A trip to Gainesville, Georgia gave me the opportunity to do a little rail fanning around the Pilgrim’s Pride Feed Mill. I had seen the facility on Google Earth and wanted to check it out for myself. My friend Brandon is modeling the CSX Gainesville Midland line and is planning to model the facility, so I knew a little about it, but had never seen the facility in person.
A public street in front of the facility allows rail fans the ability to grab a few photos of the mill without being on private property. There are actually two grain facilities located adjacent to each other. The smaller one to the north (left) is CWT Farms International, and the larger one located to the south is Pilgrim’s Pride.
Both facilities have their own Trackmobile for switching cars. Pilgrim’s Pride would be a great facility to model with all the piping, large grain bins, and unloading spots. Three stub ended storage sidings are located just to the south of the two large storage bins at Pilgrim’s. This storage area allows the industry to have a steady supply of cars for unloading. One interesting fact is that the Norfolk Southern (NS) main line is located only a block away from the Pilgrim’s Pride facility, but the facility is switched only by CSX. There is a small two track interchange yard for the Gainesville Midland Subdivision located to the west of Pilgrim’s Pride where CSX and NS interchange cars for the line. A couple of tracks branch off to the south of Pilgrim’s Pride, but it does not look like the industries along the sidings are rail served any more.
By going trackside you never know what you will see. When I went around to another street located on the east side of the facility I was able to see the storage yard for Pilgrim’s Pride. In one of the sidings were three flat cars with wrecked covered hopper cars chained down to them. The covered hopper cars were from a derailment awhile ago and were now loaded on flat cars waiting to be sent somewhere for repair or to be scrapped. This would make for a very interesting load for a model railroad and one that would be very prototypical.
This one location could even be a prototype inspiration for an entire small model railroad. It would be easy to model with a shelf layout along one or two walls of a bedroom. Google Earth aerial photos of the facility show an old Geep located at the end of the one of the sidings. It is not too difficult to imagine the facility using an old second hand Geep to move the cars prior to them getting a Trackmobile. You would have plenty of switching action moving cars from the storage yard to the unloading facility, and then back to the interchange track for CSX to pick up. Pilgrim’s Pride receives covered hopper cars and tank cars of product, while it looks like CWT Farms only receives covered hoppers. If you like scratch building structures, you could have a great time building the intricate piping and structures for Pilgrim’s Pride and CWT Farms.
Get out and do a little rail fanning when you can. You’ll get great ideas you can apply to your model railroad. As always, be safe and don’t trespass on private or railroad property, no matter how tempting it is to get the shot you want.
Until next time stay safe and keep model railroading.