The coaling tower is based on a prototype found on the CPR in my hometown of Toronto, Canada. A CPR coaling tower on the NYC? This might not sit well with NYC purists, but then again Fillmore never really existed anyway…
Pictured above in Roundhouse Park (formerly CPR John Street Roundhouse), this coaling tower survives today along with a number of historic railway structures and is the inspiration for the coaling tower at Fillmore. Here’s the story: John Street was opened in 1929, the Canadian Pacific Railway was partnered with the New York Central System for many years already before this, Buffalo experiences severe winter weather. The NYC decided to try one of these Canadian designs at Fillmore (opened in 1931). This style of coaling tower is somewhat common in the Toronto and surrounding area: next door to John Street, CNR Spadina had a larger six-bin version, further west at Mimico, the CNR had a four-bin type, and CPR Lambton (West Toronto) had a rectangular-shaped, but similar structure. From a model railroading point-of-view, this design allows for coaling at two tracks (in addition to having a service track), all in a compact footprint. It was also fun and relatively easy to build.
Coal is delivered by hopper cars and dumped into the pit inside the shed pictured below.
This structure was kit-bashed from two Walthers Concrete Coaling Tower kits along with some Vollmer brick sheet and strip styrene. The pit shed is from Tichy.
The rectangular concrete bin in between the two large cylindrical bins is for dried sand storage. The chutes and walkways are from the Walthers kit and located in the kit positions. There is a chute under each bin for the track passing below. The hand railing is from Central Valley fencing kit, carefully rolled into a slight curve, and inserted into holes drilled into the roof of each bin. The fence is pressed in without glue; in case of damage, a railing can be pulled out and a new one made up and fitted.
The most intricate feature to build was, of course, the staircase leading up to the hoist house. This is made from Tichy stairs with Central Valley handrails. They are made in separate sections, by flight, with .028″ diameter brass wire supports attached. The wire supports are inserted into holes on the bin wall without glue. The vertical shaft for the skip-bucket is covered with brick walls to protect the rails and mechanism from the harsh winter weather. Doors are from Pikestuff; the windows are from Walthers out of my spares box. There is a 12v light inside while the windows are “frosted” over by spraying a light amount of thinned Grimy Black and Flat Clear on the outside.