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N Scale - Atlas - 40981 - Open Hopper, Ore Car, 70 Ton - Duluth Missabe & Iron Range - 28921

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N Scale - Atlas - 40981 - Open Hopper, Ore Car, 70 Ton - Duluth Missabe & Iron Range - 28921 Image Courtesy of Atlas Model Railroad


Brand Atlas
Stock Number 40981
Original Retail Price $16.95
Manufacturer Atlas
Image Provider's Website Link
Body Style Atlas Open Hopper Ore Car 70 Ton
Prototype Open Hopper, Ore Car, 70 Ton (Details)
Road or Company Name Duluth Missabe & Iron Range (Details)
Reporting Marks DMIR
Road or Reporting Number 28921
Paint Color(s) Brown with Yellow Lettering
Paint Scheme Safety First
Coupler Type AccuMate Magnetic Knuckle
Wheel Type Injection Molded Plastic
Wheel Profile Small Flange (Low Profile)
Body Material Plastic
Release Date 2012-05-01
Item Category Rolling Stock (Freight)
Model Type Open Hopper
Model Subtype Ore
Model Variety 70 Ton
Prototype Region North America
Prototype Era Era III: Transition (1939 - 1957)
Scale 1/160



Model Information: This model was first produced by Atlas in 1969 in their New Jersey facility with 4 road names at $1.50 each. The model was produced with nickel-silver plated wheels and Rapido truck-mounted couplers. The model was re-released in 1975 with 6 new road names at $2.50 each. More road names were added in 1976 and 1977 and the price was dropped to $2.00 per car. Due to popularity of this car for modeling freight yards, mines and long unit-trains (I recently saw a collection of 200 of these cars), it has been released over and over by Atlas. Later production runs wer moved to China sometime in the 1990s.

Prototype History:
The bottom-dump ore car was developed in the late 1930s for use by Lake Superior ore railroads. It is a highly specialized railcar, measuring only 24 feet long and having a capacity of 70 to 80 tons. The 24 foot lenght was designed to be compatible with the 12 foot pocket spacing of the gravity-fed ore docks and the 12 yo 24 foot hatch spacing of the Great Lakes ore-carrying ships. These cars discharge into every other pocket.

The first 70 ton cars came to the DM&IR in 1937. 70 ton cars (with taconite extensions) are still in use today on DM&IR (CN) although they are getting pretty worn out. BN built new taconite cars in the 70's to replace the 70 ton NP and GN cars.

Road Name History:
The DM&IR was born in 1937 with the merger of the Duluth Missabe & Northern and the Spirit Lake Transfer Railway. The DM&N had leased the Duluth & Iron Range since 1930 and both were owned by United States Steel. The D&IR was absorbed by the DM&IR in 1938.

The DM&IR ran from the twin ports of Duluth and Superior on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border at the tip of Lake Superior, and Two Harbors, Minnesota north and northwest into the Vermilion and Missabe Ranges of northeast Minnesota. Total mileage was 357. Several of the mainlines are double track and DM&IR operated them with left-hand running. The majority of DM&IR traffic over the decades has been iron ore.

Because DM&IR has traditionally had the heaviest average trains in the nation, their steam fleet had some real monsters. 2-8-8-4 Yellowstones were the biggest. Single Yellowstones were regularly assigned to pull 18,000 ton ore trains on some of the flatter districts. Their biggest yard switchers were 0-10-0’s. DM&IR was the last of the US Steel railroads to dieselize (in 1959) so as the other roads in the US Steel family dieselized, they sent the cream of their steam fleets to the DM&IR. Mikados came from EJ&E. Bessemer & Lake Erie sent their huge Texas-type 2-10-4’s and the Union Railroad sent their 0-10-2’s. That’s not a typo, they had 0-10-2’s. They were used to replace older mallets in pusher service then ended their careers switching the ore docks.

DM&IR dieselized with SD9’s (running short hood forward), SD18’s and ultimately SD38’s. They were one of a handful of Class One railroads to get through the transition era without ever buying cab unit. The SD38 has just 2000 horsepower but has nearly the same tractive effort as an SD40 at low speeds. Many roads bought them to shove trains over the crest in hump yards, but three of the US Steel railroads used them for low speed road service. By the mid-70s, DM&IR had 98 diesels. Many years later, DM&IR was one of the roads to buy rebuilt former SP Tunnel Motors.

Raw iron ore was hauled in 70 ton 24’ long ore cars. The same cars with extension boards are used to haul Taconite. Taconite is low grade ore that is crushed to dust, then combined with bentonite clay and rolled into little balls. It’s less dense than raw ore, doesn’t require further grading, and resists freezing to the cars. This allows all-rail movement of taconite to the steel mills when the Great Lakes freeze over. In the 70s, DM&IR began draw-barring sets of 4 ore cars together which saved on brake hose failure and lowered the tare weigh

t somewhat. They referred to these sets as “mini-quads.” US Steel transferred B&LE and DM&IR to a subsidiary called Transtar. In 2001, the Transtar roads were sold to Great Lakes Transportation. In 2004, DM&IR and B&LE were sold to Canadian National.

Brand/Importer Information:
In 1924 Stephan Schaffan, Sr. founded the Atlas Tool Company in Newark, New Jersey. In 1933 his son, Stephan Schaffan, Jr., came to work for his father at the age of sixteen. Steve Jr. built model airplanes as a hobby and frequented a local hobby shop. Being an enterprising young man, he would often ask the owner if there was anything he could do to earn some extra spending money. Tired of listening to his requests, the hobby-store owner threw some model railroad track parts his way and said, "Here, see if you can improve on this".

In those days, railroad modelers had to assemble and build everything from scratch. Steve Jr. created a "switch kit" which sold so well, that the entire family worked on them in the basement at night, while doing business as usual in the machine shop during the day.

Subsequently, Steve Jr. engineered the stapling of rail to fiber track, along with inventing the first practical rail joiner and pre-assembled turnouts and flexible track. All of these products, and more, helped to popularize model railroading and assisted in the creation of a mass-market hobby. The budding entrepreneur quickly outgrew the limitations of a basement and small garage operation. Realizing they could actually make a living selling track and related products, Steve and his father had the first factory built in Hillside, New Jersey at 413 Florence Avenue in 1947. On September 30, 1949, the Atlas Tool Company was officially incorporated as a New Jersey company.

In 1985, Steve was honored posthumously for his inventions by the Model Railroad Industry Association and was inducted into the Model Railroad Industry Hall of Fame in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, Steve was nominated and entered into the National Model Railroad Association Pioneers of Model Railroading in 1995.

In the early 1990s, the Atlas Tool Company changed its name to Atlas Model Railroad Company, Inc.

Item created by: trainnut3500 on 2016-08-21 20:34:32. Last edited by gdm on 2018-04-14 10:35:20

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