  Three weeks to the


Three weeks to the layout's next exhibition (Hartlepool, England) and progress has been made.
I've been working on the electrics, got the overhead lighting tube fitted and working, added the aggregate piles, repainted some ore cars, painted and fitted the end-scene and lighting fascia. 
Still lots to do, as the turnout motors still need fitting and wiring to switches, more freight cars need detailling and weathering, and there are 4 locos and three cabooses I want to get finished.
Here's the progress
I have made the ore car loads removable by attaching a small magnet under the load
Jon Grant's picture

Weedy track

So far I have only applied Woodland Scenics static grass. I shook the container and sprinkled on the grass while the diluted white glue used for the ballast was drying - no need for any expensive applicators - just shake the plastic container. I will be applying some Silflor tufts to finish the scene off



dehanley's picture

Asphalt Plant Weathering

Looks Great. Having worked with a heavy highway paving company and been around asphalt plants you are on track with your plant layout.

The aggregate hoppers need to have a conveyor run across the bottom of the hopper to the burner.  The aggregate is mixed from the hoppers onto the conveyor belt by the gate opening at the bottom of each hopper.  This is directly fed in to the drum via an opening in the end. Also the insides of the hoppers need to be shinny bare metal.  The aggregate acts as large sandpaper and paint doesn't last but a few days.  A front end loader feeds the hoppers from various size of aggregate in separated piles.

You need two tanks for the plant.  On for fuel to fire the plant and one for the liquid asphalt.  You also need to have an electric generator the size that fits into a semi trailer.  Much of the equipment runs at 440v. 

The fuel tank and asphalt tanks are often ( not always) at a 90 to the asphalt drum adjacent to the bag house. Nice to see that you modeled that.

What you need to weather is dust.  Major dust.  There are areas with asphalt around them, under the surge silos and the service road running out from under the silos.  A small amount of fuel oil and asphalt spillage is ok but not much.  You also need to have semi tankers on site unless you plan on rail service.

When we were paving and the plant was producing around 400 ton / hr we would use about 6 semi tankers of liquid asphalt and 1 to 2 semis of diesel fuel depending on how much we had on hand in a 10hr shift.

Finally most of the time, the slat conveyor to the surge silos is placed at a 60 to 70   degree angle.  I do not recall seeing a vertical slat conveyor.




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