Minnesota Commercial Railroad

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Welcome to the Minnesota Commercial Railroad (MNNR). The MNNR is an industrial switching railroad which began operation over the former Minnesota Transfer trackage in 1986. It provides service throughout the greater Twin Cities metro area. The Commerish as it is called is famous for its unique motive power which includes locomotives from Alco, Montreal Locomotive Works, EMD and GE. It is still running the last operable Alco RS-27. A medium sized yard and engine facility is maintained in the Midway District near the border of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. From there, multiple lines extend to various portions of the Twin Cities.

My layout models two lines of the MNNR; the Hiawatha Ave line (ex CP, nee SOO, nee Milwaukee Road) which primarily served adjacent grain and flour mills. The second line is the Hennepin Ave line which serves various industries in NE (aka Nordeast) Minneapolis. The layout replicates the industries of both lines within the portions modeled with operations replicating those of the actual railroad (albeit selectively compressed). The years I model allow me to run the Hiawatha line either with CP (i.e., ex-SOO line) power (through late 1997) or MNNR power after that time. I include Schreier Malting's switcher which services that industry's elevator shunting inbound loads of barley and outbound loads of malted barley. A unique feature of the layout is the layering of one line over the other on a long self. This allows for maximum use of my available space. Operations are out and back from hidden staging to switching districts as per the real railroad. Operation sessions involve running two trains per each line plus the Schreier switcher. Operators can change jobs after the first trains are run.

Construction on the layout began in the fall of 2019. The layout is fully operational. Scenery is in the process of being completed.

Superintendent Dan Dossa
Division or Location: Minneapolis, MN
Interchange Railroads: UP, CP, CN, BNSF
Size of Railroad: 15' bi-level shelf layout. Width varies.
Scale: HO
Era: 1995-2002
Control System: Digitrax
Scale Clock Speed: N/A
Length of Session: 2 1/2 hours
Number of Crew: 2-3
Train Control: Yard Limit Rules
Are Radios Required: No
Listed Jobs: Job 17 (Hiawatha Ave Job, SE Minneapolis); Schreier Malting Switcher (works with Job 17); Job 52 (Hiawatha Ave Job, Nordeast Minneapolis)
Accessibility: Two steps to enter home. Carpeted double railed steps downstairs to layout.
Distance from hotel: 16 miles
Estimated travel time from hotel: 21 minutes
Web Site: {None...yet}
Pets: One cat

Layout Photos (click to enlarge):

Nokomis Mill on the Hiawatha line on the layout
Nokomis Mill on the Hiawatha line in South Minneapolis. Photo by Dan Dossa.

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