Layout Construction – Mushroom Design

For years, I’ve been procrastinating on the build of my Dream Sn2 SR&RL layout. I’ve been in this house for 13 years….So I’d say I’ve been stalling for more this 8 years. Even as recent as last month I was considering alternatives such as Sn3 free-lanced Ohio (ala Paul Scoles-ish), S-scale Modern Standard Gauge or S-scale transition era. But non of those have invoked my passion. So I cracked, conceding to start the build on the Sn2 layout. My friends sensed my weakness and decided to continue pushing me.

Last Sunday 11/22/202 Chris and Phil came over to discuss the design.  They wanted drawings and cut lists so that we could begin the build of the mushroom.  These two have build hunted houses together, sheds, one has put roof’s on houses.  They fear no construction and can just do it.  After 3 hours of discussion, they went home and I drafted a section diagram.  This is the section as the Mushroom leaves the wall.  The diagram is looking back at the wall.

Mushroom Section Diagram. Not that there are three decks in total.

There were two sticking points when they left.  1) How to support the middle deck 2) how to stiffen the plywood from lower deck up to middle deck.  I solved both of the problems with standard shelving.  The shelf supports would stiffen the plywood, and the brackets would hold the middle deck.

The upper section on left is mounted to the wall on one end and the ceiling at the section point.  No diagram exists for either.  They were to be built as needed.

The backdrop on each level will be styrene (I still have nearly 200 feet of .060 from my last layout).  The plywood backing on the lower deck is 48″, so that it can be screwed into the leg for stiffness.

One other aspect no shown here is that there are two house support posts that are just inside the fascia point on the lower and middle decks and can be wrapped behind the upper deck.  The support design is lock into those posts to ensure the decks do not move nor lean.  I’ll post later on how I use pipe clamps connect the layout to the posts.


Posted in Layout Construction, Layout Design, The Dream | 2 Comments

3rd Sn2 SR&RL Layout – Tour

My 3rd SR&RL was more grand than the first and the second or first.  It reused the Strong, Philips and connecting trackage from the my first SR&RL.  Phillips was now an operating location trains passed through on their ways to Redington and onto the Rangeley staging yard.  Strong got built completely and continued on down to Farmington.  Farmington was highly compressed, but more than a staging yard but had sufficient number of tracks to switch.  There was a provision for the F&M to Kingfield (reversed) and on to Bigelow.  Starbirds trackwork got into place for switching and a module got built for Kingfield but never any trackwork.  This version even held operating sessions for the 2005 NMRA national convention.  The T&T large Forney’s were running for that event.  I had lots of fun working on this layout and had a layout construction group of friends.  Jim Stewart helped on lots on all three versions of the layout….I think he remembers most the two days in the spring of 2006 when we tore it down.

SR&RL Version #3. Strong and Phillips form the first SR&RL again appeared on this version. Strong got completed as did the trackage in Farmington and track through Phillips to Readington and onto Rangeley staging. The continuous loop got completed and Starbirds track was in place.

These are the same scenery sections used in the 1st SR&RL only viewed from the back. Salmon Hole bridge is at right, Dickey underpass is beyond and then to Strong beyond. Phillips would be to the left.

A more direct view of the Salmon Hole bridge and the fill leading to Phillips on the left.

The approach to Phillips as trains were on the outside of the backdrop. My Mt. Bike (I still have it) fit nicely under the layout.

Phillips is at right. The turntable might be in place along with the other tracks. There was a gap between the module and backdrop, but many could not see it because of the height of the railroad. Readington is the pink foam beyond Philips.  Rangeley staging yard (4 tracks that ended at a turntable) is to the left of Rangeley.  There was an approach that hinged up for the door, should I want to open it.  But that door was to the backyard so never did.  I had walk in access from the garage.

Here is Philips before the track was completed to Readington. The backdrops were styrene and hollow core doors were placed upright on edge to hold it up. The continuous run back into Strong went through the backdrop.

Rangeley staging under construction. The turnouts were condoled by slide switches mounted to the outside of the fascia. This control was used on all of the new sections of the layout. The turntable was at the end and had a slow motion motor without indexing.

I know there are better images of the layout.  I think I have some from the 2005 NMRA national convention op sessions.  I had about 100 visitors to the layout as I was on the LDSIG tour and the opsig tours.  I never got it fully running, but it was a fun and manageable project for a 34 year old man.

One more parting shot of a train crossing Salmon Hole bridge on it’s way to Strong.


Posted in Layout #3, Layouts | 2 Comments

2nd Sn2 SR&RL Layout – Tour

The second SR&RL Layout was short lived.  The first layout came down when I got married and moved in with my wife.  The second layout was started after we purchased our first home together.  This layout was only up long enough to have an NMRA division layout tour.  Then I started working on the 3rd version.  Only a few photos of the 2nd version exist along with a poor trackplan.

This plan reused Strong and Phillips sections from the 1st SR&RL. I got the outside continuous loop running. (sorry for the poor image)

The night before the NMRA Division visit I got the outside continuous loop running.  The tight fit of the inside loop and the fact that Phillips was reversed from Strong doomed this plan.  Looking back some 18 years later, I wish I’d rebuilt the first SR&RL again in the new home.  The reason being is that I could have spend time building structures and rolling stock to take to the next home.  Now these many years later I have little to add and nothing I’ve built on my own.  So there is good reason to keep it small.

The T&T Forney’s did not yet exist. Here is the Backwood Minitures 0-4-0 pulling a train on the approach to Salmon Hole Bridge

The Dickey bridge is the scenery in the background. The scenery was enhanced from the first SR&RL. The foam was put in place to complete the continuous run back into Strong.

The Phillips Covered Bridge Mockup.

Posted in Layout #2, Layouts | 2 Comments

Wiscassettesq – A dynamic Sn2 Free-mo design

This week there has been a renewed interest in Sn2 Free-mo on the Sn2_Trains list.  So I thought it would be timely to share an Sn2 Free-mo design I did back in 2014.

Back Story

The Sn2 Crew displayed a setup at the 2014 NMRA convention I met a fellow interested in building an Sn2 free-mo module.  Dan’s had an interest in water and the two footers.  He was will to build more than one module and indicated he had good wood working skills.

Dan did not know that much about the Maine two-footers I think he wanted to be apart of a group of fine modelers and the subject matter was not that critical.  As such, I freelanced a design for him that would be interesting and could grow as his interests grew.

Grand Vision

Wiscasettesq setup as a sweeping curve (12″ squares)

The grand plan called for 5 modules

  1. Yard – Similar to the upper yard in Wiscasset, it serves as the core of the scene.  I added an extra track so that it could be a junction.
  2. Wharf – The wharf is more like Hayden and Frary’s Thatcher’s inlet so that it is a through module.
  3. Car Float – Inspired by floats by Bob Hayden (HOn30) and Paul Scoles (Sn3) (scroll down on link)
  4. Trestle – Inspired by the trestles in Wiscasset and Harrison (B&SR)
  5. Along the River – Inspired by scenery north of Wiscasset or at North Bridgeton (B&SR)

All turnouts are #8 and all curves are 36″ radius or larger.

The Core

The core of Wiscassettesq is the yard.  It has turntable, engine house, coal shed, and car shop.  The module is two sections that are 8 feet long in total.

The yard module

An extra track was added near the car shop so this module can also serve as a junction.  All free-mo modules should provide a through path, so the junction makes it possible to go to the stub ended car float and still have a through path.

All of the ends of the yard are 18″ wide with the track off center at 6″ and 12″ from the sides.  This includes the junction too.  So other 6-12″ ends would match up.

The second part of the core is the wharf.  It provides switching opportunities and structure building opportunities.

Yard and Wharf together.  Notice that the main is diagonal through the module with the 6″ fascia edges to opposite sides.

Water to be added at the edge of the yard near the car shop to make to seem as if the coast line (or river line) is along the edge of the modules.

Many more setups – Flexibility

Curving the other way.  The Trestle module narrows to 12″ to meet the car float.

Car float as the off the yard for mega switching

A shorter version with wharf and float on branch.  The trestle module and along the river module both have a 12″ end with track centered.  That enables this setup to nearly be flat along a wall (probably with a slight tweak it could).

Narrow and short

The diversity of Wiscassettesq should make it fun for years.  Start with the yard or the smaller modules.  Add a train length turntable and it can be setup on its own.  Add a few more modules and you have a full layout.  The main yard and wharf are “beefy modules”, but could probably be transported in a small car.  The additional modules are small thus could be tucked into any remaining space in the vehicle.

To my knowledge Dan never built the setup.  That was as much on me as him.  By Christmas of 2014 life was very busy, I was coaching my son in basketball so I had to tell him that I might not be setting up Sn2 in the near future so I could not promise comradery.  I was burned out on Sn2 at the time too….

Posted in Free-mo, Layout Design, Trackplanning | 1 Comment

Planning Carrabasset

This is a continuous post about planning Carrabasset.  As of Jan 2020 I’m not where near ready to model Carrabasset, so I’m just collecting me information here.


  •  Bob Hayden – The Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Carrabasset Depot – p48 May/June 2014 NG&SLG
    • Historical information, photos, and plans by JR Dunlop
    •  p48 photo shows a box car behind the depot but not adjacent (there is a tree between).  Was this used as a team track?
    •  p52 top photo, looks north and a car can be seen spotted well north on a spur or siding.  Seems to be a pulpwood car.  Single track passed the depot.  Was the depot moved north to the location of that spur?


  • PLW – Carrabasset Depot
    • The depot was produced in both early (Covered Depot and Late versions)

Historic Notes

  •  Hayden – In SR&RL days, Carrabasset only had one “t”
  •  The depot was on the railroad west side of the tracks and the south face has the covered entrance removed and replaced with windows.  The freight was later connected to the north side of the depot.
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Future NNG Conventions

The 2020 convention became virtual due to COVID-19.  See YouTube for videos.  Pittsburg was accepted as the bid for 2024.

With talk of vaccine, it seems like 2021 in Hickory has a chance to happen.

  • 2019 – Sacramento, CA (Completed)
  • 2020 – St. Louis, MO – Sept 2-5 (Virtual)
  • 2021 – Hickory, NC – Sept 1-4
  • 2022 – Seattle, WA – (tbd on dates)
  • 2023 – Denver, CO – (tbd on dates)
  • 2024 – Pittsburg, PA (tbd on dates)

I could see taking my modules to 2021 and 2024. I always like going to Seattle and I’ve never done a Colorado convention.  Ah…my son will be off to College for that one….

Make your plan to attend one of the conventions…

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No NASG 2019 convention display

Sadly I had to cancel my display at this year’s NASG convention.  I fell off a bike and separated my shoulder.  Had surgery yesterday.  There is just now way to pack up the layout and get it there with just one arm….

I’ll still be wandering the convention site.  Introduce yourself, I’ll be the tall guy in a sling


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Headed to 2019 NASG Convention…A plan

The Sn2 SR&RL modules got accepted to display at the 2019 NASG convention.  Working with the display room coordinator they accepted a “L” or “J” style layout configuration for the modules.  All of the modules are included in the setup along with the full train turntable.   Below is the plan chosen.


Here is a 14×25′ “L” shape. It could be pushed all the way into a corner and against the walls. As free-mo, I can operate it from inside the “L” or outside. I can setup a stool in the curves and work trains along the line.

The modules are 100% scenic’d, and I have ample rolling stock.  But Bigelow lacks final structures.  Hopefully this event will be motivation to make progress on my structures and detailed scenery.

I look forward to sharing my Sn2 modules with a new crowd of visitors and to meet my S-scale acquaintances that I only know of from Facebook and

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Solo Sn2 Free-mo Setups

I’m hoping to display some of my Sn2 Free-mo modules at the 2019 NASG convention.  It would be nice to use the same “U” shape I’ve used at the Midwest Show, but that may not workout.  So I’m putting together a number of setups for the event coordinators to consider and thought it would be fun to share with all of my followers.

Free-mo modules have an advantage, they can be operated from both sides, so can be flipped around.  Most of the setups presented here use all of my modules.  I can remove some of the modules to make a smaller setup.  However, to be clear some of these modules are two sections with unique track locations and scenery across the joints.  A setup must use both sections or neither section in such cases.

I like to operate the setup, so prefer to include Bigelow (complicated module) with it’s turntable (turntable is not visible in diagram) and the full train length turntable module.  This let’s me run point to point with Bigelow being operated as a terminal section.

One last note, is that I have a 9″ long clamp on track for the end of Bigelow, so that locomotives can complete runaround moves.  For this reason, some of the dimensions quoted below may be slightly larger than they appear.


Here is the 10×20′ setup used at the Midwest Show. This is easy on my as I can sit in the middle while viewers go around the outside. Viewers can come inside too for photos or even to run a train if  interested. For that matter, I some times operate from the outside just to enjoy a different point of view.


17×25′ “L” shaped setup using all of the modules.


This 17×21′ setup does not does not include Mapplewood flag stop.


This 15×16′ “L” Shape is does not include the scenic Salmon Hole bridge module. It could be reduced to 15×12′ by removing the Mapplewood module.


Here is a 14×25′ “L” shape. It could be pushed all the way into a corner and against the walls. As free-mo, I can operate it from inside the “L” or outside. The reverse curve is provides the opportunity to see trains run through a reverse curve.  I could sit on a stool in the curves and work trains along the line.


This is the same setup as above, but slightly angled, adding interest into the overall space (I must confess the angle might be a too much, as the full train length turntable requires the center of the TT to be 2.5′ from a wall.


This 5×34′ linear setup provides for two S-curves. As I’ve drawing this, the setup implies that the viewers would be at top, so that they can walk into the curve. Another option is for them to stand at the bottom. In such case, layout would only be 2-3 feet wide with exception of the bulge for the curves.

These are just some of the setups that I can make with my modules.  Many more combinations can be created by removing  modules or changing what modules are next to each other.

Posted in Drawings and Plans, Free-mo, Layout Design | Leave a comment

Sn2 at the 2019 Midwest Show


A family looks on while the mixed train takes a stop at Mapplewood (Image taken from Portland Locomotive Works Facebook page.  Click image to follow link to page)

The 2019 Midwest Show was another enjoyable event.  I enjoyed my time with my two foot modeling friends, local train buddies, mini-bunch friends and sharing the layout with the public.  Thanks to Gary Kohler, PLW and the Mini-Bunch for hosting the event!

My setup was again a “U” shape with Bigelow being a place to initiate trains and the full length turntable doing duty at the other end.  This was the first year for NCE with wireless throttles and even tested out the ProtoThrottle (I’ll have future posts on both).  I tuned my small Forney’s and they ran great.  The keep-alives in the TCS decoders seems to have died, I’m working with TCS to get upgrades.

There are a number of things that I wish I had completed, but let’s not go negative….It was too much fun, so let’s see photos of the Sn2 setup.


Larry Williams 2-4-0 pull a few flat cars into Bigelow


Gary White’s brought a few SR&RL freight cars as seen on the near track. Most were built from Mount Blue kits.


Larry Williams 2-4-0 modified from a WW&F #7 is approaching the Bigelow depot. Gary White built the freight cars at the rear.


Larry caught a few WW&F cars here in Bigelow.  The 309 has been loaded with lumber.  The SRR&L loco works in the background. Oh…that is a Gilpin caboose.


A pulpwood train crossing Salmon Hole bridge


Head-on as WW&F #7 pulls the pulp train through the Salmon Hole bridge. The caboose is passing the Mapplewood depot


Larry caught the pulp wood train working it’s way toward Bigelow


The pulp wood trains has already passed.  White Birch Tank looks lonely waiting for the next train


Chris caught the WW&F special after it passed White Birch tank. The locomotive is my T&T WW&F #7 and the cars were all built by Eric Larson and updated by Chris.


An overview of the layout with the WW&F train on approach to Salmon Hole bridge. I’m probably fiddling with the DCC or ProtoThrottle


Another over view, this time from the opposite side. I’m chatting it up with Paul and Jim, two of my model railroad buddies, two who have helped me with my Sn2 layouts. The full train length turntable is in the foreground.


The passenger train waits at Bigelow. SR&RL #7 was on the head end.


The Sn2 SR&RL made the Morning Star Journal, thanks to the wonder of these two. Click on the image to read the whole story about the show. I most say, I too found watching trains from this vantage point to be very captivating.

Thanks to Chris, Larry, and Gary for use of their photos….

Again, thanks to all who came to the show and made it a good time.  Anyone wishing to see my Sn2 modules in person, stay tuned, there may be a opportunity again this year.



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