Ore mine and mill complex part 2

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Glen Haasdyk, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Okay, I'm starting to figure out a plan for my oremine/mill complex but I need one question answered. What was the processed ore transported in? Was it in an ore car, gondola or something else? Right now I've simply got and ore tipple ar the mine site with shorty ore cars that run up my switchback to it, would I stick with that?

    Anyway here's the area that I'm working with:

    I have 3" from the rock face to the mine siding and 6" to the main track. I'm thinking of building a complex that would go over the mine siding and run a 45 degree angle up to the cliff (like the Grandt line mine). Any ideas?
  2. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Glen go to http://photoswest.org/ and typ in mining in the search box many of the mines in colorado had the same problem as you .BTW still looking through mags havent found a plans like the one you pictured yet :)
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member


    A lot depends on era being modeled and the density (weight per cubic ft) of the ore. Prior to about 1890, ore would be carried in gondolas. Heavier ore would be put in shorter cars with more truss rods.

    Around 1890, dump bottoms started coming into use - CP had a couple of standard designs - and short wooden ore cars came into being. Steel underframes led to development of longer lasting, and higher capacity steel ore cars, first starting around 1900. 3 bay hoppers were developed for less dense ores such as coal. Meanwhile iron ore haulers in Minnesota continued to use traditional short single bay ore cars because of the weight of the ore.

    Is your logging/mining area HOn3 or standard gauge?

  4. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I've modeling the late fifties with some artistic liecense in the logging/ mining area. The line going to and past the mine is standard guage. It teminates about 1 1/2' past the mine where I'm putting in a log transfer to go from HOn3 to HO guage
  5. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Thanks for all your help. I've started building a complex that will stretch out over the mine siding and go up about 1" above the mine shaft shown. (I put the shaft in as I built the mountainside) I already cut some on the rockwork out at the base to fit. I'll post pictures as photo developing will allow.
  6. nachoman

    nachoman Guest


    I think Fred nailed it. It depennds on what is being mined. Metal ores can be very heavy, so small cars are typical up to modern. I have seen difco dump cars (like the walther's model) being used in some of the open pit copper mines in the west.

    I have done some research on this subject myself, and if I am wrong about any of this info, i welcome corrections :) When ore is hauled out of a shaft (or pit) plenty of other worthless rock must be removed as well. This extra rock is usually dumped somewhere near the shaft. From there, the ore goes to some kind of mill and concentrator. The mill grinds up the ore, and the concentrator concentrates the valuable part and removes the unwanted part. I think the mill/concentrator is the kind of building you are thinking of. From the concentrator, the ore is then smelted, to its nearly pure metal form.

    How the material is transported amond the diferent facets of the process depends... Ideally, all 3 would be located near each other so that conveyors could be used. realistically, real estate in mining areas is less than suitable for large structures, so the smelter is usually placed somewhere where there is flat ground. Concentrators are often placed along the side of a hill so that gravity can help with the process. The ore goes in the top, the concentrated ore out the bottom.

    i think you have as much freedom as you want modeling such an industry because 1) few know how it actually works, and won't know the difference and 2) it seems like every mining district does it differently. But, should you have the space, you may think about trying to model a smelter, even as some kind of corner industy or background flat. I would think smelters are located as close to mines as possible, to save the cost of shipping all the extra weight of the unwanted material (an ore may be only a few percent by weight of the desired metal)

    I think model railroader ran a series of articles about leadville colorado mining back around 1990.

  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The other consideration about smelter location is that it requires tremendous quantities of coal, which may not be located conveniently to the ore deposit. It also requires a lot of labour, and they may not be willing to locate up in the hills.
    Can anyone confirm my thought that most smelters would be attached to a steel mill so that the metal could be processed before it colls down too much?
    there are two reasons for the short ore cars: the weight of the ore and that they have to fit on ore docks that were built for short cars. I think that some lines that don't load onto ships may run bigger cars.
  8. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Okay, I've figured out that I'm building a small concentrator complex attached to the mine shaft out the back. I'll be shipping the ore out using the shorty ore cars and down to the docks on the other side of the layout. Since it's a small branchline operation I figure I can get away with not building an ore dock and just unload the ore at the docks using a steam shovel or something like that.
  9. Drew1125

    Drew1125 Active Member

    Great scene, Glen!
    Got any more pix?
    :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  10. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

  11. jasonboche

    jasonboche Member

    Where did you get those trees? They look identical to the home made ponderosa pines on our club layout.

  12. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I scratchbuilt the trees myself. I used cedar for the trunks and caspia for the branches. After attaching the caspia I applied woodland scenics fine green ground foam to the branches to fill them out a little. I've got alot more to build in the future, considering I'm putting in a logging area!
  13. jasonboche

    jasonboche Member

  14. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    Yeah I can definetly see the resemblance! I got my tree recipe from an old John Olson book 'Building an HO railroad with personality' it was printed from an article series in the early eighties but I still find the senery methods are really good.
  15. pjb

    pjb Member

    Product defines transport vehicle & Smelting

    Firstly smelting applies to nonferrous matals and as such
    had nothing to do with iron and steel production. In the
    pre-"Industrial Revolutionary" epoch (that has nothing to
    do with model railroads<or real ones>) there were occasions
    when forges and smelters were proximate- due to the demand
    for hydraulic power to operate hammers, bellows, and
    assist in crane work. This was most notable in the Iberian
    peninsula , where it helped indirectly in creating the
    Spanish infantry that mopped up eveyone in Medieval and
    Renaissance time. It also concentrated agricultural
    and other processing (e.g.leather, textiles, brick making)
    in many cases at places where falling water could
    be harnessed.
    Trains and canals made it possible to free most of the
    constituent activities found in these agglomerations
    at water power sites from their dependance upon
    hydrauiic power. The carbon needed as a chemical
    agent and fuel; used in refining metal also changed
    from a charcoal to coal basis and the distance it could
    be transported economically expanded as well due
    to the lowering of transport costs.

    There are many factors, some of
    which are reciprocal ( coal was available in massive
    quantities, at reasonable prices at the heads of
    lake at Duluth, Superior andThunder Bay because
    of the outbound grain and ore ships leaving those
    ports), and some unique, that concerns the location
    of industrial entities. This is not the place to expand
    the matter, but note that you did'nt find a copper
    smelter near a blast furnace or steel making
    plant because of some symbiosis, but if proximate: it
    was because of some intrinsic desirability of the
    Secondly, you do not specify what is being mined.
    Commonly , to reduce the cost of hauling gangue
    around on a railroad, mines dealing with precious
    metals, or wolframite,cinnabar,silver, and probably
    a few others, tried to eliminate the tare weight by
    crushing,and refining the ore to either a concentrate
    or a pure product. Gold and platinum group
    concentrates (and obviously metallic material )
    went in concentrate cars , express cars or box cars,
    that quite often had armed guards riding in caboose,
    baggage car , or some other part of the train.
    Curiously, ATHEARN's coffin pickle car(#1427 I think),
    shortened, lowered, and with truss rods applied
    would be a dead ringer for some concentrate cars.
    Needs different trucks, hardware, and so forth-
    but, curiously, I've never seen an article about
    such a conversion. Given the number of NG&SLG
    type model railroads around that is strange.

    Anyway, unless you are planning on cuperiferous
    mining or the like, there will not be many hopper loads
    of ore from the site. If you are concentrating
    gold say, the loads will be as mentioned. Besides
    the occassional load of mine props, and hardware
    inbound: the major inputs are mercury (which came
    as 75 lb. flasks in racks in box cars that were more
    or less dedicated to the service); and cyanide
    compounds that travelled pretty much barrelled
    in dedicated box cars (or under canvas in gondolas).
    You also need water piped to your facility, to be
    polluted by the activities taking place there. Many
    of the lines were of wooden staves held in place by
    iron bands (as in the steam loco water tanks you
    are familiar with) and supported by low trestle work
    going to the mill and concentrate plant.
    It is a curiosity that many prize winning models of
    stamp mills and flotation plants lack any waterlines
    bringing this major element in the process to the site.
    Be that as it may, I hope this has been helpful.
    Good-Luck, PJBi :thumb:
  16. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

  17. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    I had been considering ming copper, with the building being the mine and possibly a small stamp mill?
    Of course I'm just in this for fun, if I got really serious about the sizes and shapes of the buildings I'd have to start paying business taxes!
  18. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    Glen for your small mine just a smelter and some bee hive coak ovens would be all you need.
  19. zedob

    zedob Member

    Foundries like coke too, so if you have one of those you now have another customer, if you wanted.

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