Icing Operation in KC

Discussion in 'Kansas City Subdivision' started by Boomer John, May 31, 2009.

  1. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    Still planning the KC West Bottoms layout, start date estimated August. Does anyone know where the Frisco iced the reefers that went into the Armour plant.

  2. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    I saw an icing track north of 19th St Yard near the Freight House noted on the track schematic received from Rick McClellan. I don't have the schematics in hand but they were from the late 60's or very early 70's. Bet it hadn't been in use for many years at that time but still carried the name.

    This may have been posted already but the KC Library website has a large collection of photos from the West Bottoms. Many were taken during the flood of 1951. And many of the photos show buildings the Frisco served. Go to the KC Library site, then to the Missouri Valley Room? online photo collection and search for "West Bottoms". I was amazed at the information available and the quantity of photos. Found some great aerial shots of the curved brick building that was part of the Rudy Patrick Seed complex.

    I am revising my N scale track plan to contain a larger 19th St Yard and a larger and more accurate West Bottoms area, circa 1970. I have rough sketches of both that I worked on in the car on a family trip to Paola, KS this weekend. I would be interested to see what you come up with on your layout plan. I will share what I am doing when I get it drawn up in CAD. We also had a great lunch at Hillsdale BBQ. Neat place with a trackside view of the old Frisco as an added bonus. We saw two trains while we ate. My wife's aunt lives just north of Paola between the UP and BNSF tracks. I heard trains like crazy all afternoon but could never come up with a good enough excuse to leave the family get together to go watch trains.

    Dale Rush
    Blair Line LLC
    Carthage, MO
  3. Carolina Man

    Carolina Man Member

    Most of the larger packing co's had their own Icing Plants and did not use a central Icing Facility. As I suspect Armour did, seeing as they owned their own reefers and stock cars. Probably pretty much self sustaining. I'm not sure that this true in the bottoms but it was the way they operated in South Omaha and other plants in Iowa. This all changed as the packing houses changed their operations especially during the mid 50's as trucks took over the transporation of meat. Most of the pictures I have seen of the West bottoms are old 1910-1930's and are probably before your modeling time frame. None show an Ice Dock. The area changes a lot as a result of the flooding in the bottoms.

    George A Walls
  4. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    George is correct. In Kansas City, Armour did their own icing. I found a 1908 Sanborn map of the Armour Plant in KC and they had an extensive icing operation. Nearly the entire north side of the plant and most of the west side of the plant had icing sheds. Each had two tracks, under cover. The north side was covered by a wood frame structure and is nearly 800' long. The west icing shed was part of a brick building and was about 450' long.

    There was also a wooden icing shed annex on the north side that ran parallel to the north icing shed and was about 400' long with one covered track on the north side and one open track on south side. The annex was reached by a walkway over the tracks.

    Armour would offer a tremendous amount of switching opportunities with a nice variety of freight car types. In addition to the cold storage and meatpacking with a daily killing capacity of 12,000 hogs, 4,000 cattle and 5,000 sheep. There was in 1908 the following facilities:
    Oleo House
    Albumen House
    Poultry House
    Fertilizer House/Fertilizer Warehouse
    Glue House
    Box House w/ woodworking dept.
    Cooper Shop
    Lard Refinery/Lard House
    Cotton Seed Oil Tanks
    Butterine House
    Smoke House
    Sausage Factory
    Canning Factory w/ can printing dept
    Lithograph Shop
    Car Erecting Shop w/ Machine Shop, Woodworking Shop and Wood Drying Kiln
    Cattle Pens and Hog Pens (There were minimal unloading facilities. Most of the livestock arrived on the hoof from the neighboring KC Stockyards via covered walkway)

    I have no idea how much of this survived into your modeling era. Maybe somebody will come across later dated Sanborn Maps of this facility in the future. With a little modelers license most of this, less the car erecting shops, could have easily survived into the 1960's.

    Dale Rush
    modeling the Clinton Sub, ca. 1970
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2012
  5. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Wow. Thanks for the details, Dale. One could nearly entirely model a switching layout based on this alone.

    The Special Collections section at MU's Ellis Library has newer, hard copy Sanborn maps (I think I found one for Hayti, MO from the early 1960s) that one can look at in person. I wish they'd digitize the entire collection, but I wonder if there are copyright issues involved.

    Best Regards,
  6. trainsignguy

    trainsignguy Member Frisco.org Supporter

    Sanborn map of Armour Packing Plant in 1908. Kansas City, Kansas in the West Bottoms (Central Industrial District). Frisco served the plant from tracks shown in the upper right of the map (near the north arrow).

    As Chris noted this would make a great switching layout. I believe it is the focus of Boomer John's KC West Bottoms layout.

    Dale Rush
    Carthage, MO

    Attached Files:

  7. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Frisco.org Supporter

    Dale, thanks very much for the map. While we don't plan on modeling any of the Armour plant in our "West Bottoms," this will be helpful in determining what type of traffic should come into and out of staging.

    Best Regards,
  8. Boomer John

    Boomer John Member

    Obviously I've "compressed" the trackage in my Armour plant. I have the following tracks; load out (5 cars X 3 blocks), by-products, inbound, coal, rip/clean,
    pre-cool, icing and a yard track. I found the article in RMC about five years ago regarding the Decker plant in Iowa useful. I do have a couple of questions
    if anyone can help. I've searched the internet and can't find the answer.

    1) Apparently Armour did not use ice blocks, but a brine mix. How would was this performed, i.e. how would I modify the Walthers icing platform to represent this?

    2) I've read when they pre-cooled a car cold air was blown into the car. Was this done through the hatches, doors or other. Would did this equipment look like?

    If you saw my earlier post, progress on West Bottoms is slow installing switch stands on the facia using Caboose throws. Each one has to be fabricated then tinkered
    with for reliability.


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