Davis-Murdoch Stone Company

Moving the Dust Mill

Reconfiguring operational elements

A primary ingredient in the mineral composition of soapstone in central Virginia is talc. Talc has a wide range of industrial applications and is a common component in the production processes of paint, paper, ceramics, and many other items. A dust mill is the facililty where a soapstone operation would crush and then mill the stone to a fine powder. The powder would be bagged and shipped to manufacturing plants.

Dust Mill ruins at Schuyler

The vast majority of soapstone quarries yield stone of a quality such that every bit of it is milled into talc. Central Virginia is one of very few places where the integrity of the soapstone cut from the quarries is high enough for it to be formed into dimensional stone for architectural applications. Even so, much of the stone from these same quarries is flawed in some way that prevents it being suitable for sawing and polishing to make finished pieces. A good deal of the high quality stone that makes it into the assembly plant will end up as breakage or cut-off scrap. So the quarries and the assembly plant are both generating raw material for the dust mill, adding operational interest for the train crews.

Mocking up a dust mill site

I am going to have a dust mill on my layout. I had to find a suitable location for it and suspected it could fit along the east wall so I grabbed a pile of structure pieces and parts to try to get an impression of what that would look like.

Layout track plan including dust mill

The current plan for the dust mill and assembly plant:

A: The track that extends into the office to serve the unmodeled Quarry No. 2
B: Gangsaw building
C: Assembly plant
D: Boilerhouse
E: Dust mill
F: Supply sheds and loading area
G: Talc bagging plant