CP Executive train in Albany

CP Executive train in Albany

Thursday, May 11, 2017

On30: Maine 2-footers

Picture a WWII submarine in a movie: the main lights have just gone out; red blinking emergency panel indicators are flashing; a warning alarm is ringing on and off; and the sub begins to list on its side. That is likely the scenario going on in my brain right now!

I have kept this blog pretty much devoted to the D&H Colonie Main layout I am working on, but I have lots of other railroad interests. I am building a 7.25" gauge, 1/3 scale Welsh Steam Locomotive. I collect Arcade and Attica RR memorabilia and models. I have many G scale trains, both electric and live steam powered. In short, I am like many of you.

Every year I try and ride a different train, and sometimes it falls on my birthday weekend which happens to be around Memorial Day. This year, my wife and I decided to take a long weekend and escape to Maine to ride some of the 2-foot gauge trains. Their history is fascinating, and rooted in Welsh narrow gauge lines which I love. When we attended the Springfield Train show in January, there in the parking lot right next to our bus was #11 from the Boothbay Railway Village.

Future blog posts will highlight our trip more, but along the way I thought it might be neat to build a couple of Maine 2-foot cars to remember our trip. This got me to thinking about Bachmann's On30 train line.

Before you start yelling at me, I know that they aren't "prototypical." I understand that they model-wise appear to be 30" gauge, and thus most of the Bachmann equipment looks wrong for 2-foot models. An excellent website by Scot Lawrence contains all the information you could possibly want if you decided to convert them into an On2 model. But, I can live with the compromises. My layout will have HO track, and so when no one is looking I can run On30 trains on it. As long as the clearances are okay, I should be fine.

So, I decided to start researching what models I might see on my trip. We are going to visit the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, the Boothbay Railway Village, and the Maine Narrow Gauge Railway Museum. I came across Deerfield River Laser, who manufacturer Maine two-foot kits which can be built as On2 models or you can mount them on On30 trucks. The basis for the kits are Bachmann's coaches, which are cut up and stretched.

Not knowing much about Maine 2-foot prototypes, and not wanting to invest a lot of money in books to research it, I reached out to D.R.L. and talked with the owners. It turns out that four of their coach kits are based on prototypes that still exist today. They were extremely generous with their time and knowledge. Here is what they have that I might run across:

Car Type
Current Owner
Built For
Parlor car “Rangeley”
SR&RL #9
Deerfield River Laser #DRL-O-M09
Jackson & Sharp
WW&F #3
W&Q RR #3
Deerfield River Laser #DRL-O-M10
Combine “Carrabasset”
SR&RL #11
Deerfield River Laser #DRL-O-M11
Laconia Car Co.
SR #5
SR&RL #17
Deerfield River Laser #DRL-O-M17

I bet that there are freight car kits out there matching preserved freight cars, but for right now I just want to build a small passenger train. The Bachmann Forney will be a good match pulling it even though the prototypes for those engines, SR&RL #8 and #9, were both scrapped 80+ years ago.

I took the picture here right before boarding the bus for the ride home. I didn't realize until later that the pink Christmas trees make an eerie image in the cab windows!

This is just a diversion project from my main layout. I cannot see myself jumping in full board with this, and quite possibly in 6 months I will have put this on the shelf. But, for right now it sounds interesting.

1 comment:

  1. Mount Blue Model Company (http://mountbluemodelco.com/products.htm) makes some excellent laser cut kits for box cars, flat cars, cabooses, etc.

    Many are accurate for Maine two foot prototypes.

    Those I've constructed (SR&RL prototype cars) have used Grandt Line On2 trucks, with Reboxx HO scale Code88 wheelsets. THis give the prototypical narrow truck width, but with a 30" gauge wheel - perfect for On30.