Prototype Trackplan: Sn2 K&DR (Part 2: Prototype and Modeling Information)

F&M on Wikipedia
Provides basic history, maps and locations along F&M and K&DR

F&M on Brian Carter’s Maine 2-Footers Site
Provides basic history and locomotive information.

Too many to list here. Wikipedia page includes a number of them. Track planners, will find the following useful:

  • “Along the Sand River, A Pictorial Journey: Strong to Bigelow” by Peter S. Barney. Published by Quick Books (  I like this book because it includes photos, maps, and ICC information. These are a great starting point for the two foot modeler. As a bonus, they are spiral bound so easy to open and take to the workbench and or layout.
  • “Two-Foot Cyclopedia Volume 1: Kingfield” by Bill Jensen. This book contains maps, photos, and drawings of all major railroad and industrial structures of Kingfield. Gary Kohler enahanced the book by adding more images and bridge drawings when M2FQ reprinted. Neither version is currently in print.
  • “1916 ICC Evaluation Maps” available from National Archive or from M2FQ. For the detailed minded these are highly valuable (but not required), as they show every foot of the railroad as it existed in 1916.
  • “Sanborn Maps” available from various places. M2FQ once offered these too. These fire insurance maps only exist for locations that were insured for fire. Thus parts of Kingfield are included (Possibly Bigelow too)

The F&M Wikipedia site contains an overview of the K&DR, F&M, and SR&RL.  It’s the pleasure of the reader to research more.


Kingfield and Dead River Railroad Map (created from Wikipedia F&M map). Notice that the K&DR did have two short branches (Alder Stream and Hammond Field)

In general, the K&DR was a logging railroad. It transported logs from the many lands along the railroad to the sawmills at Bigelow and Kingfield. Pulpwood (cordwood) was transported to the turning mills in Kingfield or south to mills in Strong or Farmington.

The K&DR started in Kingfield. Actually 1/4 mile south of the Kingfield covered depot at the “Kingfield Switch”.  At that point the K&DR left the original F&M mainline, angling northwest.  Kingfield was an industrious; having two turning mills, a sawmill, and the railroad shops.

From Kingfield, the K&DR followed the Carrabasett River north to Bigelow. The railroad had to fight hard to get to Bigelow. It crossed the Carrabassett River twice, and fought grades of 4% (some say as high as 6%). At time the railroad is runs right along the river bank. Along the way, the railroad went through several logging camps and landings. Even Carrabasett was not much more than a camp. It did have a covered depot and post office. (it was not till much later that the Plywood mill was built at Carrabasett). The one exception was Huse, just north of Kingfield and had a turning mill. Bigelow was the end of the line and the location of a large Sawmill.

To me, there are three primary elements to capturing the K&DR well.

This string diagram shows the K&DR. All locations between Huse and Bigelow were logging camps or landings. The number before the location is kilometers from Strong. (The diagram comes from the F&M Wikipedia entry)

  1. Bigelow with it’s large Sawmill
  2. Mountainous railroad logging in the Carrabasett River valley, featuring bridges and log landings
  3. Civilization of Kingfield with painted clapboard novelty mills and structures.

Capturing the contrast of these three aspects on a model railroad will show the full nature of the K&DR. Which is a microcozum of the larger SR&RL.



I’ve annotated this 1916 Railroad Evaluation Map of Bigelow to make it easier to identify my elements of interest. North is down. The arrow pointing to KF is the K&DR to Kingfield. Note that the 3-stall engine house is not shown on the map. The track layout is accurate but lack detail in the lumber yard.

Bigelow was the northern terminus of the K&DR.  It consists of two primary aspects. The main yard (turntable, enginehouse, depot, and freight houses) and the Sawmill (Mill and Lumber yard). Most modelers only model the main yard, probably because it is well photographed. However, the bulk of the operations were around the sawmill. So I think it is essential to include a representation of the boarding house, sawmill and lumber yard in a model of Bigelow.

Here is my list of highly desired elements:

  1. Depot (once a kit from PLW, now rights are owned by Mt. Blue)
  2. Freight house (south/east of depot)
  3. Turntable
  4. Section house (south/east of yard)
  5. Coal Shed/Bin
  6. Store/Boarding house and road
  7.  Sawmill
  8. Lumber yard
  9. Log Dump (It is not clear if this was dry or a pond or depended on year)

Nice to have elements:

  1. 3-Stall Engine House (it’s not clear if it was used much)
  2. 2nd Freight House

Anything else is bonus.

Mountainous Logging
I’d include a minimum of one Carrabasett River bridge. It is critical to include 2 log landings to generate log traffic to the Sawmill and turning mills. These can probably be free-lanced. Carrabasett with it’s covered Depot, Freight House and boarding house add an interest. However, I would not add Carrabasett at the expense of log landings. If Kingfield cannot be included, the Carrabasett would be nice to include for it’s covered depot.

Highly Desired Elements:

  1. Log loading (1-2 locations)
  2. Pulp (cord) wood loading (1-2 locations)
  3. A Carrabasett River Bridge

Nice to have elements:

  1. Passing Siding
  2. Carrabasett Covered Depot (soon to be offered by PLW)
  3. Covered Water Tank (such as White Birch Tank now offered by PLW)
  4. Carrabasett River running (roadbed along the river)
  5. Bridges, Cuts, Fills

Anything else is bonus


I’ve annotated this 1916 Railroad Evaluation Map of Kingfield to make it easier to identify my elements of interest. North is to the right. The line from Strong enters at lower left and the K&DR to Bigelow is to the upper right. Kingfield proper would be just off map to the lower left.

Kingfield was a sprawling industrial town. The railroad served two novelty mills and a sawmill. Additionall industries were near by. The railroad came in from the south, stopping just short of town. Actually it terminated in the at (in) the Wing General Store.

Highly Desired Elements:

  1. Junction Switch – To me, this is required to “operate like Kingfield”. The operation of a passenger train up the 1/4 mile branch to the covered depot, then backing out to the main and continuing on to Bigelow is a unique aspect of Kingfield and the K&DR.
  2. Water crane at Kingfield Switch
  3. Covered Depot
  4. Turntable (I’d be tempted to model the 1914 metal MEC version)
  5. Three-stall Engine house
  6. Two novelty mills with pulpwood stacks
  7. Coal Shed/Bin
  8. One freight yard area (runaround)

Nice to Have:

  1. Rear of Wing Store with track going inside
  2. Paint Shop
  3. Sawmill
  4. Passenger Car Shed

Anything else is bonus

I’m mostly familiar with 1912 version of the SR&RL (as that’s what I’ve studied). Mark Harris wrote a M2FQ (or M2FM) article about 1912 SR&RL passenger train operations. It is quite enlightening (At this years Midest NG SHow, Steve ???? gave a presentation about the same…Sadly I was not able to attend so I can not relay what he presented). Passenger train schedules are published in several of the SR&RL books should one want to research on their own. Also Gary Kohler of M2FQ publications can be contacted if your interested in purchasing copies of schedules. For the discussion of this layout, I’ll use my memory of the 1912 information rather than research a pre-consolidation K&DR. That’s a process for Gary to enjoy.

Each day, three trains went each way between Strong and Bigelow on the F&M/K&DR. That means a model of the K&DR could legitimately run six scheduled trains. Four of those trains were likely handled by a single passenger consist and the other two were a single mixed consist.

I do not know what frieght trains and log trains were run on the K&DR.  These would have been extra trains, so do not appear on printed schedules. With all the pulp wood and lumber moving on the K&DR, it’s hard to believe that a single mixed train was sufficient to move all of the frieght. It’s easy to image a that the mixed train handled “LCL” or light loads while a freight train handled heavier lumber and pulpwood movements. There is photo evidence of log trains entering Bigelow so it would seem logical to model those. It is quite likely that the freight and log trains operated at night, avoiding conflict with the passenger trains.  It would seem likely that no more than 2-3 trains would be moving on the K&DR at any given time.  Thus this fits Gary’s desire for 2 man operations.

On the SR&RL crews were assigned a locomotive for the day. Once could see modeling the following assignments:

  1. Passenger Engine/Train
  2. Mixed Engine/Train (this engine may perform lots of switching in Kingfield mills)
  3. Freight Engine/Train (work the heavy industries)
  4. Logging Engine/Train (work Bigelow lumber yard and make trips to log landings)

With the above assignments in mind one would need the following equipment

  1. Four engines (might get by with 3 if sharing between Mixed & Logging or Freight
  2. Three passenger cars (two for the passenger train and a combine for mixed)
  3. Two cabooses
  4. Various freight cars depending on industries and lengths of trains.

There is enough Sn2 equipment available to capture the feel of the K&DR of early 1900s. Admittedly no F&M engines exist in Sn2, nor 2-6-2’s, nor Eustis 0-4-4T’s, all of which worked the F&M. Still once can make a good start using the available locomotives.

  1. SR&RL #6 (imported by T&T) commonly ran the passenger trains after consolidation.
  2. SR&RL #9 or WW&F #7 could be a standin for a Eustis engine. Remove the pilot truck emphasize loco is a stand-in for a Eustis 0-4-4T locos.
  3. SR #1 was known to be on the F&M, working into the log camps. Possibly a SR&RL #5 or #7 from T&T could be a stand-in for SR #1.

The only SR&RL passenger car produced in Sn2, is a brass “Rangeley”. It is dreadfully heavy and lacks good trucks. Worse, it’s not likely it ever ran on the K&DR. Better standins might be the WW&F coach and combine once sold by Jerry Wilson. For that matter some old HO MDC 50′ cars might be good standins until accurate models can be built.

Mount Blue has produced SR&RL 556-558 cabooses. These could be used as is, or highly modified to create a more accurate model for the era modeled.

Many SR&RL freight cars have been produced, Not all are correct for a 1900-1910 railroad. But true F&M freight cars should not be that hard to build. Also PLW is starting to make F&M freight cars and hopefully all will be available in Sn2 too. One would have to scratch build the log bunks.

For anyone wanting to build an accurate K&DR of any period (in any scale) will have to be a scratch builder, so I do not expect a the prospect of scratch building a few freight cars and 3-4 passenger cars to be daunting. If willing to build 1-2 locos, this railroad could become 20 years to life!

Next Time:

Now that we have an understanding of the railroad.  Next time, I’ll share my concepts for the space.  These are CAD sketches used to examine options for the space.  I use these sketches similar to the way John Armstrong’s used squares.

This entry was posted in Bigelow, Kingfield, Layout Design. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Prototype Trackplan: Sn2 K&DR (Part 2: Prototype and Modeling Information)

  1. Pingback: Tom Sullivan’s On30 SR&RL Upper Deck – K&DR Again | Sn2 Modeler

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