A nifty covered hopper industry I found while travelling
#1
Sadly, I did not get pics, but I am working on getting some pics together of the equipment I saw used to add to this thread a little later, but I wanted to share because it was quite interesting. The industry consisted of a single office, with a couple of company trucks next to the office, one track full of probably 20 covered hoppers, and several trucks with covered hopper trailers. To unload the hoppers in to the trailers, there was a small, mobile conveyor belt (like what you'd see for aggregate or something similar) which, when not in use, was parked alongside the tracks, and when in use, was moved under the hopper with the taller end over top of the trailer. When the trailer was full, the truck pulled away and another took its place.

I think this would be quite easy to model and would be an easy way to add most any sort of covered hopper-based industry to your layout. You wouldn't have to have so much in front of the cars, it would be quite easy to spot one or two hoppers on a short spur (or even on the main, which is a practice I have still seen in use today on short lines that only run one train or so at any given time) with a conveniently placed mobile conveyor belt to give an indication of what takes place there, a very small office and truck, and a waiting tractor trailer to be unloaded in to.

I ran in to this while driving in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania (the totally unironic name of an actual group of mountains here), and was unable to take any pictures since my camera was totally dead.
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#2
So what were they loading?
Mike

Sent from my pocket calculator using two tin cans and a string
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#3
I was unable to see. The area was closed off. The hoppers had GATX markings. Based on the area in question, I would guess ingredients for feed mills or grain, but I could see this being applied to all manner of loads in hoppers, covered or not.
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