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What was the original intention for Lionel’s Icing station?

Specifically, the long “chute” that seems to sit at track level?

Was the original intention to have the station reside at a 90 degree crossover and use a car that could dispense the cubes into the wide mouth of the chute?

Obviously not prototypical but I imagine that round-trip accessories were, in management’s eyes, more desirable.

Also, I noticed in the 2021 catalog that the Merchandise car is now being paired w the Icing station as a Holiday rebadging that dispenses presents

The latest Units use can motor delivery so the action is slow and smooth in both the station and car

wonder if that was the original intent but the solenoid action was just too aggressive to work correctly

Last edited by graz
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The ice station was one of my favorite accessories as a young boy, and was also a favorite among my friends.  Mine was "stationed"  at trackside at the time, along a straightaway.  I would stop the train and position the ice car alongside the station to load the ice onto the car as RadioRon describes in the preceding post.  

I presently have the ice station on a side track on my current layout, and generally just leave the ice car positioned in front of the station.

Graz, the chute on that side is fake & those plastic ice blocks are glued onto it.  The ice blocks higher up are loose & you raise that chute section to feed free-moving blocks into the rail ice car.  If you wish, you could sit a model truck loaded with ice at the foot of the chute with the fixed blocks to give the illusion the blocks are being unloaded into the ice station... & thus, the rail car.

Last edited by RadioRon

I know that the chute is fake guys

However it doesn’t represent anything from the prototype - no giant chute slid blocks of ice into the house.

Thus, what was the reason to even have it?

Those cubes could be loaded from the small, upper chute or even manually dropped into a hole in the roof of the house

I’m guessing that it was originally planned to be a round-trip accessory. That plan got scrapped due to the limitations of the solenoid action but they kept the elements and made them decorative simply because they already had them incorporated into the design and it jazzed up the otherwise simplistic structure

Last edited by graz

OK, let's play 'pretend'...

Pretend the small town on your layout doesn't have a BIG ice-making facility to dispense cubes directly onto a l-o-n-g platform at refrigerator car roof height, from which workers load several mechanical reefer bins simultaneously...as might have happened in a large midwest metropolis railroad yard servicing your UP Big Boy pulling a coast-to-coast perishables manifest of, oh say, 100 cars...a facility patterned after Atlas's Ice House and Loading Platform kits.

So, let's say this small town wants to provide refrigerator car icing service for emergencies, ...or the pride of your town, a craft beer brewery that's just been discovered by the rest of the country, demand growing daily.  But to ice the reefer or two, we need to use the ice made by...Union Ice Company...in the neighboring town, not trackside (off the layout, down the road, two left turns of the imagination).

So the town erects this minimal icing station...by Lionel...conveniently placed on a siding or on the mainline at the edge of town.  Every so often the Union Ice truck...

ice truck

...pulls up to the side of the loading station (the bottom chute), delivers its load of large cubes for the reefers, the imaginary conveyer (Aided by the Huge Hand of Heaven!) lifts the cubies up the chute and into the dispensary house atop the platform, and stoic Steve, the cube pusher, rhythmically starts to load the awaiting reefer...of beer...or kumquats...or whatever the imagination warrants.

Acrowd applause

Who would've thought that such an amazing toy could create so much excitement in Yourville!?!?!

KD

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Last edited by dkdkrd

It is interesting to contemplate what Lionel could have done.  It would not have been that difficult to create an ice car that would have dispensed ice cubes in a way similar to how the milk car worked.  Those cubes could have then been carried up the lower ramp by motorized paddles which would then push them onto the upper ramp and prevent them from sliding back again.  The upper ramp then could flip up to load the ice house as the current icing station does.  It would have been the icing equivalent to the 97 coal loader and it probably would have worked about as well.

I have contemplated cannibalizing parts from a couple of Lionel icing stations to make something which look more realistic.  I am not sure it even would need to load ice into the cars.  Just having moving figures might be enough.

Last edited by Bill N

My icing station is a favorite of the Grandkids.  They love loading the cubes and watching it operate.  It's been sitting on an undecorated area of my layout for years.  Recently I added scenery at ground level.  I added some ice workers sawing ice blocks and moving the sawed ice with tongs or a spear.  I scattered some ice shavings around.  There's an ice vending box and an ice delivery truck. and a lamp to illuminate the scene.  There is also an EZ Street Ice Delivery Van which operates on a Back & Forth.

I've also always wondered about what the chute that goes down to platform level with the glued-in ice blocks was meant to convey from Lionel's perspective (not the purpose of what the glued-in bocks were for as that's obvious).  I ended up thinking along the lines of what dkdkrd imagines above, except in reverse, where the icing station services both refrigerated freight cars and trucks that transport perishable goods.  But unless anyone's been able to interview the original designers of that accessory, it's all conjecture. ¯\_( ͡❛ ͜ʖ ͡❛)_/¯

Last edited by John Korling

I'm gonna stick with the theory that the platform- (or loading dock-) level thing is a conveyor to bring the ice (delivered by the Union Ice Co. truck) up to the top of the facility, where it can be easily pushed into the reefers. The shape of the scoop at the bottom implies that aim is not critical, as the blocks of ice are unloaded from the truck. The scoop shape allows near misses to occur. Anyone who has ever tried to aim a 1000 pound block of ice will tell you that it's almost impossible to get it into a narrow scoop easily, without some jockeying around.

If the chute were designed to deliver ice to the loading dock, how did the ice get to the facility in the first place? Additionally, can you imagine the safety issues that would arise if gravity were used to let the blocks come down to the dock? Oh, the humanity!!!

Obviously the union members of the Union Ice Co, complained to the bosses, who had the company facilities manager design a widened  hopper to allow easier operations, without cussin' and smashed toes. The Union Ice Co. is an employee-owned company, and safety and efficiency issues are handled without the usual unfortunate adversarial relationship that all too often typifies the worker-management relationship.

"Oh yeah??? Well, tu quoque right back atcha, pal!!!"

Last edited by Arthur P. Bloom

I'm gonna stick with the theory that the platform- (or loading dock-) level thing is a conveyor to bring the ice (delivered by the Union Ice Co. truck) up to the top of the facility, where it can be easily pushed into the reefers. The shape of the scoop at the bottom implies that aim is not critical, as the blocks of ice are unloaded from the truck. The scoop shape allows near misses to occur. Anyone who has ever tried to aim a 1000 pound block of ice will tell you that it's almost impossible to get it into a narrow scoop easily, without some jockeying around.

If the chute were designed to deliver ice to the loading dock, how did the ice get to the facility in the first place? Additionally, can you imagine the safety issues that would arise if gravity were used to let the blocks come down to the dock? Oh, the humanity!!!

Obviously the union members of the Union Ice Co, complained to the bosses, who had the company facilities manager design a widened  hopper to allow easier operations, without cussin' and smashed toes. The Union Ice Co. is an employee-owned company, and safety and efficiency issues are handled without the usual unfortunate adversarial relationship that all too often typifies the worker-management relationship.

"Oh yeah??? Well, tu quoque right back atcha, pal!!!"

applause

...

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Where I grew up the ice harvesting and storage was down by the lake.  Ice loading stations were up by the rail yard which was where the produce plants were.  So the ice was hauled up from storage when needed.

The old saying was, don’t mess with anyone from the “ice house gang”, which was headquartered down by the lake

I have a UPS loading station, which is a copy of the icing station design, except the ice cubes are light brown boxes. The UPS boxcar opens in the middle top when the station worker loads a package into the boxcar. Not prototypical, however based on complaints about broken packages recently on this forum, it may actually be how our train orders are handled.

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