Dream Layout: Given’s and Druthers

Givens & Druthers

  • Railroad: Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR
  • Scale/Gauge: Sn2 (two-foot gauge in 1:64 scale)
  • Era:  1912-1914 – First years of Maine Central Railroad control
  • Region:  Maine – Franklin County
  • Space: 22×32′ (700 sqft)
  • Mainline Radius:  36″ desired, 32″ acceptable
  • Turnout Min: #8 Mainline, consider #7 to industries
  • Governing Equipment: Forney’s #5, #6, #7, #8, #9.  Someday hope to have moguls, prairies and Eustis forney’s of the time.
  • Operations:
    • Trains:  Passenger, Mixed, Freight, Logging.  The SR&RL had a complex schedule of meets at strong.
    • TT&TO operations with trains that operator over 5 or more towns. The passenger trains will set the rhythm for the railroad.
    • 10 man operations is the “Dream”, but I want to be able to operate solo.  If built in phases, I’d like to support 3-4 man operations with first phase.
  • Train lengths, siding lengths and grades should align
    • 10-12 cars on SR between Farmington and Phillips (1-2% max)
    • 8 cars on F&M and P&R (2% max)
    • 6 cars on F&M (K&DR) between Kingfield and Bigelow (2-3% max)
    • Doubling the hills is acceptable for longer trains.  The prototype did it in several locations.
    • I need to test locos and grades!
  • Design Style
    • Single Pass – Some call this sincere (but I do not like that term).   Basically it means that  train only passes through a scene once.  Track does not un-prototypically look back through a scene.
    • Shelf Style – Most of layout should be narrow shelves only 12-16″ wide.  Major towns and yards might widen to 24-30″ if required.
    • Single level prefered
    •  Limited Double Deck – I do not like two decks visible at same time.  I’m willing to have some amounts, where the decks are narrow and trains are passing through simple scenes.  But I can not accept every major terminal being viewed in multiple deck situation.  Likewise I do not want to deal with multiple operators in the same space.
    • Mushroom is acceptable – I like the mushroom concept to save space.  I’m willing to have some grades and have the railroad at non-optimal heights to gain a sufficiently long run.
    • No Helix – Takes up to much space and time to cycle up.  The short 4-6′ trains of an Sn2 SR&RL means the operator would go a long time without seeing any part of his/her train.   A helix is more acceptable for longer trains, there the operator can see the end of the train moving well after the engines have entered the helix.
    • Provision for continuous run – Highly desireable
    • 36″ aisle width prefered, 30″ minimum with 28″ absolute at pinch points
    • Duck under to enter the room allowed but higher the better
    • Social space in the layout room.  I want a place to congregate and talk about the layout or trains, while in the presence of the railroad (see continuous run desire).  I’ll admit, that during op-sessions social space should be outside the layout room.
    • Valance is nice, but not required.   Good even lighting is desired.
    • Fascia should curve, continuous, no angles
    • Avoid long tunnels
    • Ability to follow trains without having to walk around a peninsula

Desired Elements (Scenes/Town/Yards)

  • Farmington – The interchange to the Maine Central (MEC).  Consists of 3 primary yards.
    • The lower (south) yard is where the station and turntable are located.  It contains the signature crossing between standard gauge and 2-foot gauge.  The lower yard is mandatory to representing Farmington.
    • The middle and upper yards contained runaround tracks transfer tracks between narrow and standard gauge.  Either the lower or upper yard is required for operation, as the lower yard does not have a runaround track.  Operation of the standard gauge is not required, it could be static.
  • Scenes along the Sandy River (SR) between Farmington and Strong
    • Baker Stream Covered Deck Bridge – covered bridges are signature to New England, and the SR&RL had two in 1912.  Baker stream’s was a covered deck bridge.  Most covered bridges were thru, not deck, so this bridge is unique.
    • Between Farmington and Strong were 3-4 flag stops, some having spurs, but no passing sidings.  It would be nice to include one of these flag stops.
  • Strong – The junction point where the F&M main departed the SR and headed for Kingfield.  Passenger trains met here.
    • The main station area (depot, freight house, turntable, engine house  ball signal) are required.  This was all on a bend.
    • The toothpick mill & clearing house are required
    • To the south, the cannery and apple barrel roll over are optional or can be highly compressed.  But the highway underpass is highly desired.
  • On the F&M between Strong and Farmington
    • There were a few other locations, none are specifically required.  But to do the F&M right at least one should be included, most likely Salem, as it has the passing siding.
    • Kingfield flat road underpass – 3 span girder bridge
  • Kingfield – An industrious town that once was the end of the F&M line.  It had  lots of switching at the turning mills, engine facilities, and offers interesting operations because the covered depot is at the end of a 1/4 mile spur.  Most crews operating on the F&M started and ended their days at Kingfield.
    • Station Area – The covered depot, turntable, engine house are all required.  The paint shop and Winter store are optional.
    • F&M yard on the spur to the station is optional, but the turning mill is required for operations.
    • K&DR yard on the main to Bigelow is option (but either the F&M or K&DR yard is required, as they have the only runarounds for freight locos).  The sawmill is optional but the extension to the turning mill is required.
    • Junction Switch – Water plug, passenger car barn and coal shed are all required.  The switch is where the 1/4 mile spur want to the station.
  • Between Kingfield and Bigelow there was much interest on the F&M (K&DR)
    • Logging Scenes between Kingfield and Bigelow – There were a number of loading locations for both logs and pulp wood
    • One of the bridges over the Carrabassett river
    • Running along the Carrabassett River.
    • Carrabassett had a covered depot, freight house, and boarding house.  In 1912-14 it was not much more than a logging camp.
  • Bigelow:  Bigelow was home to a large sawmill.  It generated significant traffic on the line.  Bigelow was the end of the F&M line.
    • Yard – The main yard is required to represent Bigelow, as it contains the depot, freight houses,  and engine house   I’ve already built a free-mo module of rhe Bigelow yard, so it is a must include on the dream layout.
    • Sawmill yard – The large sawmill had several tracks.  I plan to extend my free-mo module to include the yard and hope to incorporate both into the layout.
  •  Scenes along the SR between Strong and Phillips.
    • Porter Brook Bridge – is nice to have
    • Dickey Bridge – I already have a model of this bridge/scene from my old layout
    • General farm country
    • To my knowledge, no intermediate depots existed.
  • Phillips consisted of several yards and scenes…
    • Salmon Hole Bridge – This bridge is a must, to mark the south entrance to Phillips.  I have a representation on a free-mo module, so a must include (hopefully the module will fit, but if not the bridge is removable.
    • International Mill (Clothes Pin factory) and yard – This concrete block structure is highly desired.  It is a contrast to the all the wood structures in main.  This siding and spurs on the south end of town seem interesting   I’m not sure how the siding was used.  I think it existed to alleviate congestion within the main yard.
    • Main Yard – This yard was laid out on a 90 degree curve, with the depot promptly at the middle and the SR&RL’s main shops opposite.  In 1912-14 the shops were brick and there were 10 stalls to the engine house.  As a compromise it 5 stalls could be built (representing the early 1900 version, before expansion to 10)
    • Paint Shop & Car Shed – The area between the yard and covered bridge contained a paint shop and a car shed.  This section of Phillips does not interest me much…
    • Covered Bridge – This bridge is a skewed thru-truss arch bridge will a pier in the middle.  It is nearly 36″ in S-scale.  I’ve had 30″ long mockups of it on my previous layouts.  If build, it would be a crowed pleaser.   If modeling Phillips, I consider it a must have.
    • Old Stone Fort – The P&R had a yard on the north side of the covered bridge.  I do not see reason to model this or the Stone Fort (Stone engine house that never got built).
  • P&R to Rangeley was interesting.  The were many location, several branches and much more.  However, it was mostly logging and saw milling.  If modeling the F&M (K&DR), modeling the P&R seems redundant.
  • Rangeley & Marbles – Marbles is a signature location and the terminus of the SR&RL (P&R line), one I’d like to model….However, modeling it without modeling 2-3 locations between Phillips and Rangeley seems uncomfortable…As such I’m devalued it and decided to value Bigelow and the F&M more….
    • Rangeley Yard – Include depot, turntable, and engine house
    • Marbles – Lake front track, stone depot with turret, boats in water – Marbles is the must have scene, Rangeley yard simply supports

Commentary – Concerns and Mitigation

  • Motive Power – Currently only 5 SR&RL locomotives exist in Sn2.  To support full SR&RL operation I’d need 4-6 more locomotives.  These will have to be scratch built.  While I think I can do that, right now is not the time (I want to enjoy my family).  So the mitigation is to build in phases, such that the current fleet is sufficient and to assign existing locos to non-prototype assignments.
  • Sufficient distance between major locations – All of my favorite locations above were major nodes (terminals) on the SR&RL system.  It would be easy to fit each of them within a layout, but I think such a layout would feel “empty” during operating sessions because trains would go directly from one terminal to the next.  I think it is best to reduce the number of major locations and extend the distances between the terminals, this will result in a more enjoyable layout to operate and a simpler one to build.
  • Other Model Railroading Interests – I’ve been captivated by other modeling – Industrial Shortlines such as Lance Mindheim, or James McNab.  I’m also inspired to model something closer to home such as the I&O, Eggleston Street trackage in Cincy, B&O through Washington Ct. House, or DT&I.  The mitigation is to build in phases, so that I have time and space to pursue these dreams if the whim hits
  • My family – time with my son is going to go away…He’ll only be 8, 9, or 10 once.  I want to enjoy those years with him.  I’ll have plenty of time to be a model railroader when he is not around as much…I like my wife too, so plan to keep her as a priority too…
  • Live Steam – My father is a live steamer, as was my grandfather.  My dad is 79.  I’m not sure how many years we have left together.  I have a great opportunity to enjoy his hobby with him and consider if I want live steam as a hobby of my own.  Again, I want to leave time for that too…
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