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Builders photo of DMIR ore car # 31016, class U-29 from 1951, manufactured by the Pullman-Standard company.

In the late 1920’s the Duluth, Missabe, and Iron Range Railroad (DMIR) begin to receive modern style Minnesota ore cars that, with little innovation, were constructed in the thousands over the next fifty years.  Nicknamed ‘Jennies’ these distinctive railcars became icons of the Upper Great Lakes region with some of the earliest examples remaining in service as of 2011.


As high-quality raw ore was depleted, and with the passage of the taconite amendment in 1963, the Upper Great Lakes mining industry was refocused toward processed products such as taconite pellets.  Starting in 1965 many DMIR ore cars were retro-fitted with 9 ¾” extensions to increase cubic capacity to accommodate the less dense pellet products.  Higher extensions were initially tried but abandoned in favor of the smaller – mini – versions to reduce overloading at the mines. Some of the higher sided extensions are still used in special consists that service the Thunderbird or ‘T-bird’

mine.  To reduce switching and service time the cars were grouped into ‘quads’ of 4 that were permanently coupled through the use of drawbars.  These mini-quads consisted of two inner cars with drawbars and permanently attached hoses, and two outer cars with both a drawbar and knuckle coupler connection with standard hoses.

Mini-quad (outer car), class U-30, from 1979. Note the lack of the DMIR reporting marks, original style A3 trucks, and the reflective paint material on the outer post of the car. This photo is copyright protected and belongs to the Missabe Historical Society - http://www.missabe.com.

MissabeRoad.com is proud to present 3-dimensional models of these Great Lakes icons for the game Trainz.

A.S.F Ride Control Trucks

Each uses a custom A.S.F. Ride Control A3 truck/bogey meant to represent DMIR trucks as they would appear from the time roller bearings were installed (early 1980’s) until the present era.

These DMIR versions have

Missabe reporting marks engraved on the outside of the frames, along with the inside/outside of the wheels.  In terms of functionality the the A3 truck asset has animated wheels with the tread color appearing as bare, shiny metal.

The Journal boxes for the outside wheel appear centered on the outer edge of the ore car deck.


Figure 14 Custom texture for DMIR rebuilt ASF A3 Ride Control trucks as commonly seen on the prototype.


It is protypical for the wheels to extend well beyond the edge of the outer deck and indeed this forms a distinctive feature of ‘Minnesota’ style cars.  I have added an Auran generic wheel-sound which can be disabled in Content Creator Plus if desir

ed.  A3 trucks have both diffuse and normal or ‘bump’ mapping with three levels of detail (LOD).  The trucks can be downloaded for free using the button below



In terms of the models I am initially offering a pack of both mini-quad and low-sided cars as they would appear in the last decade or so.

DMIR Mini-quad ore cars



The mini-quad cars consist of three related assets and represent low-sided cars that were converted in the mid 1960’s with 9 ¾ (mini) extensions for taconite service in the modern era.  Drawn from class U-27 – U-31 cars they represent some of the new hoppers having been constructed from 1949-the late 1950’s.  As of 2011 these cars are still being used but in the process of being phased out by the brand new 70000 series hoppers just commisioned by Canadian National.  The Mini-quads use rebuilt A3 trucks, along with newer 70 ton S2 trucks (will be forthcoming) and ‘Orinoco’ style double hose systems.

As created here each quad is represented by two distinct assets:

Inner quad

that comes equipped with drawbars on each side of the car instead of couplers and two single rather then double hose connections.


Outer quad

that comes equipped with a drawbar and associated hose connection on one side and a coupler and separate hose connection on the other.  On the prototype each mini-quad is marked by reflective material on the two outer posts of the outer car and this is also present on the model.

When you assemble the mini-quad in surveyor it is necessary to alternate one outer quad with the reflective post on the outside (you may have to flip the car ), followed by two inner quads, and another outer quad, then repeat the procedure.  Only the couplers on the outer car will mate with other assets (including the low-sided hoppers) and at the time of this writing there are no other assets available with prototypical high hoses.

Damaged Car

The extensions are fragile and it is common to see bent, smashed or otherwise damaged examples.  I have included an inner quad with a crunched extension to represent a damaged car.  It is setup with Chameleon and if you include a couple of these in an orecar and alternate the sides the consist they will look more prototypical.

Texture Schemes

Using Chameleon the game will randomally select between eight unique weathering and lettering schemes ranging from bright red to black.  In general the cars in each mini-quad are more similar then their neighbors.  Photos of mini-quad consists clearly show lighter and darker quad groups in the same consist.  To make a more protypical string it is necessary to adjust the coloring of the consists using each cars CCP.


Low-sided Cars

This model represents a non-extension (low-sided) ore hopper as used by the DMIR for taconite, iron ore, and fluxstone in the modern period.  Drawn from Class U-23-26 models these cars are some of the oldest examples in the DMIR fleet having been constructed starting in the mid-1940’s for WWII ore production.  At the time of this writing (2011) these cars are being phased out of production and scrapped by Canadian National.  These low-sided hoppers use rebuilt A3 trucks and updated ‘Orinoco’ double air hose systems.  They are most commonly used as buffers on the lead/end of mini-quad or T-Bird mine consists to reduce damage from coupler slack.  Many are also being leased/sold to other Great Lakes railways and are sometimes seen in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Unlike the mini-quad models modern low-sided hoppers are still painted in the earlier steam-era dark brown paint scheme though the DMIR herald and other information has been either painted-out or obscured by weathering.  In the modern period these cars were renumbered to a 60000 series classification.  The prototypes for these cars look uniformally heavily weathered and well-used with an overall color ranging from dark brown to black.  In all examples the herald and other information from earlier lettering schemes is clearly visible through the grime and later over-paintings.

Texture Schemes

Using Chameleon the game will choose between six weathering schemes ranging from dark/clean to light/dusty.  Prototype photos show much variation between cars on the same consist so no adjustmets in the car CCP is necessary to make a prototypical string.

You can learn more about the DMIR ore car models by reading the manual for the cars posted here



And you can purchase the cars by going to my payware page here



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