Roadtrip to 2014, to none other than…Delaware! (Part III)


Delaware Coast Line #4054 at Gravel Hill, DE on January 17, 2014 — Photo by Doug Miller

Let’s venture east out of Georgetown, DE towards Lewes and Frankford.

Georgetown (and to the east)

A customer on the edge of Georgetown is Schangrin Gas.  it supplies propane for heating.  At the bottom of the photo below, you can see two staircases along the spur that can be used to unload LPG tank cars (just below the three trucks lined up in a row).


Further east of Georgetown, the Delaware Coast Line (DCL) serves a large aggregate operation.  Let’s visit the operation at Gravel Hill.

The picture at the very top of the post is DCL #4054 at Gravel Hill.  Gravel Hill Yard is a large Delaware Department of Transportation facility.  The DCL brings in aggregates for DOT projects.



Aerial of Delaware DOT (Gravel Hill Yard) facility. The green dot at top is the location depicted in the photo just above.  The green dot to the right depicts location of below photo.



The DCL heading east encounters next Allen’s Harbeson Processing Facility.  This plant processes poultry for shipment all around the world.


It is not clear if rail shipments are currently taking place, but there is a large spur as indicated by the green dots.  If modelled, this could be an opportunity to spot refrigerator cars.


Nassau and Lewes

At the end of the line is Nassau and Lewes.  This is Atlantic Cement.  It is listed as a customer for the DCL.



This is Atlantic Cement from the air.  It looks like rail cars are unloaded to the left from time to time.

At the end of the line in Lewes is one last shipper, SPI Pharma.  It is a pharmaceutical company.  However, to get to the end of the line, the DCL has to cross a very interesting bridge.  The location of the bridge is depicted below with a green dot (to the left).  The green dot to the right shows the location of SPI Pharma.  The blue-green area at the top of the photo is Delaware Bay.


The bridge is a hand-cranked swing bridge.  The DCL crews have to get out and manually open and close the bridge!

DCLR 4054 Lewes DE Aug 13 2013 Bruce Aldred

DCLR #4054 Lewes DE August 13, 2013 –photo by Bruce Aldred

Here are a couple of videos showing the operation.

2012 video

2013 video

You have to love this, in 2014!  It is great!


Above is an aerial photo of SPI Pharma.  Three tank cars and a covered hopper are spotted along the top of the picture.  It is next to beautiful Henlopen State Park.


Tanks cars spotted at SPI Parma in Lewes, October 2013 –photo by C. Hunt

Lewes is a great town. It has a very rich history and a very active historical society–The Lewes Historical Society.  Lewes is being considered for inclusion as a part of the National Park Service’s First State Monument.  Among many other historic stories to be shared there, it is the equivalent of Jamestown for the Dutch colonists.  The establishment of this Dutch settlement had profound impacts along the eastern shore of what would become the United States.


The last stop for our sampling of rail-served businesses in Delaware is the Mountaire mill in Frankford.  Frankford is south of Lewes on the Norfolk Southern.  I like this mill because it is an interesting structure and there is a historic structure nearby,




Again, some selective downsizing would be in order, but it could generate a lot of covered hopper action on a layout.

This concludes the portion of the series on shippers.  Next time, we will look at some rolling stock that would typically service some of the businesses we have visited.


Roadtrip to 2014, to none other than…Delaware! (Part II)


Perdue Poultry, Bridgeville, DE, May 17, 2014 –photo by C. Hunt


Let’s venture a bit farther south down to Bridgeville, DE.  There is a large mill that Perdue uses to supply poultry producers.  It is a bit large for a small layout, but could be selectively reduced.


Aerial of Perdue Poultry in Bridgeville.

There are three spurs here and would support a lot of operations.  A reduced version could just feature one or two spurs.


Warehouse across the tracks–photo by C. Hunt

The facility is larger than it appears in the aerial.  There are warehouses on the other side of the track.


Even further south is the town of Seaford on the Nanticoke River and along the National Park Service’s Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.  Seaford is host to another poultry feed supplier–Venture Milling.


Venture Milling in Seaford, DE, February 2014.–photo by C. Hunt

The Norfolk Southern is servicing the other side of the mill on the same day the above picture was taken.


Norfolk Southern servicing Venture Milling, February 2014 –photo by C. Hunt


Venture Milling in Seaford, DE. Note Nanticoke River and swing bridge.

An interesting, but fairly large facility which would likely require selective downsizing if modelled.

Seaford also has interesting museum and offers great kayaking along the National Historic Trail.


Our last destination in this post is Milford, DE.  Again another agriculture-related customer.


Growmark FS in Milford, DE.

Growmark FS supplies a wide variety of products to farmers including includes seed, plant nutrients, lime, and crop protection materials. In the above photo you see three covered hoppers spotted.


Aerial of Growmark FS in Milford, DE.  Growmark FS is the business to the right of the rail spur.

An interesting feature of this business is that the spur appears to actually serve the next door neighbor as well–United States Cold Storage.


United States Cold Storage in Milford, DE.

It is unclear whether the spur is currently used by United States Cold Storage, but it gives the modeller the opportunity to bring in refrigerator cars and insulated box cars.  The Company’s website does boast of having “Norfolk Southern Railroad service with 4 rail doors.”


Doors (green dots) at United States Cold Storage that could receive rail shipments.


Before we leave the western side of the Delaware, I wanted to briefly mention one business in Dover, Kraft Foods.


Kraft Foods in Dover, DE.


Kraft complex in Dover. Almost all of this is Kraft.

Located in Dover, the 117-acre site employs approximately 535 employees.  It is like a little city.  It manufactures food and beverage products such as; Stove Top stuffing mix, Jell-O desserts, Dream Whip whipped topping mix, and Kool-Aid, Country Time, Crystal Light soft drink mixes.   Kool-Aid was only recently added to the line in Dover.  Previously, it had been produced in Mexico.  It is encouraging to see production come back to the United States.


Close up of the larger facility. The green dots show all the rail lines servicing the plant. Fifteen freight cars are spotted at the plant in this recent aerial. More could be inside the plant. The plant has its own means of shifting cars about the plant.

Probably way too big to model but interesting nonetheless.  Also, since Kool-Aid was important to me as a child, it is neat to know it is once again made in the United States.  (Just as an aside–think about how much less waste there was with Kool-Aid–no plastic bottles, etc.)

Next post and map

Part III of this post will feature rail-served businesses in Lewes, Millsboro, and Frankford.  To give you a geographic orientation, here is a map.  With the exception of Dover, DE which is north of Harrington, the map shows the locations of the businesses on this post and Lewes (next post).  Millsboro and Frankford are too far south to appear on this map.  Until next time…


Roadtrip to 2014, to none other than…Delaware! (Part I)


Mountaire Farms, adjacent to the State Fair grounds, is the only customer located in Harrington terminal, as seen being worked by high-hood GP38-2 5240 on H43 in December 2012. — photo © Scott Harris.  For a great collection of shots around the area, see

In this post and the next two, I will give you a feel for some of the operations you can model in Delaware.  The above photo is one of my favorite businesses I will share.  It is attractive, interesting and small enough to model.  It also reflects a very typical southern Delaware industry–poultry production.  Mountaire Farms is an agricultural food processing company with more than 6,000 employees in Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina. Facilities of this sort supply poultry producers across southern Delaware.


Aerial view of Mountaire facility in Harrington.


Facility in 2013 after covered hoppers have been spotted.

If you notice in the above aerial, across the tracks from Montaire is a propane supplier.  it too is a potential business to model.


Suburban Propane could periodically receive propane in long tank cars.  Part III of the series will provide examples.

Let’s run a little south of Harrington to find another agricultural related shipper.


Willard Agri-Services in Greenwood, Delaware is a liquid fertilizer dealer.  Most rail-delivered products would likely come in by tank car, but there appears to be a place to unload covered hoppers as well.

A little further south, but still in Greenwood, is Railing and Building Products.


This business would typically receive shipments by flat car.  See yellow center-beam fat spotted there in this recent photo.  Occasional box cars could also appear.

Here is a map to orient you to the terrain we have covered thus far.  The green dots roughly reflect the location of the three businesses.


More businesses to come in Parts II and III including one of the more unusual rail-served facilities in the country.


Roadtrip to 2014, to none other than…Delaware! (Introduction)


NS 2607 April 26, 2014 in Harrington DE — photo by David Nutter

I know this may seem an odd topic given the New Mexico (sometimes Texas and Southwest) flavor of this sight, but I recently visited Delaware and liked what I saw.  I thought I’d share it within the context of a potential entry-level layout.


Harvesting corn in Delaware

Southern Delaware has a vibrant agricultural economy.  Tourism is big along the coast, but agriculture, particularly poultry and truck farms, are key components of the landscape and economy.

I will start by this series by giving you a feel for some of the operations you can model (Parts I, II and II).  In Part IV, I will show a potential simple layout you could build to capture some Delaware action.  In Part V, I will discuss locomotives and rolling stock and give a brief overview of possible operations.

To give you some starting context, here is a historic map of Delaware rail lines.  Many of the lines are still in operation.


An undated map of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, & Baltimore Railroad and Connections –photo courtesy of the State of Delaware

I hope you will enjoy this brief detour from the Southwest and the early 1990s.

Below is a sneak peak of the kind of operations I will share with you.







Photo of the Week — A conservationist comes to the “territory”


Theodore Roosevelt in the territory of New Mexico in 1899.  Photo courtesy of the Museum of New Mexico.

The above photo is of Col. Theodore Roosevelt at the first annual Rough Riders Reunion in front of the Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, N.M., in June 1899.


Hotel Castaneda, originally built in 1898, is currently being refurbished to once again serve as a hotel. See this article from the Houston Chronicle article. Photo courtesy Denver Public Library.

I am a fan of Roosevelt’s efforts to establish numerous National Parks, Forests and Wildlife Refuges.

A interesting book  that emphasizes his conservation efforts is–

Here is an excerpt of a review for the New Yorker–

Theodore Roosevelt spent the day of July 1, 1908, the tenth anniversary of the Battle of San Juan Hill, creating forty-five national forests. In this biographical study of T.R.’s campaign to save hundreds of millions of acres of wilderness, Brinkley writes that “the forestry movement would be forced down his opponents’ throats.” Roosevelt’s intense love for nature was, Brinkley makes clear, a conqueror’s love—triumphal Darwinism—and included a “blood lust” in hunting the wildlife he championed. 

It is a bit long (actually very long at 960 pages), but it gives a great overview of his work in conservation.  Of all our Presidents, he probably had the largest, most positive impact on conservation overall.


Willie Stargell’s Roswell Incident and other Roswell and New Mexico Baseball Goodies


1966 baseball card for Willy Stargell.

If you haven’t noticed, along with my love of New Mexico, trains and conservation, I like baseball, especially Chicago White Sox baseball.  (See post of April 19, 2014) Expect a post or two in the future on the White Sox, but I have been sparing you thus far.  I like golf too but we’ll see if any traffic comes from that.  (There is both an American Indian and a Roswell local who did well on the links from the State).

Here’s a few baseball tidbits from Roswell.  There’s not much to work with.

Roswell has hosted a number of minor league teams over the years with a number of colorful names–Giants (1923), Sunshiners, Rockets, Pirates and Invaders.

A “Roswell Incident” of a different sort

According to a brief biography, one of my favorite major leaguers growing up had a Roswell incident of his own.

In a 1959 Minor League game in Roswell, Stargell, playing for the Roswell Pirates, was approached by a man with a shotgun. Pointing it at his head, the man threatened to kill Stargell if he played in that night’s game. Nothing more resulted from the incident, and the determined Stargell still played in the game. Even as a nineteen year old, he showed a lot of promise, collecting 87 RBIs and hitting .274 that year for the Roswell team.  In 1961, the Pittsburgh Pirates would call him up to the big leagues.  He would spend his next 21 years there.


On Oct. 17, 1979, Willie Stargell would hit a home run giving Pirates a win in Game 7 of World Series.

Fortunately, Stargell shook off the guy with the shotgun,   He would go on to hit 475 major league home runs and drive in 1,540 runs over his career.

A real Roswellite–The short career of Lefty Scott

Unbelievably, only one native of Roswell has ever made it to “the Show.”  Lefty Scott was born on Thursday, July 15, 1915. Scott was 29 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 15, 1945, with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched in eight games.  Sadly, that was it.  There is a picture that is alleged to be his photo on the internet, but it is so poor that it doesn’t merit being in the post.

There have been about 25 major leaguers from New Mexico, but Roswell has been largely infertile for the cultivation of major leaguers thus far.

Here are a few from at least southern New Mexico.

Steve Ontiveros

Steve Ontiveros was born on Sunday, March 5, 1961, in Tularosa, New Mexico. Ontiveros was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on June 14, 1985, with the Oakland Athletics.  He enjoyed one of the more successful careers of the handful of native New Mexicans to play in the big leagues.  He played from 1985 to 2000.  He moved around some, but spent the bulk of his seasons with the Athletics.

Scott Terry

Scott Terry was born on Saturday, November 21, 1959, in Hobbs, New Mexico. Terry was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 9, 1986, with the Cincinnati Reds.  He had a respectable career.  He pitched in 236 games over a six year career.

Jimmy Freeman

Jimmy Freeman was born on Friday, June 29, 1951, in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Freeman was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 1, 1972, with the Atlanta Braves.  Sadly, Jimmie’s career was rather short.  He only appeared in 19 major league games, all for the Braves.

Quicksand kids?

Probably the best known major leaguer native to New Mexico is Ralph Kiner.  Kiner was born in Santa Rita, NM in 1922.  Due to back problems he only played from 1946 to 1955, but he had many great seasons, including leading the league in homeruns six consecutive seasons.  Kiner was not especially fast and contrast to the 1950 Phillies “Whiz Kids,” he and his fellow outfielders during his tenure in Chicago were referred to as the “Quicksand Kids,”   He died from natural causes on February 6, 2014 at the age of 91.


Hall of Fame left fielder Ralph Kiner

A famous quote was attributed to Branch Rickey when Kiner was traded to Chicago from Pittsburgh.  Rickey reportedly told Kiner, “We finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”  During his nine years of play, Kiner hit 369 home runs and batted in 1,015 runs.

Kiner’s voice became very well known to New Yorkers.  He broadcast Mets games from 1962 until 2006.  Kiner spent some of his childhood in California, but not a bad career for a kid born in what is now a ghost town in New Mexico!


Business district east of Santa Rita, 1919,  Now a ghost town. –Photo courtesy Silver City Museum