Large Scale Central

New Industry for the Triple O - A Grain Elevator

“If I have to make a grain elevator for school, it may as well end up on the railroad!” So spoke Oldest Daughter (O.D.) about a month ago. Her history or social studies unit is in the industrial revolution, and her class had to build an ironclad, a locomotive, or a grain elevator. She wanted the iron clad to give a point of interest in Lake Inferior, would’ve settled for a locomtive to give an excuse to convert LSC members’ donated parts to an iron horse, but she got “grain elevator.” To my knowledge, none existed in Hawaii. There are no Hawaiian words for one. Her project; our railroad; our rules. The Triple O will serve a fledgling grain industry.

O.D. has given me permission to document her progerss, which will proceed at the pace of the class. She has chosen to use foam…

…as that has proven our most successful material. Her sketch…

…shows this will follow the exacting standards of 1:24-ish PLAYMOBIL scale. The picture didn’t come out great, but the location…

…dictates the size.

My goal is to apply “soap box derby rules” and do as little as possible beyond scribe and to simply enjoy watching how she applies the skills we’ve learned together over the last several years to a project of her own design.



Fantastic. If she’d only gotten this project on the MIK schedule :innocent: :grin: :sunglasses:

It’s great to see O.D using skills she has learned and honed “playing with trains” for her school project. I know she will produce a fine model both for the class and for the first grain operation in Hawaii. Look forward to watching her progress.

BTW: I would wager a large sum of money that O.D will have the largest audience of the class watching, coaching and encouraging her on this journey.

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Best of luck for her project. I know she can do it! :+1:

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Nice that they will let her pick the size/scale of the build. is she going to model the silos or just the main building? I made mine from an old bird feeder

I was thinking the same thing!

The plan now is just the main building. We are a bit space constrained.

As for size and scale, I don’t think they’ve ever even thought of that before! They’ll learn to be more specific for future classes!


My first scratch building project was for school. I was doing a report on the new commuter rail that was being proposed. I told the teacher I wanted to make a model. My parents financed the new sheets of styrene and some glue. I don’t think I even painted it…

Have fun OD and enjoy the process! Start convincing old Dad and Mom that the grain elevator needs a proper boxcar or two to really set the scene. :joy:

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How fun, I’ll be sure to watch the progress!

If she later wants to add a silo, maybe keep your eye out for a couple feet of 4" PVC pipe and just add a cap to it.

Regardless, best wishes to OD on the project!

Oh my. I like ODs thinking. . . but I have to ask her Monitor or Merrimac? I have line drawings for the monitor. I have (deep in my bucket) a desire to make a 1:24 scale model of the Monitor.

Eric as I was typing my post I have to say it warms my heart. So much of my model railroading revolves around my love for local history. The two are intertwined and inseparable. While Hawaii may not be known for its vast wheat fields and grain elevators, the Inland NW is wheat country and almost no RR in our area large or small was without service to a grain elevator.

If there is ANYTHING I can help with let me know. Grain elevators are on just about every street corner. Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they are all around me.

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They probably were not expecting a family versed in the art of scratch building a 1:24 RR to participate.

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Box car? Surely you have had a stoke or something. The Triple O now needs 2 or 3 shorty covered hoppers.

Well the railroad historian in me knows that covered hoppers came around in the 1970’s. And the history teacher in me says boxcars for grain loading is the closest as well.

I keep trying to think of an angle to get a model railroad into my classroom… :joy: Haven’t come up with a good idea yet.

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I had been wondering about that, Craig. The OR&L shipped sugar in bags packed into box cars, and I had assumed the same was done for grain in North America. That being said, maybe we are going to have to invent “wood side shorty covered hoppers.” Heck, we have a double-hulled sailing locomotive, so why not? :wink:

Foam cutting commenced, by the way, but it resulted in a broken hot knife. O.D. will have to switch to the hobby saw.


USMRR, 1861-1865. Lots of good options!

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Thanks @Cliff_Jennings ! I’ll let her know that is an option.

@Devon_Sinsley , I suspect Monitor given my closet full of blue wool. The last of these old ships went down fighting in Chile or Peru, I believe, so having one as a harbor defense ship in the South Pacific would not have been too far-fetched! I’ll pass along your offer to help! Thanks!

@ctown2 @Eric_Mueller
Probably more info than you really want to know on boxcars transporting grain, but I find it to be another rarely modeled option
lots of pics even for loading and unloading
again JMHO YMMV :sunglasses:

It even has the video that I was thinking about at the end. I forgot about this until you guys brought it back up. Good stuff!


Great video, Rooster. Thanks for sharing. I’ve seen rail cars moved many ways, but never like that.