Thursday, June 5, 2014

This is a video taken by Ric Collins on his backyard Mt Greta 32mm railroad.  I had taken my 5/8ths scale Roundhouse #24 over to Ric's for it's maiden trip.  The engine had been steamed up before, but I never had a 1.25" gauge (32mm) track to run on.

I  hope to have a garden in the backyard in a few years and will then have a place to run it and my other 2 foot engine, an Argyle #20, also in 5/8ths scale.






Sunday, June 1, 2014

SRRL Layout Tour Farmington to Rangeley




Last month I finished the lower level roadbed which runs from Farmington to Rangeley.  I have not yet put down any 2 foot track, only a bit of P48 track for the Maine Central in Farmington.

The decidedly low tech video above is a "helicopter flight" along the lower level's 455 feet of mainline.  The video gives an idea of the mainline, sidings and yards.  The first gap in the roadbed just north of Farmington yard is where I have to install a lift out bridge into the workshop.  Further along the line there are 3 more gaps where bridges need to be installed.  Here and there I've temporarily placed some buildings just to give the layout a bit more of a railroad look.  These buildings are from John Rogers' and Ric Collins' former layouts.  There isn't any layout lighting yet, only the light is from the overhead aisle lights.  You pass two windows on the trip which will disappear behind the backdrop later in the construction schedule.

Also along the mainline there are three branches; Madrid, Barnjum and Eustis.  While you don't see the Madrid branch on the video, you can see portions of the Barnjum branch as you approach Perham Junction and Eustis Branch between Eustis Junction and Dead River.

An interesting note on the sound track I've included...  In the late 1980's or early 1990's, I was lucky to have a cab ride during one years' Railfan Weekend at Edaville.  That day they were double heading with #8 in the lead followed by #7.  I was riding in the cab of #7 and made a video recording of the entire trip.    While there isn't any track down yet, at least the sounds are genuine Maine 2 foot.

Hope you enjoy the video.... track laying next!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Layout Room

Here are some photos of the layout room.  Please ignore the clutter, some will be moved out of the layout room and some will go under the benchwork.

This is the separate "train room" door that leads upstairs to the layout.








Inside the door, the stairs leading up...

Stairs coming up from entry, located in middle of layout room.

Layout room looking North before starting on room finishes.

Another early view looking North.  By using roof trusses no support columns were needed.

Early view from middle of room looking South

After room finished, standing at Farmington looking North.  Blue tape on floor defines benchwork edges.

Looking North, headed towards Strong at the end of the room.  Here can see the interior walls I built to define the space.  Walls only go 7 feet high to allow air circulation space above.

A view of the early mockup for the level heights.  The top level is there to hold the layout lights illuminating the upper level.  Windows will be blocked off behind backdrop.

Interior shot of future home for Phillips

Shot of interior section of layout.  Good shot of overhead LED lights over aisles.  They dim for operating sessions.

View looking South headed for Rangeley on the lower level and Bigelow on the upper level.

Track Plans: Upper Level

Here are the upper level track plan.  Covers from Strong to Bigelow.


Track Plan, Lower Level

Here is the lower level track plan.  Covers the railroad from Farmington to Rangeley.




Blog Introduction



Hi, my name is Ron and I’ve been interested in Maine Two Footers since the early 70’s and the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes railroad in particular.  For me, as with many, I fell in love with the two footers after reading Moody’s book.  I had been modeling Colorado in Hon3, until one day when my local hobby shop had a Custom Brass #6 and a caboose #556 for sale.  Bought the On2 equipment and sold the Hon3 and been doing SR&RL ever since.

In the 80’s while attending a Narrow Gauge Convention in Denver, I got into a conversation with a friend about modeling the Maine two footers.  My friend innocently asked “how many Maine two footers are there?”.  I had no idea, but I decided to place an advertisement in the back of the Gazette for a “survey”.  One thing led to another and I started the Maine Two Foot Modeler magazine in 1985.  I produced just 9 issues over 28 months, before getting bogged down in not having enough time; work etc just kept getting the way.  Fortunately, Gary Kohler, one of the subscribers volunteered to take over so I handed the fledgling magazine over to him.

For many years I never had time or a good space to model the SR&RL like I wanted to, so I just collected brass and kits.  The usual story.  A few years ago I retired and bought a retirement home in Northern California.  We added a wing to the house which included second floor space for a layout room.  It took several years to finish off the layout room with drywall, HVAC, LED aisle lighting and to develop a trackplan.  I went through seven trackplan versions before settling on version 8, the one included in this blog.  Construction on the layout just really started in December 2013.

Layout Design



I’m building an On2 layout representing the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes railroad set in fall, 1919.  This time period allows for the inclusion of #24 which the railroad received earlier in that year.  I may not adhere strictly to the 1919 era, but in general, that’s the target.  I used the 1916 ICC track plans to guide the design of my trackplan.

While perhaps not the wisest choice I’ve ever made, the layout will be on two levels.  The layout is housed in a dedicated second floor room that is about 25 feet wide and 100 feet long giving a floor space of about 2,400 square feet.  The stairs from the first floor come up in about the middle of the layout room so I was able to avoid any duckunders etc.  However, when not operating, there will be one lift gate for entrance into the small shop area.  I’ve posted separate drawings for the two levels.

The lower level covers the line from Farmington to Rangeley with about 450 feet of mainline.  While going through the design process it’s always a challenge of what to include and what to leave out.  The lower level includes:  Farmington, Maplewood, Strong, Phillips, Madrid, Reeds, Perham Jct, Sluice Hill, Eustis Jct, Dead River and Rangeley including Marbles.  The lower level also has three branches represented.  Madrid will just be a short branch that disappears behind the backdrop and ends in a hidden staging area.  I’ve also included the Barnjum branch taking off from Perham Jct.  While the layout design has a peninsula that includes the mill and yard at Barnjum, I haven’t yet decided if I’ll build this section.  If I leave it out, the floor space between Farmington and Rangeley will be more open, less cramped.  But one of the other issues that comes up if I include this branch is the need for train crews (headed north)  to leave their trains at Reeds and walk around the Barnjum branch benchwork in order to meet up again with their trains before reaching Perham Jct.  Still considering…   The last branch included on the lower level is the Eustis branch leaving Eustis Jct and, on my layout, a short ride to Greene’s Farm.

Also included on the lower level is a loose representation in P48 of the Maine Central in Farmington.  Given Farmington’s location on my layout, the Maine Central leaves Farmington and starts dropping as it heads out of town.  Once clearance under the SR&RL bench work has been reached, the Maine Central tucks underneath the SR&RL and runs to a four track staging area underneath Strong.  This hidden area is not shown on the first level drawing.

The upper level covers the line from Strong to Bigelow with about 330 feet of mainline track.  This level includes: Starbird’s, Hillside, Salem, Kingfield, Spring Farm, Carrabassett, and Bigelow.  To transition from the lower level to the upper level, I rejected a helix because it used too much floor space.  While many advised against it, I finally chose to include a “train elevator” that raises an entire (short, 12 feet) train to the upper level.  By using torsion box construction and linear bearings I’m hoping that this approach will work out.

While I was able to arrange the included towns in the proper order, in some cases I had to invert features.  An example is the Madrid branch…  I’ve included it coming off the mainline in the wrong direction; headed east, not west.  Another example is trains arrive at Marbles station from the wrong direction.  All of these compromises are the result of trying to coil the mainline within the room in an effort to include as much of the railroad as I could.

The minimum radius on the layout is 48” and I’m using #8 turnouts.  I plan on using Precision Scale flex track.  The lower level ranges between 40” and 43” inches off the floor, and the upper level ranges between 60” and 63”.  I’ll be using radio control DCC from NCE.  I’m planning on operating using Timetable and Train Orders.  The Dispatcher’s office will be down stairs from the layout room and will be connected by phone.