Friday, 11 September 2015

Zubick's Scrap Metals - London, Ont.

Any car arriving for scrapping will have some sort of stencilled notice to keep it from being loaded en route.
An Industry You Can Model - Zubick's Scrap Metals
Article and photos by Peter Mumby

This week as you put out your blue boxes, you can look up and down the street and note with some satisfaction that most of your neighbours have bought into your municipality's recycling programme.  However, if you have been a homeowner for 20+ years, you know it wasn't always this way.  North Americans have been notorious with regard to filling landfills with recyclable items.  The major exception over the years has been scrap metals.

This Zubick's logo appears on trucks and bins.  The company has been extant since 1946; my visit occurred on August 05, 2015
 Since couplers cannot be painted, here is a place where a good dose of rusty weathering is justified.  Save all those "Kadee compatible" couplers as you replace them with the real thing, and you are well on the way to modelling your scrap yard!
Scrap metal has been of great value to individuals and governments - swords have been "beaten into ploughshares" (and vice versa) for hundreds of years.  Who knows - that blade you shaved with this morning could trace its heritage back to the industrial revolution!

The title of this piece might be a bit of a misnomer.  Occupying a 24-acre site in east London, Zubick's would take up a huge area even in Z scale.  It's mountains of carefully segregated material and huge pieces of equipment would have to be very selectively compressed.  Besides, the vast majority of its deliveries and shipments are by truck, so we'll concentrate on those aspects of the industry that are rail-related.  One hint to the prospective scrap yard modeller - don't make those piles of material look as rusty as they do in the model railway magazines.  Most of the material received at Zubick's is quickly resold, leaving the site within two weeks!

In business since 1946, John Zubick Ltd. is currently located at 105 Clarke Road in London, Ontario.  It has a private rail spur off the north mainline track of the CN Dundas Subdivision just west of the control point known as Frauts (m.p. 74.0).  Ten years ago, local CN freight #511 could often be seen shoving hopper cars full of railroad scrap as well as complete cars (mostly tanks) into the site by way of this spur.  Today rail car recycling is not as centralized as it once was, so this aspect of the business has been in decline.  However, there still is a significant rail component to the Zubick's operation, and this is what we'll be considering through a perusal of the accompanying photos.



There are three weigh scales on the premises.  This tower contains the equipment which records the weight of rail cars.

This Procor tank is one of two that were ready to be cut up at the time of my visit.

An interesting detail showing up throughout the yard were a variety of storage bins made from cut-up tank cars.  Now you know what to do with all those Tyco and Model Power tank cars you acquired when you first got in to the hobby!

 This mobile shear is designed to cut up rail cars at locations remote from the yard.  It is sub-lettered for subsidiary "London Rail Services."
Tank cars must have couplers incorporating both an upper and a lower shelf.  Perhaps this detail could be overlooked on a string of tank cars operating on the layout, but a stand-alone model in your scrap yard wouldn't be complete without the proper couplers!

These wheel sets will be re-sold.  There is a good market for wheel sets and side frames for 100-ton trucks.

 Not every railcar that appears in the yard will be cut up.  This reinforced box car has started a second life as a storage facility.
Here we see an ASF Ride Control truck stacked above a Barber S-2 truck; the lower truck is stamped "Dofasco."  This detail might be difficult to duplicate in 1:87!

One of the first things you notice as your approach the front gate is a collection of large sculptures made from scrap metal.  Zubick's has developed a relationship with Fanshawe College whereby certain students head off campus to create these pieces of art at the yard.
Here a group of the sculptures soars high over parked off-duty vehicles.

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