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.

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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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2018 Midwest Narrow Gauge Show


SR&RL #5 pulling a string of WW&F cars build by Eric Larson and updated by Chris McChesney (photo by Chris)


String of Eric Larson WW&F cars owned by Chris McChesney pulled by my SR&RL #5 at White Birch Tank (photo by Chris)

This past weekend, I displayed my Sn2 Free-mo modules at the Midwest Narrow Gauge Show.  Had a great time interacting with other Sn2 modelers and many more.

Chris McChesney posted the following on the group along with two photos.

Hey guys,

Good show for Sn2.  Lots to see and run.  David Keith brought several modules including Bigelow Yard, White Birch Tank, Salmon Hole Bridge, Maplewood Flag Stop and siding and a mind-blowing two-track sector plate turned whole-train turntable!  

Gary White and I had great fun operating Dave’s modules with locos WW&F #7 and SR&RL #6 on DCC and Dave appreciated the breaks and help with tear-down.  On that subject, I recommend that more people commit to helping out module owners with set up, lunch breaks, bathroom breaks, tear down and just general time for the module owner to enjoy walking around any show. 

Dave had several SR&RL pieces of rolling stock and Gary White brought even more.  I brought Eric Larson’s small fleet of WW&F cars that I upgraded with freshly built Smokey Mountain Models freight and passenger trucks.  Everything ran great and any problems that arose were resolved on the fly.

There was a dealer there with a huge selection of Sn2 brass including some custom weathered pieces done by Matt Sharp back in the day.  The dealer also had many pieces of finished Sn2 rolling stock from the SR&RL, WW&F and KC.  Gary picked up a nice SR&RL pulp rack and I was tempted by two nice KC boxcars. 

Matt and Nancy Sharp were also there with the resurrected Train & Trooper.  While Matt does not plan to have a shop, he will carry a selection of items for mail order.  He had a ton of S Aspen Models resin figures and animals at the show and many were purchased.  

Matt also announced his new Sn2 prairie brass loco project and was looking for feedback and interest.  Initially he planned SR&RL #16 and #18, but he said he has had more queries about WW&F #6.  That being the case, I mentioned that the SR&RL #19 is actually a sister engine to the WW&F #6 and there are only a few major detail differences in the as-built locos:  counterweight shape, number of sand domes, and cylinder side shape.  If you are interested in any of these prairie possibilities, you should email Matt at trainandtrooper at

Chris McChesney


I’m not sure there is much more for me to add.  I had a great time.  Enjoyed talking up Sn2 and modeling with anyone who walked by.  Thanks to all who helped me with setup and teardown.  Thanks to Gary for the best event in years (I still have fond memories of the early years in the church).

If anyone else got more photos of the setup, I’d love to post them….

I came out of the event pumped for Sn2 and I hope such momentum continues forward for some time to come!  Stay tuned….

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Always inspiring – Rensselaer Model Railroad Society


Image pulled from 3D walk through of Rensselaer Model Railroad Society layout

In my youth and college days I was always inspired when I saw an article by one of the Rensselaer Model Railroad Club.  No, they do not model the SR&RL, Maine 2-Foot, not even narrow gauge.  But they were a at the forefront of proto-modeling.  The put believable modeling first….I watched that Allen Keller Video again and again….

Today, I encounter link to a 3D walkthrough of the layout:  Rensselaer Model Railroad Club in 3D.  It brings brought back the memories.  Still looks great.  Is holding up to the test of time.


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