Large Scale Central

T&D Feeds 10 years and counting

So over on my thread about PVC sheets, Greg asked me to post a few pictures of the project that I needed such a large sheet for. I’ve never really shared this project as it’s half completed, and frankly not that interesting at the moment. This first post will cover the background of the building, why I’m modeling it, etc. The next post will cover the general modeling, and I’ll see how far it goes now that I’m back into thinking about this model.

T&D Feeds

My modeling focus is the two communities of Redmond, Wa and Issaquah, Wa. These two towns will serve as the basis for layout that I’m modeling. T&D or T-D Feeds (depending on the source) was one of the three industries that saw regular rail service. T&D Feeds was last served by rail in 2000, and the structure was torn down by 2001.

Historical Background

A little history lesson. The area I will be modeling is located on the Eastside of Seattle, Washington. The railroad territory has a complicated and storied history. I’ll get a longer history written up but for now here’s the basics. The first railroad was the Seattle, Lake Shore & Eastern, in the late 19th Century. This was quickly purchased by the Northern Pacific. In 1970 the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, CB&Q all merged to create the Burlington Northern. In 1995 Burlington Northern merged with AT&SF to create the BNSF Railway. The BNSF railway sold the line to King County in the early 2000’s, who then sold it to the Port of Seattle, and now a shortline railroad operates parts of the line (that whole saga could be a book!). Like any good branch line it used to have a lot of traffic but as the years went by and the BN (and BNSF) ran off customers the branch slowly died. I’m modeling the portion from Woodinville to North Bend. However, by the mid 1970’s the line was cut in Issaquah due to the construction of I-90. North Bend at the time was still served by rail, via a connection on the Milwaukee Railroad. Because I don’t have acres and acres of land to model the whole subdivison, I narrowed my focus to Redmond and Issaquah because these are the two areas that I frequently visited as a kid. I grew up in Redmond, so the area is very familiar to me.

Redmond had the following industries;

Sea Freeze Frozen Foods (I think they received and shipped out frozen fish, but I’m not 100% sure yet). Rail service was very erratic. Maybe 1 or 2 cars a month or even less. I still haven’t found evidence of a car spotted here. Will eventually be modeled.

Lumber Supply Facility (shared the same spur as Sea Freeze). They received centerbeam flats and boxcars full of lumber and building supplies. They had service up to three times a week. Still working on researching this facility as well. Will eventually be modeled.

T&D Feeds was a local feed company that produced custom feed blends for the surrounding farm community. They saw service three times a week, loads in, empties out.

Issaquah had the following industry;

Darigold. Darigold is a local company that sells dairy products. Before the rail service was cut Darigold shipped out cheese and butter. Will eventually be modeled.

Back to T&D Feeds…

By the time I decided I wanted to model T&D Feeds, the structure had been torn down, and the lot was a huge hole in the ground. I knew that I couldn’t build a model unless I could develop a decent set of blueprints in which to base the construction of the model from. I first turned to the usual sources of information online and quickly saved as many photos as I could find. I also the the site to take photos of the track knowing that someday the rails would be torn up (I was right).

Part of the complex was across the street and hadn’t been torn down, so I took plenty of photos of the cinderblock construction.

This building is a simply 30’ x 30’ structure. But in a trapezoid shape. Since I had the measurements and plenty of good photos, I tackled the construction of this building first.

I learned to cast resin, and made a series of wall panels that interconnected.

This structure like the rest was intended to be modeled full size. I don’t like selective compression, and I wanted the feeling of the building overpowering the trains.

Sadly, this building no longer exists as I no longer plan to model this section of the feed mill. Also, I would likely redo the model anyway if I was to model it as the modeling skills at the time where very crude…

Back to the main structure.

With that ‘easy’ structure done, and having completely exhausted my research skills at the time, I began to wonder if I would ever be able to construct the building. I did a little digging and found out that the State of Washington keeps archival tax records on properties. These archival tax records often include photos and a basic building footprint. Armed with nothing more than a parcel tax id number, I reached out the archives. Thankfully, I also included the adjacent tax parcels just in case. A few weeks later, I got a huge stack of papers in the mail. This was the beginning of the treasure trove of information. Not only was there a building footprint but I also had some historical photos, and some background on the history of the building. I could see what sections of the building where first build (1904) followed by the 1920’s addition, followed by the 1940’s addition, all the way up the final product in early 2000. The tax parcel information included a description of building construction, wall lengths, etc.

These are just some of the photos. About the same time, I contacted the Redmond Historical Society and asked them about any information they might have about T&D Feeds. I ended up in email contact with one of the last employees to work there. He provided me with even more photos. Sadly, I lost all my email correspondence with Tom after my school email suddenly stopped working one without warning. Thankfully I had saved the photos, but the more valuable information was in the email threads about grain mixtures, types of products they made, etc.

Also around this time, I looked up Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Redmond to glean additional information. Pretty soon I felt that I had enough information to build a model, but how was I going to replicate all those interesting structures on the feed mill? I only had the basic information; 160’x 170 and the wall height of the 1st story. I discovered that Sketchup had a photo matching feature that allowed you to build a 3D model based on photos. You could insert a photo into the model and then draw a measured line based on the perspective of the photo. So I had to teach myself Sketchup… That was a process. In the end, my 3D drawing scaled out to 161’ x 169’, just about the same size as I had expected. So I resized the building to match the 160 x 170 dimension, and tweaked a few things (I knew a wall wouldn’t be 11’ 9" but it probably was a even 12’.

Now I had a master drawing (and I still have the filed saved somewhere). The more I got into this project, the more I vested time and energy. Then one day I was talking to a family friend about my modeling projects and happened to mention this feed mill. He immediately says to me, “I think I have a photo or two of the building. I recall testing out a new camera in the mid 80’s.” A few days later, I had his slides, so I made a few copies.

Things kept getting more and more interesting…

The more I did research, the more I would stumble upon little nuggets of information. I once found (and promptly saved) a Public Board Award for railroad employees caught in a grain stealing scandal. The owner of T&D Feeds also was a co-owner of another mill worked by the same local. The crew started off gleaning grain from the Snohomish mill, and taking it to T&D Feeds. Eventually, they ended up ‘gleaning’ whole rail cars full of grain. The Public Board Award listed a few car numbers as well. So with that, plus the information from Tom, the Feed Mill employee, I had a rough outline of how many cars they go per week, what type of grain hoppers, etc.

Then, I found another modeler in this area that was planning on modeling T&D Feeds as well. He and I exchanged emails, and he shared with me a bunch of his photos of the structure, including some detail shots of the feed truck that was used to deliver feed.

Anyway’s that’s the background of the model. Maybe later, I will post some construction photos if people are interested.

Interested? You bet I am!

Do you have a yard big enough for a layout and THAT, too?..(


Yes, the yard is big enough. The building footprint is only about 6’ x 7’. The front of the building faces the road, so I’m going to use that road surface as the edge of the layout. The bigger question is, how tall?

The structure sits just under 4’ at the top of one of the grain bins. That’s decent… But I want a elevated layout… The goal is to keep the layout bench work about 3’… So that means I’ve got a structure that towers 7’ high.

I haven’t been able to build the layout very far yet (other than the staging in the garage) because I didn’t do a proper survey. Now that I have a borrowed a surveyors equipment it’s just a matter of finding time now. If I have a chance this weekend, I will try and break out the building and roughly place it in the backyard. I really need to get it placed as it eats up a lot of my garage storage space.

Craig Townsend said:

I haven’t been able to build the layout very far yet (other than the staging in the garage) because I didn’t do a proper survey. Now that I have a borrowed a surveyors equipment it’s just a matter of finding time now.

Your lucky. All I had was a string level, a bunch of string and tape measure…(

I tried the string and the level method and got a rough idea. Then my retired Civil Engineer father says to me, let’s survey your yard to get a really accurate picture.

I was dumb enough to say okay… Then my BIL says to me, Hey did you know that I got a surveyors equipment set from your great Uncle? (We had helped glean his airplane hanger full of tools and supplies this summer). So now, I have the equipment.

The yard slopes down in one corner, but otherwise it is relatively flat. That slop will actually work in my favor (or I’m hoping it will) by allowing the layout to stay level, and making a duckunder. Right about that spot is a perfect location to model a bridge leading into Redmond. I’m hoping that between the slope, the open space beneath the bridge, the duckunder will turn into a nod under.


I have found on my RR 54 inches in the clear is just about the bare minimun height for a duckunder for older less agile folks(


That’s good info to know. Right now, I think my duck under would be about that height. I think I can always excavate the ground a bit more to make clearance if if is a tight fit. The goal with this layout is to be all elevated with the the few places of “duckunders” to either have a alternate route or have a swing opening.

The one duckunder that I have right now is hard even for me, but I can easily walk around the garage to the backyard.

Because I’m always on the lookout for more photos… Found the Redmond Historical Society Facebook page today and found this.

Nice. Love builds like this that start early and show us progress!

Fascinating! I am as intrigued by your research methods and doggedness as I am sure I will be by the build itself!

Love the background info. Thanks for posting - I’ll be following.

Eric Mueller said:

Fascinating! I am as intrigued by your research methods and doggedness as I am sure I will be by the build itself!

Pretty simple research compared to my MA thesis research… :wink:

Pretty much the two best sources have been

State archives, and historical societies. A lot of research is just persistent looking for new sources if info. Laat night via the Redmond Historical Society Facebook page, I probably found 10 more photos I’ve never seen.

If people really want to get deep in the weeds, I will post more photos.

Jon and others,

Don’t expect too fast of project updates. As I said in the title I started this 10 years ago. I do need to get it finished so I can have more garage storage. I guess I better start saving aluminum cans again… The whole structure is covered with corrugated metal.

Well, don’t start Devoning on us now…(

Ken Brunt said:

Well, don’t start Devoning on us now…(

Well, considering that I’m slowly working on various parts over the years, I would say I’m a prime example of Devoning…

Just to prove I found more info.

Actually Ken, I have you to blame for posting your rebuilding of structures thread that got me thinking about what would happen if I ever had to rebuild. Which then led me to swing by Lowe’s in the way home, which then led to me asking about PVC alternatives, which led Greg to asking for photos, which then led me to make this thread. So really it’s all your fault. :wink:

Your welcome…(

I just got done one more.

Jon Radder said:

Love the background info. Thanks for posting - I’ll be following.

What Jon said… Nice article… Will be an interesting follow as it progresses… (

Ken Brunt said:

Your welcome…(

I just got done one more.

Which substructure would you like to complete? Those front tanks need to be built still, or any of the piping, or a flat rate box of crimped aluminum cans would be nice. (

Because I can’t give it to you all at once…

Here are a few more teaser photos…

1951 Store Front

Nordquist Feed Mills

1967 Front Store then it became Western Feed

The name T-D Feeds comes from the two gentlemen who bought the property from Western Feed. “The mill and store originally started out as a partnership between Burton “Buzz” Thompson and Lowell De Young. At that time it was called T-D Feeds. When Buzz retired and sold his share of the partnership” Tom Bauer (Feed Mill Manager from 1967-1999).

“Dairy cows were fed up to 25# of feed daily. An average dairy herd of 30 milking cows at that time would require 5000# of feed weekly or 10 tons per month. In the forties and early fifties there were about 25 dairy herds in the Snoqualmie Valley alone, or 750 cows eating up to 9 tons daily.” Tom said the feed mill business was very competitive.

Any car experts can date this photo? I’m guessing mid-late 70’s- early 80’s?

A model teaser…