Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Friday, June 26, 2015

Heileman Brewery Upgraded

Greetings Blog Followers,

I was looking for a project to escape the relentless heat and humidity here in the south I came across an easy project that had been on the to do list for a very long time.   

The Heileman Brewery Complex has been on three of my layouts Each time it was arranged to suit the available space. The kit was sold under the Monarch Brewery name by Heljan.

The latest incarnation left the building with a four 40' boxcar siding but loading dock doors for only one car. The the other three would have to be loaded or unloaded through the windows. So after waiting a few years I finally got around to upgrading the building by adding the much needed loading dock doors and blocking off the standard entry doors that lead to a big drop onto the rails.

Here is a picture of the kit  

Walthers HO 1870s Monarch Brewery Complex, 322-690 plastic model kit

The Heileman Brewery shows off it's four car siding, three loading dock doors, two pedestrian doors(watch the first step!) and plenty of windows. Not really suitable for track side

The first of four 40' box cars on the right are being shoved into the siding. In a rare moment of cooperation between management and labor, shipper and common carrier all agreed that new loading doors were needed

Four 40' boxcars sit comfortably on the siding. The industry looks much better now that you cannot see the lack of loading / unloading access to the the boxcars. The N.Y.C.T.L. probably didn't mind that much as the demurrage charges have been astronomical. But there is always the need for boxcars for other industries and management at the N.Y.C.T.L. does not want to be caught short handed. So they too urged the Heileman honchos to get the project going.   

Three different New York Central System boxcars with 
a close cousin New Haven boxcar sit and await loading

Well look at that! The Heileman Brewery has new loading dock doors spaced for four 40' boxcars.
And the suicide doors have been bricked up as well.

The loading dock doors are made from some spare roll up doors with the tool box staple black coffee straws as weather stripping. A dock plate made of strip wood has been added under each door.

With the new doors now operational the brewery efficiency expert realized he could have cars spotted at any door if they were numbered. So they were. This will work nice for enhanced operations now that train crews can identify what car goes to what door.

Two NYC 40' boxcars are spotted at doors 1 and 2

The P&LE 40' boxcar is spotted at door 3 and the NH at door 6. Why was the three door group of doors 3, 4 and 5 left like that you may wonder? 

Doors 2 and 4 can accommodate two 50' boxcars

The cars are spotted by a NYC SW8

With the new loading doors in place the beer can now be shipped ice cold
in old style iced reefers. Before the upgrade the siding and the cars would
have been a wet mess! 

With the advent of mechanical refrigeration the N.Y.C.T.L. 
has spotted two of it's cleanest 50' reefers at Heileman 

A Schaefer 50' Reefer at Heileman's! Kind of like having an EMD switch out the Ford plant. The dock workers may not notice as all they see is the inside of the car. Hopefully the shipping clerk does not recognize the cars reporting marks.

For more on the prototype Heileman Brewery check out this link;


  1. I used to work next to a brewery, and the Santa Fe local worked it at lunchtime. I'd go over during lunch and watch. The cars that went in were tank cars of corn syrup, covered hoppers of grain, barley, and hops, and boxcars of pallets and can stock. The cars that went out were RBL cars (like what you see in the last photo) of beer. Miller Brewing had mechanical reefers in the PC era that I can see in a video on the Boston & Albany, at least.

    1. Hi John, Thanks for the good info on the inbound and outbound rail traffic. I want to add some silos to accommodate at least one covered hopper of grain, hops or barley. I've mocked that up in the 3rd from last photo. I would also like to add the tank car of corn syrup to the list. I'll have to see what I can do to get that going.

  2. The doors look great John and the numbers will make it interesting for spotting cars appropriately. Hmmm, a little beer-jacking going on with the Schaefer car? I like that one! By the way, nice new cover photo with the FA set!

  3. Thanks Ralph! Have to showcase my favorite beer car. Official beer of the NY Mets 1974-1979! Thanks for the comment on the cover photo. Thought I'd update the blog a bit and this is one of my favorite photos.I added some new pictures at the bottom as well.