What are “the Maine Two Footers”?



The former Monson locomotive #3, seen here at the Portland Narrow Gauge Museum in 1997 is a typical Maine Two Foot locomotive. The narrowness of two foot gauge track is evident at the feet of the onlookers.

What are “the Maine Two Footers”?

Most enthusiasts would recognise them as a group of two foot gauge railroads that were built in Maine from the 1880’s onwards, and operated as common carriers to their local communities until as late as the 1940’s.

They were characterised by using the same locomotives designs, and the same suppliers for rolling stock initially, and later worked co-operatively to develop better and larger locomotives. A number of locomotives and coaches changed lines at various stages of their careers.

The lines are;-

B&SR; – Bridgton and Saco River (after 1927 Bridgton and Harrison B&H)

KC – Kennebec Central

Monson – The Monson

SR&RL – Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes (formerly Sandy River, Franklin & Megantic, Phillips & Rangeley, Eustis) with two associated lines Madrid RR, Kingfield & Dead River RR which were both developed to handle lumber interest in the area, but never had equipment of their own.

WW&F – Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington (formerly Wiscasset & Quebec).

The first two foot gauge common carrier railroad built on the East Coast was the ill fated Billerica & Bedford railroad in Massachusetts which started the interest in two foot railroads but only operated  for nine months, before the equipment was sold to the then building Sandy River Railroad.

A lot of the equipment was to later return to Massachusetts when the remnants of the Bridgton and Harrison line and two Monson locomotives plus other various equipment were collected at South Carver to form the Edaville Railroad, which ran from 1947 until initial closure in 1993.

In line with most enthusiasts, this FAQ’s will use the term “the Maine Two Footers” to refer to and include all the above named lines. Further information on these lines can be obtained from a number of sources.

For more information about the B&SR locomotives click here.

For more information about the KC locomotives click here.

For more information about the Monson locomotives click here.

For more information about the SR&RL locomotives click here.

For more information about the WW&F locomotives click here.

Listed below are some resources currently available on the internet;-

Maine, an Encyclopedia


Has a useful map showing the locations of all of the Maine Two Footers (click on image to enlarge in your browser). Some of the historical facts presented about the SR&RL are believed to be suspect.
Bridgton Historical Society
B&SR Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridgton_and_Saco_River_Railroad
Kennebec Central Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennebec_Central_Railroad
Monson Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monson_Railroad

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad http://srrl-rr.org/
SR&RL Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_River_and_Rangeley_Lakes_Railroad
WW&F Railway Museum  http://www.wwfry.org/
WW&FR Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiscasset,_Waterville_and_Farmington_Railway
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org/
Wikipedia page: Narrow Gauge railroads in Maine
Current Edaville theme park site
Brian Carter has a very useful website about the Maine Two Footers at;- http://www.narrowgauge.iform.com.au/m2f.html

Written by Terry Smith 11-Aug-2013, updated 02-03-2015.

Painted Kadee couplers

23-04-2017: This is a temporary post to illustrate another current thread on the Maine On2 Yahoo! group.


The above picture shows 4 standard HO Kadee couplers, as used as the “de-facto” standard for On2 by many modellers. Some other modellers do not like the appearance of the knuckle spring. The top and bottom couplers are unpainted. The middle two have been airbrushed with paints depicting a fresh orange rust colour (2nd from top) and an alternate darker brown rust (3rd from top).

Take a look to see if you think the knuckle spring is that obvious on the painted versions. Clicking on the picture will load a larger version into your browser window.

The Precision Scale ¾ MCB knuckle coupler.

Model couplers –  the Precision Scale ¾ MCB knuckle coupler.

A temporary post to illustrate a current thread on the Maine On2 Yahoo! group.

Precision Scale Models have a scale ¾ MCB knuckle coupler in their extensive product range of brass parts. Part number PSH-4032-2 is described as On3 coupler, regular shank, slotted knuckle.

Dimensions: the piece of wire is 1.197″ long: the knuckle on the left measures 0.186″ high: the left coupler body measures 0.254″ across its maximum width and the left coupler shank measures 0.095 – 0.097 wide.

The Precision Scale part is accurately scaled, with a working knuckle released by a working pin that can be operated by a working cut lever. It would make a nice front coupler for any On2 loco that only very occasionally needs a working front coupler, but it does require careful assembly.

Jerry Kitts of Foothill Model Works wrote of his experience with these couplers on his Westside logging models: “I have been using both the PSC and Back Shop 3/4 size MCB working couplers but they tend to uncouple at all the wrong times. I keep going back to using Kadee #26.”


We are four, ……… with 4000 revisions!

It is four years since we went public with this blog. On that day, we started with just 36 topics/posts, mostly picture based, showing historic On2 layouts and some of the brass models that had been produced commercially.

The number of topics grew rapidly to over 110 by our first anniversary in 2014, and today, on our fourth anniversary the more rounded blog consists of 185 topics/posts and 4 pages.

What does not show publicly, are the numerous, often small additions and changes that occur as a result of additional information or understandings after a topic has been published. According to information contained within a management file, the Maine On2 FAQ’s blog is now close to having had some 4000 revisions since it was started.

While we try to identify and publicise major revisions of existing popular topics, these constant small revisions are one of the reasons why we encourage viewers to call back at intervals, as new information or pictures may be presented and errors or omissions corrected.

Thanks to all our contributors,

Terry, Matt and Trevor.

Maine Industries in the Two Foot Era (1880 – 1940) – some resources by Tom Hoermann

Tom Hoermann gave a clinic titled “Maine Industries in the Two Foot Era (1880 – 1940)” at the 36th National Narrow Gauge Convention held in Augusta, Maine in September 2016. To accompany this clinic, Tom gave out a hard copy document listing some of the resources that he used to develop the clinic, and has given us a copy and permission to publish on the FAQ’s for those persons who were unable to attend the Convention. Thanks Tom!   

Picture of the Portland Company building located at 58 Fore Street, Portland added for the FAQ’s.

The purpose of every railroad is to move people, raw materials, and/or finished goods from place to place. This clinic will examine the inter-relationship between various industries and the railroads in Maine during the period 1880 – 1940, using lots of photographs.  Topics include: farming and fishing; logging, lumber, wood and paper; mineral extraction and processing; light and heavy manufacturing; recreation and tourism; construction and transportation.  Information on interesting and unusual prototypes will provide plenty of ideas for your layout, modules, and mini-scenes!

There are an increasing number of resources to prospect when looking for information on a prototype, its history, and images of it. Here are the major printed references I used for this clinic:

A Day’s Work: A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs, 1860 – 1920, Parts I & II

Annotated and Compiled by W. H. Bunting, Tilbury House, Publishers, Gardiner, Maine; and Maine Preservation, Portland, Maine

Part I, October 1997, ISBN 0-88448-188-3 Part II, August 2000, ISBN 0-88448-206-5

All Aboard for Yesterday! A Nostalgic History of Railroading in Maine

Malcolm Barter, Editor, Down East Books, Camden, Maine, 1979. ISBN 0-89272-053-0

A Pictorial History of Maine

Thomas M. Griffiths & Arthur M. Griffiths, A Monmouth Press Edition, printed by Twin City Printery, Lewiston, Maine

(date and ISBN unknown)

Books from the Images of America Series

Arcadia Publishing, an imprint of Tempus Publishing, Inc., Charleston, SC

This series continues to expand; check their website ( www.arcadiapublishing.com ) for current titles. Note that since these books are authored by many different individuals and local historical societies, the quality of text and photographs varies from book to book.  But they all provide a lot of photographs with captions on their title subject all in one volume.

Logging and Lumbering in Maine

Donald A. Wilson, 2001, ISBN 0-7385-0521-8

Maine Life at the Turn of the Century, through the Photographs of Nettie Cummings Maxim

Diane and Jack Barnes, 1995, ISBN 0-7524-0240-4

Maine’s Steamboating Past

Donald A. Wilson, 2007, ISBN 0-7385-4964-4

The Portland Company, 1846 – 1982

David H. Fletcher, 2002, ISBN 0-7385-1140-4

Togus, Down in Maine: The First National Veterans Home

Timothy L. Smith, 1998, ISBN 0-7254-0998-0

Online Resources

The internet fulfills its promise as a means of accessing and sharing information on historical topics. Search engines enable us to find museums, historical societies, libraries, and other institutions; and then to virtually wander through their archives and collections of photographs.  But if you have the opportunity to visit these brick-and-mortar facilities, I encourage you to do so.  Virtual reality has its benefits; but in my opinion, nothing compares to standing next to an actual object that has seen years of actual use, be it a hand-made berry basket, a quilt, a painting, a carpenter’s plane, or a Portland Forney.

The following list includes the websites that I used to develop this clinic:

Maine Memory Network; a project of the Maine Historical Society

Maine Historical Society, Portland

Maine History Online

Vintage Maine Images, Portland

Maine State Museum, Augusta

Maine Maritime Museum, Bath

Maine Forest & Logging Museum, Bradley

Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, Portland

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, Alna

Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railway Museum, Phillips

The Stanley Museum, Kingfield

Maine Granite Industry Museum, Mt. Desert

Maine Folklife Center, University of Maine, Orono

Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Owl’s Head, Portland

Patten Lumbermen’s Museum, Patten

Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport

The American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA (Chace Catalogue)

Of course, there are many more online resources, including the websites of the many historical societies and libraries throughout Maine, the US, and the world. Also, check out media websites such as YouTube to see videos of operating machines and models.

I hope this clinic has provided some useful information and entertainment. But if you have been inspired to do some research on subjects close to your own home, interests, and hobbies (especially your railroad!), then we have really accomplished something!

If you do incorporate your research into your models, I hope that you will share your work and inspire the rest of us. And most importantly, please consider making a contribution of your time, your expertise, and/or your financial support to your favorite historical society, museum, or library.


Maine On2 layouts – Peter Barney’s SR&RL

The first set of pictures following appear here by courtesy of Koji Yuen of Okayama, Japan and Peter Barney, who also supplied the captions. They were taken by Koji when Peter’s home layout featured in the Layout Tours of the 22nd National Narrow Gauge Convention of Warwick, RI in 2002.

Peter’s On2 layout almost fills the basement of his home in southern Massachusetts. The line is a point to point reproduction of the SR&RL from Farmington to Phillips, Strong and Rangeley. The line is wrapped around and threaded through the walls in the basement which support the house above, presenting the line as a series of vignettes and operating areas, and not offering any one viewpoint which shows the complete extent of the line.

Peter advises that much of the line, except the Farmington area has been rebuilt since these pictures were taken, and an example is shown at the end of the 2002 pictures.

The author’s own recollection of his visit to the line (in the late 1980’s) is that many of the mills were built large enough to correctly dwarf the trains.



Farmington yard. While shorter than the original does have the feel and the standard gauge lines crossing two foot gauge lines.



Looking north toward Phillips. The model yard was a mirror image of the real Phillips yard.


Phillips yard; the roundhouse had three full stalls, then 7 fake stalls against the wall.



# 18 switching Phillips yard.



The International Mill in Phillips made from plastic engine house walls.



Freight train going through Dead River.


Peter’s modeling was not limited to the SR&RL in On2, but extended to the other Maine Two Footers being given running rights over the SR&RL layout; the basement also housed Peter’s Kennebec Central layout which was featured in Railroad Model Craftsman. The picture below shows the Sandy River being invaded from trains from Fiji. Peter made the locomotives from Mantua/Tyco 0-6-0 mechanisms narrowed to On2. …………..Sweet!


Like many On2 modelers, Peter also models in the large scales in his garden.


To visit Koji Yuen’s website showing his railroad models click here. An English language page is available.

Some more of Peter Barney’s modeling.


This picture shows the latest section of the layout that Peter has re-built – the Clary Mill with Wiscasset #6. Click on the picture to view at a larger scale.



Peter built this module of Bridgton for the Bridgton Historical Society, where it is now on display.



In 2015, the WW&FR Museum of Alna, Maine commissioned Peter to build this module to show visitors what the Wiscasset water front looked like when the line ran down that far in the 1900’s.





Top posts for 2016

The editors would like to thank all the contributors for their material used in the past year, our most viewed so far, and also to wish them a Happy New Year. Visitor and viewing numbers for 2016 were the highest recorded within a full calendar year, both being up by more than 25% on the previous years figures.

Here are our most viewed posts for the calendar year 2016;-

#1 – Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Megantic module; published 15th February 2016.

#2- MaineOn2 layouts – Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR.

#3 – Library of Congress – Vintage Aerial views; published 1st January 2016.

#4 – Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module; re-published on blog 26th   February 2016.

#5 –Maine On2 Layouts – Bob Brown’s Wiscasset dock.

#6 – Minimum radius and big Forneys – On30 version.

Yet again, this is a rather different listing compared to those of the previous years, with three of the top four positions being taken by new topics posted this year. Bob Harper earned a well deserved top placing with his new module Megantic which has now been shown at a number of UK venues, and he also placed fourth with his older Franklin module which made it across the pond to the National Narrow Gauge Convention at Augusta, Maine in September. In October, back in the UK, Franklin was awarded the David Lloyd Trophy for the “Best Layout in Show” by popular vote at the Expo Narrow Gauge Show held at Swanley, Kent. This is the biggest show in the UK devoted to small scale Narrow Gauge Railway Modelling.

The number of specific viewings of Megantic this year sets a new record for the highest number of views recorded within a calendar year, and it scored more than second and third places combined.

The nationality of viewers was pretty stable, with some 74% of the 2016 viewings being made from the USA, with the United Kingdom in second place with some 7% and Canada in third place with 5%.The blog has recorded visits from 73 different countries around the globe this year.

This year has seen the largest number of new topics posted within a calendar year, apart from our start up in 2013. This can be attributed to our chief scribe using his last year’s Christmas present to himself (50 years of the Gazette on DVD) to satisfy his own curiosity about the early days of commercial On2 in the 1970’s and sharing his findings on the blog.

We hope that our viewers have found the site of interest over the last year.

We have more topics and content in-process, so keep coming back in the coming year.