John Rogers On2 SR&RL Videos

John Rogers may have been one of the most controversial, yet successful On2 SR&RL models ever.  He stormed on the scene with radical ideas and ambitions, got a successful operating and mostly sceniced representation of the SR&RL, then exited the scene almost as quickly as he came in.

Some may call him brash, but I found him endearing, generous and passionate.  Through him I got invited to a great OP’s weekend where I got to operate on his On2 SR&RL, Tony Koester’s HO NKP, and Craig Bisgeier’s HO Housatonic Railroad.  It was a TT&TO enthusiasts dream operating weekend.  John and I had met at the 2011 NNGC in Hickory, NC.  At that time John was storming along on his On2 SR&RL.  We had many conversations about the SR&RL, operations, TT&TO, On2, and Sn2.  John was as enthusiastic for me as anyone else.

I do not think I’ve ever posted any photos of the time I operated on his now gone On2 layout.  But I did find these links on youtube.  Take a look:

Farmington Arrival

Bigelow Branch

Bigelow to Carrabasset overview

Strong Maine

Farmington Yard Switch

Train 10 leaving strong for Farmington

Leaving Strong for Farmington

Backing out of Farmington

Backing into Strong

John has since moved on to bigger things.  He is doing 2-foot outside and inside it seems.  He has more youtube vidoes posted for his current adventures, checkout his youtube channel.

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Madrid on Al Churella’s On2 SR&RL

I was skimming through Al Churella’s website looking for inspiration and found a link to this video on youtube.  I love Al’s modeling, take a look for yourself.  Madrid is a site I plan to include on the Sn2 SR&RL.

Log Train at Madrid


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Two feet in?

Two feet in?  No I’m not talking gauge…I’m talking about me…

This past weekend, I attended the Midwest NG Show put on by Gary Kohler (PLW/M2FQ/LITCo…) and met up with some of my long time 2-Foot enthusiasts.  Including Gary White and Chris McChesney.  I had a wonderful time, great to spend time with my long time (more than 20 year) 2 foot enthusiasts…Darry S, Mark H, Gary K, Jeff S, Tom H, etc… also to catch up with my other NG friends, including those from right around home…The most common question to me was something like this:  “So how’s your layout going?”   My answer tended to go something like this…  “Well….not much progress, I’ve got one foot in Sn2, one foot in S-scale standard gauge, and a hand in HO DT&I of 1976”  It’s an honest answer and I’d continue with, “I need to jump into something with two feet…oh yea, I have two other projects in play too.  My dad and I are building 4.75″ gauge railroad in my backyard for my 50th birthday celebration and I’m working HAVOC, and 1923 HO modular layout with my model building friends”

Clearly I have lots of dreams, some will come to fruition, but none of them will be what I want if I keep shifting my energies and resources all around.  So, I proclaim, I need to pick a home layout and jump in with two feet!

So what should I jump into?

  • DT&I is out – Actually 3-4 weeks ago, the HO DT&I was hot and heavy.  I thought I could build Ford park at one end of my basement on top of (or under) Kingfield.  I could probably make something fit…but it was not going to be special and the 20+ foot long trains would have looked funny in my railroad room (24×30′).  The DTI regularly ran 3-4 diesels on the front end of trains, it simply would have looked bad pulling anything less than 20-25 cars…Anyway…I may have some 1976 freight cars on ebay soon.
  • S-scale – I really like the size of S-scale standard gauge.  I’ve considered the C&O of Indiana or the PRR in Cincy or B&O or other.  S-scale is still in the running, but it seems doubtful right now.
  • Sn2 SR&RL is back in the lead…I’m trying to jump in with 2-feet….There are a few things I need to get past:
    • How to meet my locomotive needs?  The current 5 SR&RL locos will not meet my needs and scratch building is not in the near future….Answer:  How about a compromise of Blacksone K-27’s?  Yea, not cheap, but they run great out of the box, have sound, and are steam.  Seems better than running diesels, given my 1912-1914 era.  I could practice building steam by re-detailing them.  These engines could put in the miles running the railroad for show purposes so as not to wear off the nickel platting on an Sn2 brass Forney.
    • Can the locos pull a 2% grade?  I think the answer is yes and I really think the K’s could pull more than enough…A future 2-6-0 or 2-6-2 should be close to a K, might be a bit less as those K’s are quite heavy.  Now the Jeff B has gotten us bolster for the Tichy Trucks I think Tichy and/or Smokey Mountain should roll sufficiently well.  Both should be simple enough to assemble.
    • What about spiders for all those turntables?  I could have 5-8 turntables….
    • Trackwork….At this point in time, I do not feel that handlaid track is something I want to do on the full railroad?  So I’m considering the use of ME code 55 flex with LITCo code 55 turnouts and code 70 between Phillips and Farmington.  I already have some flex to use.  Possibly in towns I may handlay…So, I’ll have to try it out…
    • A detailed plan – Honestly, I pride myself on being good at Track planning…but I think I’m just going to build the benchwork and fit the track in place….I’ll deal with change as required…
    • One phase!  I had been thinking how to do this in phases….Phases so I could just back out at any time if things did not work out….We’ll I think that mentality just does not work!  That’s like sticking your toes into the pool.  At this time I think I need to jump in with two feet and go all the way under!  I may come up shaking my head and screaming….but then I’ll warm up and enjoy myself…

So, step back…I’m about to take a running leap and jump all in!


Here is an HO K-27 with an Sn2 Big Forney. Do they look OK together? The domes are a bit small, but not tiny, the boiler is lower slung, but might be fatter, but lack the extension typical on 2-foot locos, the head light is a bit small. The tender is a bit short, but not terrible, clearly the CAB is the biggest problem. The cylinder might be too large. Anyway, good enough for a stand in…


The HOn3 K-27 does fit on the turntable, so no compromises there to make it run on the layout. A K-36 might look better, with it’s bigger drivers. Blackstone is taking orders for those now (No, I’m not going to order one)



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Search for SR&RL freight car red

I want to have a large fleet of SR&RL friend cars, and all of them will need to be painted. Much discussion related to model colors has occurred in M2FQ, and on the various Maine two foot yahoo groups.  The On2 FAQ site has recorded some of the most valued content for modelers to read, read the post on Tin roofs and colour schemes.  However many of the recommendations are for older obsolete painted and/or complex mixes.  So I decided it was time to find paints acceptable to me.  My preference is for acrylic paints in an airbrush or spray cans.

So, I decided to do a number of test shots for my own evaluation.  To do the shots I cut styrene sheet into 1.5×4″ pieces around the size of a boxcar side.  Then I primer them with krylon great primer and finally sprayed them with the candidate colors.  Here are the results.


Candidate colors for freight car red

Which one do you like?  Rendering may not be accurate.  Upper left of unpainted. Next is primer grey.  The image below has them all flipped over so you can read the names.


Names of paints

It was Gary Kohler’s recommendation to use the dupli-color primers.  I do like the results they give and will likely go with one of them for my SR&RL freight car red.  If for nothing else they are in a spray can.  I’ll probably not stick to one color for all equipment, as the color likely varied some over time.  I’ll choose a roof color from there’s too.  It may be same car sides or vary, time will tell what I do.


The paints used in the test shots

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Link to Al Churella’s layout corrected – He has updates

Strong on Al's On2 SR&RL

Strong on Al’s On2 SR&RL

My link to Al Churella’s layout had been broken.  It is now fixed.

I see that he continues to make good progress on the layout despite writing PRR books….He has a link to a youtube video on the main page.  Worth a watch…

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Sense of Place

Like many other model railroaders I want my my guests to feel a sense of place. So I outfitted the entry way to my railroad room with a dash of depot…


Hopefully this bit of decoration makes one feel like they entered a depot.  I only did this little bit by the door.  The rest of the walls will be covered by one or two decks of model railroad and should get skirting and backdrop to hide so the extra time and money to outfit the whole room like a depot would be wasted.

I guess one could classify this as a bit of 1:1 modeling…

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Harry’s Farmington – 2,3,4…

As soon as I made the post “Farmington Faithful for Harry” he sent the following email and images to the Sn2_Trains yahoogroup:


The 13.5 feet is the lenght of the wall at the back of the section of benchwork. At the left end of that wall there is a 45* corner. I want to use the corner as a sort of view block to keep Farmington “framed in”. In the picture looking from the far right side, at the far end of the photo is a white card (there is a blue post it note above it), on the same level as Farmington. That is my mock-up of Baker stream bridge. Strong, which is not yet modeled, is where I am standing when I took this shot. I like your condensed sketch- busy looking without being choked with track. However, if each square is 12″ its too long. Regarding the crossings, I am hesitant to model them but they are a necessity. I had thought about running the NG track and having the SG track just butt up to the rails with no real crossing track. The SG is all dummy track so electrical shorts won’t be a problem. I was even thinking of using plastic rail to make my life easier- if there is such a thing as plastic rail. I dont want to go with the expense of having them made. But then again, I didnt want to model Farmngton at all.
The south end of Farmington on Harry's Sn2 SR&RL.  The tape represents the track and the plate is the SR&RL turntable.  Kingfield is below and I think Rangeley is above.

The south end of Farmington on Harry’s Sn2 SR&RL. The tape represents the track and the plate is the SR&RL turntable. Kingfield is below and I think Rangeley is above.

The north end of Harry's Sn2 Farmington.

The north end of Harry’s Sn2 Farmington.

I like your track plan for your new layout. I have ran the Foreny up a mock up of a 2% grade and it pulled 8 cars and a caboose. But the mock up’s track was only about 10′ or so. The Foreny was out of the box.


Based on this new input, I drafted versions 2, 3, and 4 for his inspiration.  These have a more accurate representation of the fascia.

Version 2

Angled the track to have the turntable within the bound of existing benchwork.

Angled the track to have the turntable within the bound of existing benchwork.

Version 2 is angled to keep the turntable on the existing benchwork.  The MEC freight house and SR&RL canopy are preserved too.  The MEC trackwork is simple and a crossing is provided for interest.  This version has ample space behind the transfer yard for the hill and trees that existed behind the prototype.

Version 3

A simple linear version that keeps the turntable within the bounds of existing benchwork

A simple linear version that keeps the turntable within the bounds of existing benchwork

Version 3 puts all track at the rear to keep the turntable within the bound of the existing benchwork.  The standard gauge crossings are preserved, but the SR&RL canopy is likely lost.  The Russel Box factory is at the far left.  It could go into flats so look more substantial.  The limited space behind means little room for trees and the hill.  This is my least favorite of the three versions.

Version 4

Moving the track toward fascia makes results in a new version

Moving the track toward fascia makes results in a new version

This last version moves the track forward for more background scenery including the box factory as a flat on the backdrop.  The box factory track could continue for some length behind the trees to allow more cars and operation.  The turntable is in the aisle, but I think that is a compromise with trying.  The SR&RL canopy is now just a flat as could be part of the MEC depot.  The crossings have been left out for simplicity.

Final Comments

I hope these designs give harry some ideas on what he could try.  Honestly no one version is best in my mind, I put them together for him to have ideas (brainstorming).  Hopefully he finds something to take from the designs.

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