Maine On2 FAQ

Terry Smith and a few others have re-created a new and better Maine On2 FAQ.  The FAQ was published by Bill Kerr from 2000 till 2012.  In 2013 Terry Smith and others with the support of Bill brought the content back the web for all to see.  Terry’s team has re-organized the information and enhancing it with more photos.

The web site is more than “modeling the Maine Two-Footers in On2” it is also a place to find general modeling information such as this post “What are the Maine Two-Footers” and this post “Right of Way, trackwork, ties, and ballast”.  It’s a resource for anyone modeling the Maine 2-Footers or narrow gauge.

The contributors are a who’s who of On2 modelers and Maine 2-Foot historians.  Be sure to go to the “home” page to see links by contributor, railroad, manufacturer, modelers.

Bill Kerr passed away in the summer of 2013 after battling health issues for a few years.  I will miss his presence on the Maine 2-Foot modeling forums.  Bill and I had shared information on the SR&RL several times.  I never got to visit his On2 SR&RL, but from the photos, I can tell it was a delight.  You can see Bill’s On2 SR&RL on the Maine On2 FAQ.

Thanks Bill and thanks Terry and Co. the new Maine On2 FAQ is a tribute to Bill.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

To CAD or not to CAD? That is the question when starting a track plan

This week on the yahoogroup Maine-Two-Foot-Modelers-Forum Lee Rainey wrote:  “I strongly recommend a CAD program as a layout design tool.”  The statement made me ask, “Do I strongly recommend CAD for layout design?”

First of all, I use a XTrkCAD for track planning.  So before I make a recommendation, let me share why I use XTrkCAD.

WHY I USE XTrkCAD

  • It’s Free! – I use XTrkCAD 3.1.4 which is available in the files section of the XTrkCad yahoo group – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/XTrkCad/files/xtc32314.exe – You’ll have to join the group to access the files section.  If you try to use it, you’ll have to use the registration instructions in the same folder – “XTrkCad REGISTRATION INSTRUCTIONS.txt”
  • XTrkCAD 3.1.4 runs on all my PC laptops including my old XP system.  Although the help no longer works on Windows7 (I’m told there is a way to get around that).  Newer open source versions exist too.  4.0.3 seems to be available in the same folder in the yahoo group.  I think it supports other OS’s too.  I think the 3.1.4 version was the last production version by Sillub Technologies.  To get started with later versions try the Wiki
  • Easily enforce Minimum Radius – XTrkCAD has a minimum radius for a layout, when set, any radius less than that value is highlighted.  It’s easy to set a value or larger when inserting curves.
  • Tools to create and insert turnouts – XTrkCAD has pre-defined turnouts or the user can create their own.  I created my own for Sn2.  This ensured accuracy.  I even created special turnouts (shorter straight on the end) so that I could insert turnouts that conform to angle but are modified as I’d modify to install in tight locations.  I use these smaller versions often, and this ensures I have proper dimension through the frogs.  On paper designs it’s easy to cheat on turnout dimensions and create an plan that cannot be built.
  • Easements – XTrkCAD supports easements, and they can be automatic on all curves.
  • Smart Connection of Track – XTrkCAD has the ability to connect track in many ways.  It can connect snap track, it can tangentially connect two tracks and cut off the ends on the fly, it can extend turnouts linearly  it can bend the end of a track, it can split track.  All of these are smart because the CAD tool is Model Railroad specific.
  • Concept diagrams (like John Armstrong’s squares) are easy to do.  For example these concepts I did for Gary White’s Sn2 K&DR (Concepts) or my own Dream Sn2 SR&RL layout (Concept #2 or Concept #6)
  • XTrkCAD can connect modules as I did to generate designs for the Sn2 Crew Layouts (Hickory or St. Louis).  A free-mo setup like this requires trial an error to optimize the setup to fit a specific space.
  • XTrkCAD can calculate grades – This is crucial when creating multi-deck layouts and wanting to determine the impact of having level towns vs. graded towns etc…  See this example image of grade chart generated from one of the concepts for my Sn2 SR&RL.
  • It’s for Designing Model Railroads – In my job, I have access to many high end CAD systems with full drafting.  However, I’d never use them to design a model railroad as they are not tuned for that.  Doing the features I mention above would be time consuming if not impossible on these 10-30 thousand Mechanical CAD systems.

Other Features Of Interest

  • Print Full-Size – XTrkCAD can print the layout full size to many sheets of paper that can be laid on benchwork or plywood or other.  I usually do not use such a method (possibly because i’m against wasting the paper).  Instead I transfer visually making tweaks as required.
  • Full-Size Triangulation – XTrkCAD does not support this, but I think 3rd Planit does.  It is possible to fix two points in the room, and 3PI will calculate the distance of any other point from those two.  Having this would make it easier to transfer designs.
  • 3D Scenery – XTrkCAD does not support 3D scenery, but 3PI and other model railroad CAD packages do.  I see 3D in my head and would prefer to build the scenery rather than design it in detail.  I will do 2D scenery, which XTrkCAD does support and I often enhance using Paint or other programs.
  • Structures – It is possible to make footprints of a structure and reuse that in any design.  Some HO structures are already available.  3D structure might be possible, but I’ve not explored that.  I think the other packages such as 3PI support 3D structures
  • 3D Benchwork and Walk Through’s – Like 3D scenery, not supported by XTrkCAD, but 3PI does support (possibly others too).  Again, I’m not that interested in a 3D walk through.

WHY I USE CAD

  • I think the points about XTrkCAD above explain the benefits I get from using model railroad track planing software.
  • Additionally, I often do track planning for others.  Thus I can reuse the skills learned to make a pretty plan for someone else.

SHOULD YOU USE CAD?

  • The justification of using CAD to design a model railroad is an individual choice.
  • I do not recommend it for beginners.  The software does not help them figure out what they want (often the greatest problem for a newbie.
  • Success will depend on CAD tool selected and time one is willing to put into learning the tool.  Expect 20-40 hours of learning.  For small layouts, simple layouts, or one-time designs the effort to learn a CAD tool may not be worth it.
  • The more complex the project the more benefit the CAD tool can provide.
  • If you prefer paper and pencil than use it!
  • If you like designing full-size on the layout or on the floor, then do it!
  • If you hate or fight with computers do not use CAD.
  • No matter how much CAD work is done some redesign will occur during construction of the layout.  Each person will have a different threshold on how far to take a design (time/money)
  • Some modelers might be better off getting someone else to help them with the CAD design or even to pay someone else to do the CAD design.  Byron Henderson, Yard Goat, Lance Mindheim all might be provide such services.

For me, CAD has it’s place so I use it (concepts, figuring what will likely fit).  But CAD is not my end all design technique.  I expect final tweaking to occur as I build or after.  I say after, because one may want to make changes after operating the layout.

Posted in Trackplanning, XTrkCAD | 2 Comments

Eastern Loggers – A great experience for me….

When I was 14, I joined the Eastern Loggers.  The group was building a sectional railroad inspired by a series of books call The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania.    The group had just formed, so I was getting in on the ground floor.  This group taught me about modeling excellence, working with others, managing projects, and interacting with the public.  I still look back at those years from age 14-35 with fondness and would like to share some of the past with you now.

The following material comes from what was narrowtracks.com

Introduction

Welcome to the Eastern Loggers Home Page a site devoted to the Eastern Loggers Model Railroad Club, its members, followers, and the railroads and industries that inspired it.

In 1981, Jerry Strangarity and John Burchnall founded the Eastern Loggers Model Railroad Club. The idea was to build a sectional layout based on the 13 book series, The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania, by Walter Casler, Thomas Taber, and Benjamin Kline. A few years earlier, Jerry had built a diorama of a typical Pennsylvania Logging town. The club layout was a much larger version of the same theme.

The original layout design called for 6 sections to form a 10’x10′ layout. However, within a few months, the group expanded, adding two more modules to the design. Over the years, the layout has been improved, by the addition of backdrops, DCC, two more sections, and most recently staging yards.

Each year, the Eastern Loggers appear at the November Show, which is put on by division 7 of the Mid-Central region of the NMRA (Cincinnati). Besides that, the layout makes occasional appearances at other events such as Mini-Bunch meets, National Narrow Gauge Conventions, and NMRA conventions. We will be open for the 2003 Mid Central Region NMRA meet at the end of April.

Construction

John Burchnall design the specification for sections.  One of the innovative features of the construction was the use of foam board.  John spent many years giving clinics about foam board, and now it is one of the leading/recommended techniques not just for lightweight module construction but also for home layout use.  Bill Darnaby even credited John as providing his inspiration.

I must state that the Eastern Loggers used beaded foam (white), not blue or pink or green foam.  The beaded foam is lighter and easier to carve than the more dense blue foam.  However, beaded foam is not good for carving scenery.  Beaded foam requires plaster on top.  Other modelers such as Sam Swanson have done wonders carving high density blue foam into hills and rock formations without any plaster at all, keeping modules and layouts lighter and plaster free (Sames modeling techniques have been published in MR, NG&SLG, Light Iron Digest, etc….)

Here are specifications sheets

Overview of basic Eastern Loggers Module (by John Burchnall – 1982)

The Eastern Loggers layout is composed of modules. Each module consists of 5 major components:

  1. 2×2″ wood legs, which are self standing and fit in slot in the frame.
  2. 1×4″ “Inverted L-girder” frame. Actually, it is a true upright “L”.
  3. Foam Board for scenery and roadbed support. The grades for the roadbed are carved directly in to the foam and the roadbed is layed directly on top.
  4. 3/16″ or 1/4″ Upson board roadbed. At present, upson board is no longer available. Possible substitutes are Homabed, Luan Board (like the doors, not the plywood), or homosote. Grades carved directly into foam may have imperfections (dips and humps). A stiff roadbed is needed to smooth out the imperfections. Cork is too flexible to cover the dips, Homabed is questionable, upson board was perfect.
  5. 1/8″ Masonite fascia boards. The masonite is screwed and clued to the side of the module. Wood blocks are glued into the foam for screws. Not shown on the drawing are corner blocks. These are 1×2’s placed vertically into the corners of the module, they make the corners square.

Additional Notes:

Always use foam compatible glues when gluing layers of the foam.  

Underview of a module (by John Burchnall – 1981)

The under view shows the slots where the legs slid into. Leg stops (4) prevent the legs from pushing directly against the foam. The cross brace (5) on the bottom of the module is not needed. The foam provides a sufficient stability. Note, the design provides for leg extensions.

After a few years of moving the modules to shows, it became clear that they were over built.  The frame could have been significantly lighter, the 1×4’s were over kill.  But they have lasted the test of time (30 years as of this writing). 

One interesting happening was that Jerry Strangarity’s Sawmill module (our most delicate) was in an automobile accident.  He was pulling through an intersection when a car ran the stop signs at 55 miles an hour, hit the rear of his car.  First of all he and any passengers of his car were OK (I do not remember injuries in the other car either).  However, the module was….well….better than expected.  The wood frame was shattered and the masonite sites were broken loose, and all the white metal sawmill details were spread throughout the car. But the delicate structures were intact.  The beaded foam seemed to have absorbed the blow…..

Trackplan – GMR 1997

For me, one of the greatest accomplishments for the Eastern Loggers was the appearance in the 1997 issue of Great Model Railroads.  Here is the trackplan from that issue (Kalmbach gave permission to publish on my old web site, so assuming still OK to publish).  To see the full article get the new DVD from Kalmbach (coming out soon).

Eastern Loggers track plan as published in Great Model Railroad 1997

For reference here is a listing of primary modeler (might not have been owner)

  • Sawmill Complex (Laquin, PA)- Jerry Strangarity – Left most section
  • Tannery (Leetonia, PA) – Paul Miklos – Upper left
  • Mine Prop Interchange – David Keith – Upper, 2nd from left
  • Wood Chemical Plant (Mayburg, PA) – Paul Miklos – Upper, 2nd from left
  • Gunpowder mill (DuPont – Hagley, DE) – John Burchnall – Upper, right
  • Switchback – Larry Pockrus – Right most section
  • Highline bridge – John Burchnall – Lower right
  • Rural Sawmill – Mike Tener – Lower 2nd from right
  • High line log camp – Mike Merenes – Lower 2nd from left
  • Sawmill Lumber stacks (theme changed after this article) – John Burchnall – Lower left

All sections were 30×60″ with the exception of the Sawmill complex that was 36×60″

Sawmill Complex

The sawmill complex was the premiere section of the layout.  It was built by Jerry Strangarity.  Jerry written a series of articles about his Pennsylvania logging town for RMC (various issues in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s).  This section was imagined to be an extension of that diorama.  The diorama was never part of the Eastern Loggers layout.

The interior of the Laquin bandsaw mill. Jerry Strangarity built the complex using board by board construction. The interior details are Keystone detail parts

The focal point of the Eastern Loggers Layout is a large Mill Complex. The center piece of the scene is the band saw mill which features full interior. From the pond there is a second slip jack that serves the barrel and stave mill. The final structure on the section is the kindling wood factory. All of the structures were built by Jerry Stangarity. He placed the structure based on a photo of the town of Laquin, PA.

The roof’s of the band sawmill can be removed to expose the interior. The second store room is occupied by the saw filer. The filer services the hundreds of teeth on the blades for the band saw. Saw dust is swept through the floor of the sawmill, then put on a conveyor which takes it to the boiler house. Part of the boiler house and conveyor are just visible to the left of the mill. The mill pond and the log dump are in the background.

Here is an overview of the mill complex. At right is the kindling wood factory, to the left is the drying shed for the barrels and staves, at the rear is the band sawmill.

Elevated trestles are used to move the sawn wood to the lumber yard. Electricity for the lamps is provided by generators hooked up to the sawmills engine. The engines which powered the belts were located under the sawmill floor. Actually, the sawmill floor was raised off the ground.

The loading dock is for the barrel and stave mill. At left is the kindling wood factory. The barrels weren’t assembled prior to shipping, the recipient would assemble them on at their site.

A good view of the kindling wood factory. The wood was cut in the smaller building at right. Steam heat was used to dry the wood. The tall building at the right had pipes through which the steam passed, drying the wood. The conveyor between the two buildings transferred the wood to the top of the drying building.

After these photos were taken, Paul Miklos expanded the sawmill’s lumber yard to the adjacent module.  The new yard wraps around the Mountain and seem to head up the valley like many prototype photos from the PA logging books.  Paul hand cut much of the lumber in those stacks which are individual stacks up to 30 HO feet high!  Paul is a nut….

Tannery

The tannery module had a few owners and many contributors to the final scene.  When Ed Heage was owner, he adopted Leetonia (see book 4 of the PA logging series) as the inspiration.  He built a tannery building and the company store.  However, he never completed the tannery complex before leaving the club for other activities, so only the store remains of his work.  The following photos show the combined work of several members.

Overview of tannery module is inspired by photo, page 4xx book #4 of the Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania.  The trees in the photos of this photo are part of the section.  Ed added a steep hillside to the section, so that one could look over the trees in a similar fashion to a photo in the PA logging book.  It worked out well, and forced viewers to look around the scene from specific angles.

The tannery and surrounding company town are inspired by the town of Leetonia, PA. Leetonia featured a large tannery, sawmill, town, and railroad facilities. The placement of the buildings on the tannery module loosely follow the placement of buildings in lower portion of Leetonia. The major difference is that the model tannery is on the opposite end of town.

The majority of the modeling on this section was done by Paul Miklos. The exceptions being the company houses which were built by Clarke O’Byrne, the company store built by Ed Heeg, and the CPL office and Post Office built by David Keith.

The company houses were built by Clarke O’bern. Paul Miklos built the privies, sheds, and added the details.

Farm animals were common in Leetonia. This house is the exception, having pigs. Most families had cows. The cows would graze in the pastures above town, returning each twice a day for milking.

The Shaut Company store, built by Ed Heage, was a gathering point for the men of Leetonia. On payday, the men would line up at the Horizontal window of the CPL office.

The engine house has a full interior.  To make it easy to see, the side wall can be removed.  The bark stacks extended onto the interchange module to blend the scenes.

Wood Chemical Plant (Factory)

The retort building of the chemical plant. Cord wood entered the retort building in metal rack cars

The chemical plant is inspired by the Tionesta Valley Chemical Companies plant at Mayburg, PA. The prototype plant was one for largest acetic acid plants in Pennsylvania. It featured 12 retorts and was made out of brick instead of the more common metal siding. Inside a chemical plant, wood is distilled, to capture the gasses that escape. The most important product of the distillation process was the acetic acid or acetate of lime. Acetic acid was used as a fixative for dyes, very important during World War I. Another product that resulted from the distillation process was charcoal.

The model plant is significantly compressed from the prototype. It only features 4 retorts (tracks) and does not feature the cooling chambers and sheds at the behind the retort building. There just was not enough space. All of the buildings, cord wood stacks, and rack cars were built by Paul Miklos.  

The retort building is at the rear of this photo. The other large buildings contain the still house. The stills were used to condense and separate the gasses. Paul also build the 30′ flat cars with racks on top. Throughout Pennsylvania, Cord wood was hauled in cars similar to these.

Other Sections

At this time, I do not have any photos of the other modules ready for publication.  Time permitting, I can update this post again…

Train Control – DC to DCC – No Shorts!

John Burchnall had designed a complex 8 CAB DC system using rotary switches.  A CAB for each original module.  It worked but was a lot of wiring that we never really used.

In 1994 Lenz DCC had been released and was being sold here in town by John Mann (of Mann-Made products fame & CTC-16 and such).  I was single, not married and had money.  So I purchased a Lenz system and 4 decoders (LS-100’s) that I installed into AHM heislers during the two weeks before biggest show of the year.  I also made a throttle bus that could be plugged onto the layout (6 stations, no plug and play yet).  The first time the system was run on the layout, was at the show….It all worked perfectly and we never looked back to DC again.  It was a few years before other display layouts began appearing with DCC control.

Later we switched to Digitrax because it had radio control and because I thought it was time for the club to invest in it’s own DCC system.  The radio control was never as reliable as our plug in Lenz LH-100 throttles.  The more complex digitrax throttles made it hard to  work the layout and steal engines (commonly required when operating a show layout).  Actually, Lenz let’s multiple throttles control a locomotive, no “stealing”.  For the club it would have been better to stay Lenz (I think Digitrax has gotten better and now has simpler UT throttles with radio control….so matters might not be so complicated today)

One special feature designed into the layout was stopping blocks.  These are locomotive length sections of track beyond each turnout frog.  The stopping blocks prevented trains entering a wrongly thrown turnout from fouling a turnout or worse creating a short.  These stopping blocks are one reason the Eastern Loggers layout worked well when the switch to DCC happened.  The layout rarely suffered from shutdowns due to shorts.  Honestly it was not till several years later that I understood why other layouts (not having stopping blocks) needed short circuit detection.

Listing of PA Logging Books

The Logging Railroad Era of Lumbering in Pennsylvania by Benjamin Kline Jr, Walter Casler, and Thomas Taber III. A series of 13 books about lumbering in Pennsylvania. Additionally, Kline and Taber have each written additional books about Pennsylvania Lumbering.

  1. Pitch Pine and Prop Timber by Kline
  2. “Wild Catting” on the Mountain by Kline
  3. Ghost Lumber Towns of Central Pennsylvania by Taber
  4. Sunset Along Susquehanna Waters by Taber
  5. The Goodyears – An Empire in the Hemlocks by Taber
  6. Whining Saws and Squealing Flanges by Casler
  7. Sawmills Among the Derricks by Taber
  8. Tionesta Valley by Casler
  9. Teddy Collins Empire by Casler
  10. Tanbark, Alcohol, and Lumber by Taber
  11. Allegheny Valley Logging Railroads by Casler
  12. Dinkies, Dams, and Sawdust by Kline
  13. Stemwinders” in the Laurel Highlands by Kline

Books 1, 2, 12, & 13 by Kline were printed recently by the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. They are available from the museum for about $10 US each. Book 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 have also been reprinted recently enough to be available. The 2nd Floor Bookstore at the Strasburg Railroad has these books written by Tabor. The books written by Casler are not being sold new. Check Ebay or used book sources.

In addition to these books, Tabor went on to publish a few other books about specific logging railroads and shortlines of Pennsylvania.  He was still alive in the late 1990’s and was still doing his own railroad research.  All of the Kline photos and Klines letters to Tabor and Casler are in the collections of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania logging was different from West Virginia, Michigan or West Coast and the books above are a great way to learn the specifics of Pennsylvania logging.

Parting Comments

By 2009, marriage, a son, and a move to the other side of town, I had willingly limited my participation in the club; so I sold my section to another member of the club, ending 20+ years of active involvement.  It was not an easy choice but the reality, I had moved on to Sn2 Free-mo and trying to get back to my Dream home layout.

My years as an eastern logger were a great experience for me.  I look back at them fondly.  I must thank my parents for encouraging me to become involved at the age of 14.  For the first 2 years (until I could drive) my dad would take me to meetings.  Additionally, when I joined, he already had the set of the logging books (he came from California, what was he doing with a set of books based on PA logging?). His railroad library fueled my fascination for two of my favorite prototypes (PA Logging and Maine 2-Foot).

I’d also like to thank of the Eastern Loggers for letting me, at a young age, partake in the club as an equal not as a junior.  My involvement with the club formed me as a person, in the hobby, home, and most importantly professionally.

Posted in Eastern Loggers | 4 Comments

Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #6 – Partial Double Deck

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  Only the fittest concepts move on to become detailed plans.

Concept #6 is a limited double deck arrangement.  The focus is on the F&M (100′ mainline Strong to Bigelow) and the SRRR (75′ mainline Farmington to Phillips).  The design focuses on simple early phases, and having a high duck-under at the entrance.  That avoids the ceiling beams and heating ducts.  The focus is on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips) and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow).  It reflects that modeling the P&R (Phillips to Rangeley) is not that important to me.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

This design puts Carrabassett and Bigelow on the upper deck over the top of Farmington.

Bigelow has a good good room, but I’ll have to squeeze the approaching curve to fit my existing Free-mo module.  There is room for the sawmill, but it must fit around the concrete column (holds up the fire place, can’t be moved).  The 25′ of F&M over Farmington is ample to include Carrabassett and some other logging.

Kingfield is on a stub, but a mirror imaged.  An acceptable compromise possible because of the way the stairs shape the room.  Salem and Starbirds are also represented.  Strong is shaped as per the prototype.

The rest of the middle of the room is available for Phillips and the P&R to Rangeley.

Concept #6: Upper deck, the F&M above Kingfield to Bigelow

Concept #6: Lower deck phases 1&2

Phases

A railroad like this is a life time project (20 years or more).  So I’d like to have phases.  Here’s how I see the phases.

  • Phase 1:  Upper Deck to Loop:  Bigelow, Carrabassett, Kingfield, Salem, Starbirds, Phillips loop (loop is temporary)
  • Phase 2: Strong and Free-mo Farmington
  • Phase 3: Replace Phillips loop with Philllips and some P&R

The first two phases are great.  Phase 1 is loop to Bigelow.  Can be operated much like the real F&M.  Would require 2-3 operators and 3-4 locos (something I can do today).

Phase 2 would add Strong and Farmington.  Initially, they could be operated as one mainline from Bigelow to Farmington.  At this point in time, I’d have 4 of my 5 favorite locations (Bigelow, Kingfield, Strong, & Farmington).

Phase 3 would add Phillips and possibly some more.  It is the some more that is a challenge and discussed further in this post.

Grades

The key grades are around the room to get from Farmington (40″) to Bigelow (60″).  The 20″ difference gives room for benchwork on the top deck.  The grade would be around 1.5% if the towns were on grade.  Keeping the towns level, results in 1.5% to 3% grades.  I set the stiffest grade of 2.9% between Starbirds and Salem, where the prototype had a 4% grade.

The duck-under at the entrance to the room is a manageable clearance height of 50-52″.  Even at 6’4″ tall, I can glide under when the duck-under is a wide 48″.

Concept #6: Track profile, Farmington to Bigelow

One height concern is that Strong is only 44″ above the floor, and only 8″ above the high workbench I had planned there.  Additionally there is a sink and the vent for my spray booth that I hoped would sit on top of the work bench.  If strong were only 12″ wide, this might be manageable, but it is more likely to be 18-24″ at this location.  This height is on the low end for a duck-under for F&M operators to reach the Strong turntable.

Phase 3 – Option 1

In phase 3, the Phillips loop is to be replaced with a complete Phillips and some of the P&R north to Rangeley.  I’ve drafted several options for that, but all of them are underwhelming.  All of them get in Phillips, Madrid (or some middle location) and Rangeley.  Having just two locations north of Phillips seems lame.  4-5 towns seems better, or maybe just a reversing loop (a reversing loop enable equipment to be reused as the prototype did).  Maybe Madrid and a reversing loop would be optimal.

Option 1 contains Phillips, Madrid, Rangeley, and a branch for logging.

Concept #1: Phase 3 option 1 for Phillips and on to Rangeley

Phase 3 Option 2

Similar to Option 1, Option 2 has a short logging branch.  In both option 1&2, Madrid and Rangeley are close together adding to the “lame factor”.  In both Phillips is well represented and has it’s proper curve to the right when approaching from Strong.

Concept #6: Phase 3 Option 2 for Phillips and on to Rangeley

Phase 3 Option 3

Option 3 makes the best use of the space, has the longest run, and longest distance between locations.  It does not support a logging branch as well. and worst of all, it flips Phillips around.  It could be modeled prototypically, but trains would be entering the wrong end, or it could be modeled in mirror or some odd combination.

All of the options suffer with a short run.  There is no good place to have a reversing loop or staging.  If the railroad terminates at Rangeley, then it can go uphill to obtain a better viewing height of say 53-55″ at Rangeley.

Operations

Phase 1 would operate well with 3 operators to run the full contingent of F&M trains.  With phase 2 the same 3 operators could run all the way to Farmington or 2 additional crews could be added to operated the SRRR between Farmington and Phillips.  This full layout could keep 7+ operators busy in TT&TO operations.  Positions that could be modeled:

  • Dispatcher
  • 1-2 Station Agents
  • 1 Farmington to Rangeley through Passenger Train crews (could use a single consist, less to model)
  • 2 SRRR/P&R crews (Farmington to Phillips to Rangeley)
  • 2-3 F&M crews (Strong to Bigelow)

Each crew would have it’s own engine, so that’s only 6-8 engines locomotives (Reasonably close to the current 5 available).

Things I like about this concept

  • Reasonable project with good phasing for construction.
  • Includes the my top locations to model.

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • Final phase (phase 3) seems “lame”
Posted in Layout Design, The Dream | 2 Comments

Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #5- Another attempt at Single Deck

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  Only the fittest concepts move on to become detailed plans.

Concepts #3 and #4 focused on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips) and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow) and Concept #5 does the same in a single deck form.  The single deck simplifies construction and phasing.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

Rather than mushrooming Farmington and Bigelow, Concept #5 places the two locations back to back on opposite sides of a backdrop.  An optional connection between Bigelow and Farmington as well as another connection at the Phillips covered bridge to Strong could make for a large loop to loop for continuous running (with auto reversing).  Possibly a better option would be to complete the continuous run, be reconnecting the Rangeley staging to the south end of Kingfield.

Bigelow would have plenty of length to add the Sawmill.  Farmington’s upper yard would have to bend or be omitted.  Strong has it’s natural curve to the left (going north from Farmington) and Phillips has its prototype curve to the right (going north from Strong).  However, Phillips is scrunched and aisle way is tight.

Kingfield, as the hub of the F&M has potential but still remains tight (Similar to Concepts #3 and #4).  Might require flipping and have the main go behind the station area.   Salem on the F&M has been removed and the logging between Kingfield and Bigelow becomes an emphasis of the layout.

Aisle arrangement of this version is very good.  As a single deck, the duck-under/gate could be 50+ inches clearance.

Concept #5: Another attempt at a single deck version of the Sn2 SR&RL

Grades

This layout is a single deck, so the only required grade is the one down to Rangeley staging.  As mentioned above, a single deck enables the whole railroad to be build at a good viewing height of say 55-57″.  It also ensures clearance over a 36″ (counter top height) high work bench and sinks.

Operations

This full layout could keep 6-8 operators busy in TT&TO operations.  Positions that could be modeled:

  • Dispatcher
  • Station Agents
  • 1 Farmington to Rangeley through Passenger Train crew (could use a single consist, less to model)
  • 2 SRRR/P&R crews (Farmington to Phillips to Rangeley)
  • 2-3 F&M crews (Strong to Bigelow)

Each crew would have it’s own engine, so that’s only 6-8 engines locomotives (Reasonably close to the current 5 available).

One operating concern is the lack of intermediate locations.  TT&TO operations are about being out on the line in dark territory, the crew makes decisions to go or not.  All towns are major towns (would have station agent), so there is no “dark feel”.

Phases

A railroad like this is a life time project (20 years or more).  So I’d like to have phases.  Here’s how I see the phases.

  • Phase 1:  Continuous Run:  Bigelow, Carrabassett, Kingfield, Strong (modified to connect Starbirds to South Strong), Baker Stream, Duckunder, continuous run connection.
  • Phase 2: Free-mo Farmington in proper place
  • Phase 3:  Correct Strong, build Phillips peninsula, and add Rangeley Staging.  Optionally, make new continuous run connection from Rangeley to Kingfield.

These phases seem very reasonable.  The first phase goes all the way around the room, but is not complicated or wide.

Things I like about this concept

  • Simple to build
  • Reasonable project with good phasing for construction.
  • Good human flow through the space
  • Includes my top locations to model.
  • Any location could be made Free-mo and added to my collection of locations to take on display (upper decks are hard to make moveable).  This would allow the pieces of the layout to move later on.

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • Kingfield is compromised
  • Short runs between locations, limited “dark” areas, trains go from major town to major town.
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Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #4- Another Partial Mushroom

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  Only the fittest concepts move on to become detailed plans.

Concept #4 is another partial mushroom design. It attempt to fix some of the short comings of Concept #3.   Again, the focus is on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips) and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow).  It reflects that modeling the P&R (Phillips to Rangeley) is not that important to me.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

Like Concept #3, Bigelow and Carrabassett on the F&M are mushroomed above Mapplewood and Farmington of the SRRR.  Bigelow is viewed from the inside of the peninsula and Farmington is viewed from the outside.

The emphasis of the layout is on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips)  and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow).  Both are well represented with the SRRR being 140′ (vs. 121′ of Concept #3) and the F&M being 109′ (vs. 98′ in Concept #3) in length.  The P&R (Phillips to Rangeley) is represented by Rangeley staging below Starbirds.

This concept has 6+ feet for the Bigelow sawmill, much better than the 4 feet of Concept #3.  Farmington has ample length for all three yard areas, but the upper yard would be curved under Carrabassett.  Strong has it’s natural curve to the left (going north from Farmington) and Phillips has its prototype curve to the right (going north from Strong).  However, Phillips is scrunched and aisle way is tight.

Kingfield, as the hub of the F&M has potential but still remains tight.  Might require flipping and have the main go behind the station area.   Salem on the F&M has been removed and the logging between Kingfield and Bigelow becomes an emphasis of the layout.

The long mushroom peninsula present impedes access to the room.  For this reason, I’ve tried to keep the nod-under.  It makes fast access to the workbench/sink area.

Concept #4: Another partial mushroom design for the Sn2 SR&RL

Grades

This layout is on a continuous grade around the outside of the room.  The bottom is Farmington (40″) and the top is Bigelow (62″).  I’ve not calculated the grades, but I think grades around 2% could be used.  The Carrabassett and Mapplewood areas could be quite thin, so could be back to back rather than a mushroom.

A cool feature of the layout is the nod-under.  The track elevation would be 57″ or so, so a 55″ clearance could be had to enter the room.  At roughly 52″ around Kingfield/Starbirds there is sufficient clearance to clear the sink and workbench.

Bigelow (62″) the highest point and Starbirds (52″) share the same aisle.  Thus any platform at that location should be very low.  I’m also cautious to adding a platform there, as it is the access to the sink and workbench.  Most likely step ups would be provided for Bigelow and possibly Carrabassett.

Operations

This full layout could keep 8+ operators busy in TT&TO operations.  Positions that could be modeled:

  • Dispatcher
  • 1-2 Station Agents
  • 1 Farmington to Rangeley through Passenger Train crews (could use a single consist, less to model)
  • 2 SRRR/P&R crews (Farmington to Phillips to Rangeley)
  • 2-3 F&M crews (Strong to Bigelow)

Each crew would have it’s own engine, so that’s only 6-8 engines locomotives (Reasonably close to the current 5 available).

Phases

A railroad like this is a life time project (20 years or more).  So I’d like to have phases.  Here’s how I see the phases.

  • Phase 1:  Top of the Mushroom:  Bigelow, Carrabassett, Kingfield
  • Phase 2: Free-mo Farmington (Station and middle yard) Placed at Strong, add Starbirds.
  • Phase 3: Farmington moved to final location under Bigelow, temporary Strong passes straight through from Starbirds to South Strong
  • Phase 4:  Correct Strong, build Phillips Peninsula, and add Rangeley Staging.

These phases seem very reasonable, Truly a railroad that grows and grows no bigger than desired at any phase. The layout would be operational at each phase of construction.  However, the phases take up much of the room.  Other concepts leave more real estate in the room through the first 2-3 phases.

Things I like about this concept

  • Reasonable project with good phasing for construction.
  • Good human flow through the space
  • Nod-under access
  • No head bumping in the mushroom
  • Includes my top locations to model.

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • Kingfield is compromised
  • Phillips yard and engine facilities are compromised
  • Phillips aisle under is tight and pushed nearly under the stairs
  • Human flow through the room is convoluted (has a bit of cool factor, but would get old in day to day modeling and layout work)
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Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #3- Partial Mushroom

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  Only the fittest concepts move on to become detailed plans.

Concept #3 is a partial mushroom design.  That avoids the ceiling beams and heating ducts.  The focus is on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips) and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow).  It reflects that modeling the P&R (Phillips to Rangeley) is not that important to me.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

In this design, Bigelow and and Carrabassett on the F&M are mushroomed above Mapplewood and Farmington of the SRRR.  Bigelow is viewed from the inside of the peninsula and Farmington is viewed from the outside.  The emphasis of the layout is on the SRRR (Farmington to Phillips)  and the F&M (Strong to Bigelow).  Both are well represented with the SRRR being 121′ and the F&M being 98′ in length.  The P&R (Phillips to Rangeley) is represented by Rangeley staging below Starbirds.  In general, I’m OK to omit the P&R, as most of the modeling redundant to the F&M, it is logging and lumber.

Bigelow is tight.  The 4 feet for the sawmill is not sufficient to do it justice.  Farmington would probably be acceptable.  Farmington’s upper yard would either be skipped or bent around the peninsula. Strong has it’s natural curve to the left (going north from Farmington) and Phillips has ist prototype curve to the right (going north from Strong).  Kingfield, as the hub of the F&M is grossly underwhelming.  Quite likely Kingfield would have to be freelanced significantly, possibly without a stub.

The Kingfield/Farmington aisle is tight.  I’m not sure there is sufficient room for operators.

Concept #3: A partial Mushroom

Grades

This layout is on a continuous grade around the outside of the room.  The bottom is Farmington (40″) and the top is Bigelow (62″).  I’ve not calculated the grades, but I think grades around 2% could be used.  The Carrabassett and Mapplewood areas could be quite thin, so could be back to back rather than a mushroom.

A cool feature of the layout is the nod-under.  The track elevation would be 57″ or so, so a 55″ clearance could be had to enter the room.  I’d see the Bigelow aisle having a 5-8″ platform.  A gate would be provide to directly enter the layout.  At roughly 52″ around Salem/Starbirds there is sufficient clearance to clear the sink and workbench.

Operations

This full layout could keep 8+ operators busy in TT&TO operations.  Positions that could be modeled:

  • Dispatcher
  • 1-2 Station Agents
  • 1 Farmington to Rangeley through Passenger Train crews (could use a single consist, less to model)
  • 2 SRRR/P&R crews (Farmington to Phillips to Rangeley)
  • 2-3 F&M crews (Strong to Bigelow)

Each crew would have it’s own engine, so that’s only 6-8 engines locomotives (Reasonably close to the current 5 available).

Phases

A railroad like this is a life time project (20 years or more).  So I’d like to have phases.  Here’s how I see the phases.

  • Phase 1:  Top of the Mushroom:  Bigelow, Carrabassett, Kingfield:
  • Phase 2: Free-mo Farmington (Station and middle yard) Placed at Salem
  • Phase 3: Farmington moved to location of Strong, add Salem and Starbird
  • Phase 4: Farmington moved to final location under Bigelow, temporary strong passes straight through from Starbirds to South Strong
  • Phase 5:  Correct Strong, build Phillips Peninsula, and add Rangeley Staging.

These phases seem very reasonable, Truly a railroad that grows and grows no bigger than desired at any phase. The layout would be operational at each phase of construction.

Things I like about this concept

  • Reasonable project with good phasing for construction.
  • Good human flow through the space
  • Nod-under access
  • No head bumping in the mushroom
  • Includes the my top locations to model.

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • Kingfield is compromised
  • Bigelow sawmill is highly compressed
  • Kingfield/Farmington Aisle is tight
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Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #2- Two Deck + Mushroom

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  When available, I add additional details.

The second concept is two deck version that is point to point.  It includes my key locations of Farmington (all three yards well represented), Strong, Kingfield (proper orientation with long stub), Bigelow, Phillips, Rangeley, Marbles and More.  There is over 304′ of mainline yet ample open space so that it does not seem crowded.  Most of the layout is double deck, but with 30% of the layout on mushroom operators can focus on their own trains.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

The concept has ample room to do Kingfield justice.  On top of the orientation is correct so that Kingfield could loop correct.  There would be some compression of the stub, near the turning mill, but the depot and engine house could be captured nearly completely.  (This past summer I designed Kingfield to fit into Gary White’s space, I’ve pasted that version into the concept for reference).

Strong has it’s natural curve to the left (going north from Farmington) and Phillips has it prototype curve to the right (going north from Strong).

Farmington would stop 3-4 feet short of Starbirds, so that operators on the F&M could watch their trains come down from Kingfield to Strong, and back to the strong station.  Strong would not have a backdrop, so that it could be viewed and operated from both sides.  Likely, a duck-under would be provided for F&M operators at Strong to get to the other side to operate the turntable.  If the duck-under is too low, they can always walk around out and around.

The P&R from Phillips to Rangeley is extensive.  At more than 125′ in length, this is a model railroad in itself.  TT&TO ops could occur on that section alone.  The SR&RL mixed and freight trains originated in Phillips and headed north to Rangeley.  With all of the towns, it would be nice to get in one of the branches (Barnjam, Madrid, Eustis). However, the branches would be hard to represent, as the shelves are narrow and high.

Concept #2: SR&RL on double deck with mushroom – Level 1

Concept #2: SR&RL on double deck with mushroom – Level 2

Grades

This layout is on a continuous grade around the outside of the room.  The bottom is Bigelow (36″) and the top is Eustis (68″).  A mild grade of 1.4% would connect the two locations.  However, I want my towns to be level or near level for switching.  So using the profile option within XTrkCad I was able to set new grades.

Railroad profile for continuous grade around room and top of mushroom. Starts with Bigelow on left and ends with Rangely on the right.  Click on image to see full size.

Like the prototype, the grades are steeper on the branches.  The track level between decks is kept at 16″.  Thus the opening to view would be around 14″.  Since much of the layout is 48″ or higher and narrow, I think 14″ is adequate.

The entrance is crossed twice with the lowest being 36″.  That is a concern.  One way around that would be to shorten Bigelow and pull it away from the wall.  Thus, entering the room around the back of Bigelow, with a duck-under only for the upper level.  Even though I say duck-under, I expect to be a gate too.

Of the major towns, only Bigelow and Kingfield are below my optimal viewing height.  At 36″, Bigelow could be operated from a rolling chair and Kingfield a stool, thus easing the height challenge.  Farmington, Strong, Phillips, and Madrid would all be at a good height.  The 68″ top height is nearly acceptable to me (I’m 76″ tall).  However, it does not work for my friends (as short as 69″) wife (65″) or 8 year old son (53″).  He would only be able to see 1/3 of the lower deck.  A 10-12″ step in the mushroom would alleviate some of the problems, but it causes new problems for me.  There are two beams and a heating duck.  I slide under them with 5-6″ of clearance so a 5″ step would be acceptable…but not work for my friends…So the only choice is to lower Bigelow to 30″.  As for the challenge of my son’s height, I could start at the bottom and grow the layout up with him.

Operations

This full layout could keep 10+ operators busy in TT&TO operations.  Positions that could be modeled:

  • Dispatcher
  • 2 Station Agents
  • 2 Farmington to Rangeley through Passenger Train crews
  • 2 SRRR crews (Farmington to Phillips)
  • 2-3 F&M crews (Strong to Bigelow)
  • 2-3 P&R crews (Phillips to Rangeley)

Each crew would have it’s own engine, so that’s 10-12 locomotives (Note, only 5 are currently available).  There’s plenty to do.  Sessions could be broken into two sessions to represent a day.

Phases

A railroad like this is a life time project (20 years or more).  So I’d like to have phases.  Here’s how I see the phases:

  • Phase #1:  F&M Bigelow to Phillips
  • Phase #2:  P&R Phillips to Eustis
  • Phase #3:  The mushroom – Strong to Farmington and Eustis to Marbles

Besides just the layout construction, equipment and operations would be part of the phases, as I’d see operating at each phase.

What if I run out of energy after Phase #1 or Phase #2?  Never to build Phase #3? or stalling while doing some other project (such as…live steam, HO Free-mo modern diesels, S-scale or volunteer)   I’d might never build Farmington or Strong (two of my favorite locations), instead I could end up building the P&R, my least favorite portion.  A positive of the phasing is that the middle of the room would remain open.

A second phasing option is to start with the Mushroom and build down to the location of Madrid.  Build two parts (station and middle yard) of Farmington in Free-mo and keep moving it as the layout progresses.  Here is how the phases would be.

  • Phase 1:  Top of mushroom down to Farmington:
    • Bigelow (instead of Rangeley) to Eustis, to Free-mo Farmington (at Readington)
  • Phase 2: Move Farmington to Madrid, add Readington
  • Phase 3: Add Madrid, Phillips, Strong, and move Farmington to Proper Location
  • Phase 4: F&M to Kingfield Stub
  • Phase 5: Rangeley, Carrabassett and Bigelow moved to proper location.

This second approach is more natural progression, ensures the presence of a standard to narrow gauge junction at all phases.  However, it does not go well for allowing my son to enjoy it.  The early phases would be over my son’s head (not a way to capture young model railroaders).  The second phasing option leaves the entrance open for several phases, and only crosses it a low level on the 5th phase.

Things I like about this concept

  • Spacious – Open space for socializing
  • Kingfield Stub is accurate in orientation and on a stub into the aisle
  • Strong, Phillips, Rangeley, Marbles all work well.
  • Long main lines, plenty of running – 304′ total
  • Includes all major portions of the SR&RL, could not ask for more.

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • 68″ height of railroad within Mushroom is too high for ceiling (beams)
  • Complications of building a mushroom
  • Grades are significant – Testing required to prove acceptable
  • 14″ viewing window for many scenes is a concern
  • Crosses entrance twice, with one time being so low as to force a gate.
  • No continuous run
  • Is this too big!
Posted in Layout Design, The Dream | 1 Comment

Dream Sn2 SR&RL: Concept #1- Single Deck

A concept diagram is a sketch to see what will fit into a given space.  Additionally, I can use the profile capabilities in XTrkCAD to estimate track length and grades.  When available, I add additional details.

The first concept is a single deck version that provides for a continuous run.  It includes my key locations of Farmington (all three yards well represented), Strong, Kingfield (extremely compressed), Bigelow, and Phillips.

Reference map of the SR&RL

The Concept

A backdrop would separate the F&M at between Carrabassett and Bigelow would be separated from the P&R at Madrid.  The P&R like would be too short to represent the whole of the P&R.  So it seem like a better choice would be to model the Madrid branch and have a Rangeley staging yard under Carrabassett.  The Madrid branch would provide an option to model several logging and pulpwood loading spurs.  There isn’t an option for the P&R to have a reversing loop, as the radius would be too tight under at the end of the peninsula.

The prototype Kingfield was located on a stub.  There is insufficient room at Kingfield for a faithful representation.  As a whole, the concept is “tight”.  It fully fills the space leaving little social space.

Farmington would stop 3-4 feet short of Starbirds, so that operators on the F&M could watch their trains come down from Kingfield to Strong, and back to the strong station.  A backdrop would separate Farmington from Kingfield, and I see the backdrop wrapping around the south end of Strong, so that operators at Farmington would not easily see what is going on in Strong.  It might be possible to enable operators to duck under from Starbirds to Strong.

The layout height would be a nominal 55″ for nice viewing.  Near the drain at center of the room, it would effectively be 60″

Concept #1: A single deck version of the SR&RL

Operations

I see 3 operators running trains between Farmington and Phillips and on to Rangeley staging.  I think 2 operators could run the F&M between Strong and Kingfield.  The layout could run in TT&TO if desired.  The sawmills at Bigelow and Madrid would receive log trains.  The layout would do a good job of simulating the meeting of trains at Strong.

Things I like about this concept

  • Single Deck (Easy to construct, all scenes at optimal viewing height)
  • Grades are optional, not required
  • Continuous running loop
  • Logging scenes on Madrid branch

Things I don’t like about this concept

  • Tight on aisle space, no room to socialize, congested
  • Kingfield could not be faithful
  • Limited running space between towns (total visible mainline is 213′)
  • Access to Strong from F&M line (Kingfield line)
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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…
  • I GUESS I DO NOT WANT THE DREAM TO OVERWHELM ME!
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