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 groups.io 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 Groups.io.

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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.

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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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Dream Layout V2 Concept – More work on grades

I continue to play with my dream Sn2 SR&RL plan as I want to locate Bigelow is a location where I could start building the layout.  By shifting Bigelow under the South end of Strong and moving Carrabasset to the location vacated by Bigelow, I get much better grades.  I’ve worked up a new profile.

SR&RL V2 Preliminary Grades

SR&RL Version2 Preliminary Grades. I have left off some intermediate locations, but the grades in this are a very reasonable 1.5% or less

Some intermediate locations were left out of the grade profile.  But it does indicate that reasonable grades are possible.  To add the intermediate locations, I need to decide how long the intermediate sidings should be.  Some proposals.

  • Strong & Phillips – 12 car trains – 9′ point to point
  • Madrid, Salem, Kingfield – 8 car trains – 7′ point to point
  • Carrabasset, Reeds, Eustis – 6 car trains – 6′ point to point

Refining the grades results in the following profile.  I added flats for Madrid, Salem, and Carrabasset and still the grades do not exceed 1.7%.  Many intermediate switching points (such as Reeds, Hammond Field, Kingfield Pit, and Perham Junction) not on the concept diagram would be on grade and would require brakes for switching on the main.

SR&RL V2 Grades Refined 1

Refined grades with flats added for the intermediate locations of Carrabasset, Salem, Madrid and decreased grade through the International Mill in Phillips.  The grades are still a reasonable 1.7-1.8% max.


Here is the three levels of this double deck + mushroom plan.  Notice that 3 decks exist where Bigelow is on the lowest deck, Strong is the middle deck and Eustis is mushroomed above.

SR&RL V2 Concept Level 1

SR&RL V2 concept level 1 – F&M Bigelow to Strong

SR&RL V2 Concept Level 2

SR&RL V2 concept level 2 – SRRR Strong and down to Farmington

SR&RL V2 Concept Level 3

SR&RL V2 concept level 3 – PRRR Strong to Phillips and on to Rangeley and Marbles

This V2 concept of the double deck + mushroom design solves the most problematic grades from the earlier design by moving Bigelow.  The only negative consequence is that operators will not be able to duck under Strong when they arrive off the F&M form Kingfield.  But I feel that is a minor negative and can be managed by automating a few of the turnouts and having operators walk around the peninsula.  The change gains room for the sawmill at Bigelow and log loading between spurs can be added along the F&M on either side of Carrabasset.

This is the concept I’m going to move forward on.

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Playing with Grades

I’m still considering the two deck + mushroom dream plan concept as proposed a few years ago.  One consideration is the distance between decks.  Superimposing the lowest level grades under the upper level grades I can see the clearances.

SR&RL Grades Overlay 3

Bigelow to Strong shown under upper deck

This above diagram shows the deck separation as the railroad circles the layout room.  Bigelow is proposed to be 36″ high and the International mill in Phillips directly above would be 55″ above.  That’s 19″ spacing.  Carrabasset at 39.5″ would only be 17″ below Phillips at 56″.  On around the layout, the spacing between track levels would vary between 15″ and 19″.  If the upper deck is 4″ think, that is 11-15″ gap for viewing.  Not too bad.  Looking up Tony Koester’s track plan, and it seems to have similar gaps and widths.  My memory of his layout is that it was very acceptable.

I would like to ease the grade to Bigelow, so I’m planning to extend the line, shifting Carrabasset to where Bigelow is and put Bigelow below Strong.  Next post I hope to consider this change.

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