The first Rails West structure! (and narrative)


Glacial progress continues on the Rails West layout!  The first structure has appeared on the layout.  Rails West trains are actually servicing a real business.

Here is Western Warehousing on the layout.

Rails West June 2016

I like to have a story behind my businesses.  It makes the businesses more real.

Western Warehousing was built in the early 1970s by Western Producers Association (WPA).  It was originally designed to serve area agricultural producers.  It was relatively large and could handle a wide range of supplies needed for the area ranchers and farmers.  Much cotton, alfalfa, maize and wheat is grown in the area.  There is some fruit, mohair and wool production as well.  The warehouse was designed to also ship commodities as needed.

Unfortunately, the warehouse was only in operation three years.  It was no longer needed when the WPA merged with Farmers Co-op.  Farmers C0-op already had two other facilities in the region.  The warehouse sat vacant until Ford Motor Company worked with Western Warehousing to establish a distribution facility to serve the region to distribute auto and tractor parts and other automotive supplies.  In 1977, Western Warehousing acquired the structure to handle this business in Mineral Wells along with tires from Uniroyal and Goodrich.  In 1978, the Mineral Wells facility was opened and has been a successful distributor to dealers for a large region.  Large boxcars arrive frequently to keep the warehouse stocked.  Jimmy Hines is the shipping boss.  He always has a new joke for the Rails West crew.

I started with two fine Walthers kits — Lauston Shipping Thin Profile Background Building and Bud’s Trucking Company Background Building.  I played with them for a while, literally a couple of weeks off and on, to the get the feel of the structure I wanted.


I started with this design, but I ultimately found it not as interesting as I wanted.


I eventually settled on this design.


A structure this long needs some reinforcement.


I finally got it ready to weather.  I had to shorten the width of the building.  The original width was too wide.  It would not have fit the layout.  As a result, I had to short the walls and ceiling and bottom piece.  I had to fabricate the bottom piece and the roof from styrene.


Backside showing fabricated bottom and roof.

In part two, I’ll show you how I weathered it and installed signs.