Couplers – Maine Two Foot prototype and models.

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Maine Two Footer Prototype couplers – a quick history and overview 

Most of the Maine Two Footers used link and pin couplers in their early days, particularly on freight cars. The B&B was notable in using the Miller Hook on all its equipment, but the line did not last very long. All of the B&B equipment was transferred to the Sandy River. The B&SR Laconia built passenger equipment was also fitted with the Miller Hook.

ICC and other Federal Regulations dating from 1893 forced the introduction of Knuckle couplers on all American railroads. The Maine Two Footers which complied with these regulations appeared to have installed in them in programs, starting with the locomotives and passenger equipment, then freight cars. Most of these knuckle couplers were slotted to allow coupling to link and pin couplers. All of the Maine Two Footers retained this facility as it enabled M-O-W and track maintenance equipment to be moved in regular trains.

Both the SR&RL (date required) and B&SR (all engines and cars fitted with knuckle couplers during 1906 at a cost of $800) are believed to have changed to knuckle couplers completely, and the Wiscasset may also have done so by retiring or not using the link and pin fitted equipment. The KC seems to have retained link and pin couplers (confirmation required).

The Monson line was noted for retaining link and pin couplers to the end of operations in the early 1940’s.

MaineOn2 io group members should note that there was a pretty substantial and thorough discussion of prototype couplers in a couple of threads starting around 13 and 15th April 2006.

Link and Pin coupler – prototype.

This picture shows a Monson flatcar fitted with a link and pin coupler alongside a standard gauge boxcar fitted with a standard Knuckle coupler.

For a picture and article about the prototype standard gauge link and pin coupler on another browser page click here.

The Miller Hook or Miller Platform – prototype.

The Miller hook coupler was a proprietary design aimed at ensuring that cars did not slide over each other in the event of a collision. The Equipment Builders photos of the B&B Railroad state that each piece of rolling stock was equipped with these couplers. The major use of these couplers was for passenger rolling stock when used with the Miller Platform.

For further information about the Miller Hook/Platform on another browser page click here.

Knuckle coupler – prototype.

The Maine Two Footers that used knuckle couplers fitted the ¾ MCB knuckle coupler with a slotted knuckle. The picture above shows a young Dwight Smith standing on the pilot of B&SR/B&HR Loco #8 in 1940, fitted with a ¾ MCB slotted knuckle coupler.

For further information about knuckle couplers on another browser page click here.

Model couplers – Kadee HO knuckle coupler as a de facto standard for On2

Way back in November 2000, Bill Kerr wrote, in response to an enquiry on the Yahoo! group board: “..traditionally, Kadee #5 couplers are the standard choice for Maine On2, but I suspect there will be a move to the Sergent “S” scale coupler.”

The wide availability of the Kadee and other similar knuckle couplers for HO, and their operational capabilities mean that the Kadee #5 coupler became the de facto standard for Maine On2 modellers. There are alternatives such as the Sergent coupler or the use of a link and pin coupler, but these are rare.

On2 Coupler height should be set for coupler center to be 16-17″ above rail height.  There is a  coupler height gauge made by AMB’s John Hitzeman.

In response to a Yahoo! group enquiry asking for clarification about coupler heights in 2009, Terry Smith wrote:

On2;- I build my own On2 cars to the prototype derived dimension of  18″ from the underside of the underframe to the rail head………and then I fit an HO Kadee coupler on each end……it works for me and  seems to match the brass loco’s that I have. I don’t refer to the  NMRA Standard for this, no need to.

Maine style On30;- based on my past experience as a small scale  manufacturer,  then all those On30 customers who had real votes (ie dollar bills) chose to build their On30 cars at a scale 21″ underside of the underframe to the rail head dimension and floor mount their couplings which then matched with the rest of their On30 stock.

Definitions; I find it far simpler to define an underfloor height as a coupler mounting surface and then mount the coupler than work to a rather nebulous and complicated centre of knuckle height.

Terry later noted (in 2013) that the NMRA correct coupler height will result from using the proper car floor to rail dimension of 18″ (prototype) or .375″ (model) and normal Kadee HO couplers (#5 and similar) in their normal draft gear/boxes mounted with their topsides against the floor.

Mark Hall wrote a good article of representing prototypical coupler boxes when using Kadee couplers in M2FM 1989 Vol 21.

In May 2013 Terry Smith posted to the MaineOn2 board; –

In the many discussions over the years about what couplers were used on the Maine Two Footers and their sizes and what coupler to use with On2 models, the one thing that mildly concerned me was that I had never thought that the Kadee HO couplers I use actually looked out of place on my own stock in comparison with the full size Maine Two Foot cars that I had seen at Edaville, Portland and other places, or with various published historical photo’s in standard texts.

I have now finally managed to print out an end-on photograph of one of my own boxcar models with approximately the same perspective as some pictures of the full size car taken at Edaville and the earlier historical photographs from the B&SR. The ratios of boxcar width to coupler knuckle heights in the photographs are Edaville 11.2; Model 11.2; Bridgton 10.7.

It seems to me that the standard HO Kadee coupler is a pretty good match sizewise for those fitted to the B&SR Boxcars.

Shown below are Terry’s photos of (L) one of his models with a Kadee coupler and (R) prototype car at Edaville.

coupler11  coupler12

The Kadee #5 knuckle measures 0.146″ top to bottom, this is equivalent to 7″ full size in US O scale. The knuckle may be oversize for HO scale, but seems to be the right size for On2.

A search through the past messages of the Yahoo! group in 2014 showed that the height of the knuckle of the ¾ MCB coupler used on the prototype is 6 3/4″ or 0.141″ in US O scale, so the Kadee #5 is pretty close!

The so-called “elephant in the room”

Some modelers have issues with the appearance of the Standard Kadee HO coupler, in particular the spring that closes the knuckle. The coupler (and spring) can be painted (as in the model boxcar photo above) – check out the spring – is it really that obvious?

The above picture shows a close up of 4 standard HO Kadee couplers, as used as the “de-facto” standard for On2 by many modellers. 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).

Clicking on the picture will load a larger version into your browser window.

Model couplers –  scale ¾ MCB knuckle coupler.

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.”

Model couplers – Link and Pin Couplers

Foothill Model Works list a link and pin coupler set in their current product range – part number FMW – 4005, based on a Westside Lumber Company prototype. Click here to view on another browser page.

Coronado Scale Models also listed a number of different link and pin coupler sets in their own range of brass castings  (confirmation of current availability and part numbers required). CP-118, CP-138 & CP-140.

Model couplers – working Link and Pin Couplers

Harold Minky has a web site showing his designs for working link and pin couplers in O scale narrow gauge, click here to view on another browser page.

Model couplers – Sergent – Trevor Marshall’s experience and evaluation of Sergent Couplers.

FAQ’s fellow editor, Trevor Marshall has done a lot of experimenting with the Sergent coupler in both On2 and S scale standard gauge.

Readers should note that Trevor’s current use of Kadee couplers on his S scale layout is more to do with his own reliability of assembly of Sergent couplers than their inherent design. Trevor has said many times that if factory assembled Sergent’s were available in S scale then he would use them.

tpmcoup01

This picture shows one of Trevor’s S&PCC boxcars (based on a SR&RL prototype) fitted with the HO scale Sergent coupler.

tpmcoup03

This underside view shows how neatly the HO scale Sergent coupler fits between the wheels of the Grandt Line freight truck.

tpmcoup02

This picture shows one of Trevor’s caboose’s fitted with “S” scale Sergent couplers.

Trevor wrote (back in 2004 or 2005);- I’m very pleased with the appearance. The coupler head scales out to about 10″ square, which looks about right. I even add a small piece of chain between the coupler and the cut lever – there’s space near the back of the top of the coupler head to drill a small hole and anchor the chain with an HO scale eyebolt. In doing tests with these, I did note that using Sergents seriously affects layout design – it will force you to keep everything within easy reach because you need to be able to reach equipment for coupling as well as uncoupling. There are benefits to this, however:

1 – If everything’s within coupling reach, it’s also within reach for building and maintaining track, cleaning track, etc.

2 – The need to open a knuckle before coupling increases the amount of work the crew does, which takes time and therefore makes the run seem longer (something from which all layouts can benefit).

3 – The Sergents are just more realistic. They’d be incredibly frustrating on a large, operations oriented layout (like an HO club layout with several hundred cars to move in a session)…. but who in On2 is doing that?

As for height, I use a little laser cut coupler height gauge made by AMB’s John Hitzeman. I’ve attached a Sergent coupler to the top of it (without the ball bearing), and use this to set the height on my equipment. Usually, this requires a spacer between the locomotive frame and the coupler box. I’ve been building my own coupler boxes, as I’ve yet to find one that these couplers fit into. The hole in the coupler shaft is smaller than that in a Kadee #5, so the plastic tube in a #5 coupler box is too big to fit through the Sergent coupler. Some good coupler boxes (laser cut acrylic, perhaps, John?) would be a great benefit for these.

Update: Feb 2005: Having tried my own coupler boxes for several months now, I decided to try some Kadee coupler boxes. The boxes for Kadee’s S std gauge/On3 couplers (same box) fit the Sergent’s perfectly. By cutting them to discard everything behind the two mounting holes, they’ll fit between the wheels of an On2 car and not interfere with the outboard axle. The Kadee S boxes provide better coupler swing and are easier to install. I was able to bulk order 100 boxes directly from Kadee. (www.kadee.com).

More thoughts on Couplers from Trevor Marshall, including a comparison between Kadees and Sergents, originally posted the MaineOn2 group 25th April 2006:

Those interested in a scale size coupler as operating on the Maine lines during their heyday should probably engage in further research before jumping on the Sergent S scale bandwagon (as attractive as that seems).

One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned in this coupler debate is the giant spring on the side of every Kadee coupler, that controls the knuckle. I find it amusing that people are getting twisted up about a scale inch here or there, but are apparently quite happy to ignore the big spring. And that brings me to a larger issue that I haven’t seen addressed, and that’s this: before picking a coupler, decide what it is you want to do with the model when it’s done. Each style of coupler has pros and cons… I’ll list a few, based on my experience with both.

Assembly/Installation: – Kadee wins here, hands down. They’re easy and quick to assemble and install. This may be important to those planning to build a lot of rolling stock. Sergents take about 45 minutes per pair to build – and most people should plan on rebuilding their first half-dozen pairs because you’ll get better at doing them, and the first ones won’t operate as reliably as the rest.

Appearance: – Sergent wins, hands down. As I noted above, knuckle couplers – whether 1/2 MCB, 3/4 MCB, Type D, Type E, or what have you – don’t have large springs on their sides. Even if the Sergents are a little too large, or a little too small, not having a spring on the side more than makes up for it, appearance-wise.

Operation of the coupler itself: – Kadee gets a slight nod here, as they are pretty damn reliable right out of the box. But if you take your time and work carefully on building the Sergents, they can operate very, very well. Your success depends on your own skill.

Operation on the layout: – This depends on what your design goals are…

KADEE LAYOUTS – If you are building an operations-intensive layout – let’s say you’re doing Farmington to Phillips, with staging north of Phillips and staging northeast of Strong – you will be better off with Kadees. You’ll be shuffling a lot of cars, and the need to open knuckles on the Sergents can become tiring pretty quickly.

– If you are building a layout that has car-spotting locations that are more than 18″ from the aisle, or that are inside buildings, you’ll want to use Kadees. Obviously, this depends on a number of factors, including layout height, the length of your arm, and how good your eyes are. But in general, with Sergents you need to be able to get your head directly above the couplers you want to couple or uncouple, every time. Sergents have a smaller gathering range than Kadees, so you must open the knuckle(s) then carefully check the alignment of the couplers before trying to couple. If you can’t reach and can’t see to do this, you’ll experience no end of frustration. Kadees have a better gathering range, couple automatically, and can be uncoupled using under-track magnets so one doesn’t have to reach into the layout to make them work.

SERGENT LAYOUTS – If you are building a smaller, more relaxed layout – for instance, the KCRR – then the extra work that Sergents require (opening the knuckles, aligning the couplers) actually becomes more play value. Prototype railroads have to open knuckles, manually align couplers, etc., so it’s more realistic, too. Sergents slow down your operations. It’s impossible to bang the cars about with Sergents, whereas with Kadees one can do jackrabbit-like changes in direction over a magnet and kick cars all afternoon. Sergents, manually writing switch lists, train orders and other paperwork, and installing and learning to properly use sound systems (DCC or analog) help stretch out an operating session and turn it from a puzzle to a re-enactment of real life. For a small layout, the extra work involved with all of this will make a 15 minute operating session take an hour. Some people may like that, others will not. Decide which type of person you are before picking couplers.

Update December 2013: there is now a Sergent couplers Yahoo! group;-

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/SergentEng/info

and Sergent now have a more accurately moulded S scale coupler on the market.

Trevor Marshall had reported having difficulties with reliably assembling the earlier version of this coupling, so much so that he opted for the pre-assembled scale HO version (visibly undersized) for his MaineOn2 layout). See http://themodelrailwayshow.com/cn1950s/?p=4122 for pictures, or http://www.sergentengineering.com/ for more information.

Editors note dated 04 January 2014: Trevor Marshall is currently modelling a CN standard gauge branch line in S scale, and using Kadee couplers for reliability. This may well change if Sergents produce a more “robust” S scale coupler for home assembly or factory assembled couplers. Please note that “robust” is used here in its manufacturing engineering (Statistical Process Control) context, rather than the more common physical meaning of hefty or over-large.

Robert C. Jones 1934-2021, Maine Two Foot Author, an appreciation

 
 
 
 
Robert “Bob” Jones, 86, of Burlington, VT passed away at home of natural causes on January 13, 2021.
 
Often considered the dean of northern New England railroad history, Bob, a graduate of the University of Vermont and Saint Michael’s College, authored, co-authored, or edited twenty-four railroad books. They included the three volume, award winning Railroads of Vermont, seven volume The Central Vermont: A Yankee Tradition, Two Feet Between the Rails, and many other books and magazine articles on Maine and Vermont railroad subjects.
 
Bob’s infectious love of the rails created a ripple effect in the lives of so many. His wife, Janet, worked in passenger service on the Green Mountain and Vermont Railway. Son Jim continues in the family tradition, having produced more than forty rail-themed video documentaries and five books of his own. Son Marc worked in four departments on the Central Vermont Railway. Happily, Bob lived to see and hear the contemporary rail tales of his grandson, William, of New England Central Railroad.
 
Bob often reiterated the story of his father Cecil’s own post-high school graduation job search. Cecil had interviews with a local bank and the railroad.  Bob was fond of saying: “Had the bank hired him, I might be speaking to a convention of bankers.”
 
Although his family mercilessly teased Bob about being born at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, New Hampshire, his very first home address of East Ryegate made Bob a proud native Vermonter. In East Ryegate, Bob’s father, Cecil, served as depot agent. The Canadian Pacific Railroad transferred the family to the busy, international border station of Richford, Vermont at the dawn of World War II. Here in Richford, young Bobby Jones grew into adulthood, along with younger brother Bill, under the watchful eyes of Cecil and Elsie (Pangborn) Jones and several beloved canine companions.
 
For 32 years,  Bob was a high school business education teacher at Shelburne and Champlain Valley Union for 32 years, while simultaneously pursuing railroad work over a 41 year period on the Canadian Pacific, Vermont Railway, Green Mountain Railroad and the New England Central Railroad—all on an average of four hours of sleep a night.
 
Robert C. “Bob” Jones was many things; devoted husband and father, respected author, talented baseball player (and devoted Red Sox fan), Army veteran, bagpipe band drummer, teacher, man of faith, mentor, and friend. Bob left the world a better place.  
 
 
Here’s a few thoughts from members of the Maine On2 io group on his passing;-
 
From Robert Bennett;-
 
Good Afternoon All,
 
Truly a great figure in Maine two foot history. I met Bob when he visited my layout several years ago while on a trip back to Maine; a gentleman and scholar without question. I have almost all of his Maine-based books and in these troubled times, I have been reading and re-reading them time and time again. As a teacher myself, I admire Bob’s ability to have researched and presented not only the essential stories, but the sort of “hidden” tidbits that lend reality to the subject matter as well. Those of us who love the Maine narrow gauges should treasure his knowledge and contributions forever.
 
Stay well everyone!
 
Best,  Bob Bennett
 
From David Woodhead;-
 
Yes, he was an important figure in this world, and I was lucky to share a dinner table with him at the Portland Narrow Gauge Convention a few years back. He was genuinely connected to the Maine narrow gauge (and much other railroading) and I think he said he had been a pallbearer at (was it?) Dana Aldrich’s funeral. He knew it from the source, and talked about driving up the back roads many times while researching, and must have known the people of the area in a way few rail fans would have. Thanks, Bob Jones!
David Woodhead
 
From Pete Leach;-
 
I too am saddened by the news of Mr. Jones’s passing. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting him, his influence on my modeling focus is clear.
 
I was a mid-western modeler deep into my N scale efforts when I happened upon a book in a local hobby. The illustration on the dust jacket caught my eye: a small steam locomotive pulling a few wooden cars across a trestle along a waterfront. The book was “Two Feet to Tidewater”, co-authored by R C Jones. I had never heard of the Wiscasset line but was intrigued enough to buy it, even though it cost nearly as much as an N scale engine. I have been on a quest to replicate that little railroad ever since.
 
I am sorry to have never met him.
Rest in peace, Mr. Robert Jones.
Pete Leach
 
From Chris McChesney;-
 
Sad indeed.  His “Two Foot to Tidewater” came out when I was a teenager and it inspired me to model the Wiscasset Lower Yard and take a serious interest in the history of the WW&F Ry.  What a prolific writer!  He was a real asset to the two-foot community and will be missed.

Chris 
 

Robert Jones’ books on the Maine Two Footers are highly prized by their owners as they are a major go-to source of information, plans, vintage photographs, history and stories of the folk who worked on these roads.

The dust jacket or covers either feature original paintings showing a highly recognisable view of the subject line or may show a classic contemporary photograph of the line.

Each book is copiously illustrated with a range of photographs showing locomotives, rolling stock, personnel and structures, and often show the landscapes which the railroad travelled through. All photographs are sharply printed with decent exposures and shadow details – often they are the best print available from particular negatives.

The books usually have rosters of the locomotives and rolling stock, and frequently have a selection of plans for these items. Other items included are route maps and siding/station plans with a number of sketch and Sanborn Insurance maps of the towns and facilities served.

The acknowledgement pages of each book show Bob’s unrivalled networking abilities using various well known sources (too many to mention here) to provide information, assistance, photographs, maps, plans, stories etc to enhance his own work and provide a one stop go to source of information and reading pleasure.  

 
Here is a selection of Bob Jones’ books about the Maine Two Footers;-
 

 

Two Feet Between the Rails – The Early Years – Volume 1 – a hefty read, weighing in at 4 pounds 2 ounces. Published by Sundance Books in 1979, 416 pages, 8½ x 11, ISBN 0-913582-17-4.

 

Two Feet Between the Rails – The Mature Years –  Volume 2, another hefty read, weighing in at a tad over 4 pounds 2 ounces. Published by Sundance Books in 1980, 416 pages, 8½ x 11, ISBN 0-913582-18-2.

 

Two Feet to the Tidewater – The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway

Robert C Jones & David L Register, Published by Pruett Publishing Company Books in 1987, 269 pages, 8½ x 11, ISBN 0-87108-729-4. Weight 3lbs even.

David Register was a lifelong fan of the WW&FR, and spent the last years of his life working on this book, but regrettably passed away before completing and publishing. A short time afterward, his family asked for advice about publishing the work and were put in contact with Bob Jones, who eventually editted the text and substantially added to the volume that we see here. 

 

Two Feet to the Tidewater – The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Expanded and Updated Edition.

Robert C. Jones & David L. Register, Published by Evergreen Press in 2002, 386 pages, 8½ x 11, ISBN 0-9667264-3-X, Reprint. Weighs 3pounds and 10 ounces.

This expanded version consists of the original 1987 Pruett book, followed by an additional 117 pages of Vintage photographs and the activities of the WW&FR Railway Museum who in the meantime had re-instated the line on its original roadbed. 

 

Two Feet to the Lakes The Bridgton and Saco River Railroad

Published by Pacific Fast Mail in1993,  256 pages, 8½ x 11, ISBN 0-915713-26-8.  Weighs 2 pounds and 12 ounces.

Two Feet to the Quarries – The Monson Railroad

Published by Evergreen Press in 1998, 98-87962 ISBN 0-9667264-0-5. First Edition150 pages, 8½ x 11, weighs 1 pound and 13 ounces. Note that Evergreen Press is Bob Jones’ own company. 

Two Feet to Togus – The Kennebec Central Railroad

Published by Evergreen Press in 1999, 198 pages, 8½ x 11, 99-68177 ISBN 0-9667264-1-3  1rst Edition, weighs 2 pounds and three ounces.

 

The Maine Two-Footers –  2nd edition L. W. Moody  (edited Robert C. Jones)

Published by Heimburger House Publishing Company in 1998, 240 pages, 8 ½ x 11, weighs 2 pounds and 15 ounces. Bob Jones felt that there was a need for a new edition of Linwood Moody’s classic book dealing with all the Maine Two Footers (including their temporary sojourn in Massachusetts). He bought the rights to the Moody book and produced this larger version incorporating additional photographs.  

 

 

Top posts for 2020

The most viewed posts (*) in the calendar year 2020 were;-

#1– Maine On2 layouts – Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR.

#2– Prototype Information – SR&RL Locomotives.

#3– Doug MacLeod’s LR&HS “James Wyman”.

#4 – Brakes

#5 – MaineOn2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module.

#6 – Maine On2 layouts – Peter Barney’s SR&RL.

Click on the blue lettering to visit the topic on another browser page.

While this listing may appear familiar, featuring a number of old favourites, it does have two new entries. Coming in at a very well deserved number three was the updated post featuring Doug MacLeod’s fabulous craftsmanship in brass showing his latest work. Another new entry is the posting about Brakes coming in at number 4.

Visitor activity this year has been pretty close to that of 2019 in terms of visitor numbers, total views and specific topic viewing numbers, which are used to produce these end of year rankings.

The USA still leads with some 78% of the 2020 total viewings, with the United Kingdom retaining its traditional second placing with recording 10% and Canada staying in third place with just 3.5%.  Next came France (2.2%), Australia (2.0%), and Japan (1.6%).

The blog has recorded visits from 48 different countries around the globe this year. 

The Editorial teams view of 2020

The editorial team may appear to have taken things easy for most of this year. Our normal year end internal review over the New Year 2019/2020 showed that we had accumulated, but not used, a number of extra photographs and information relating to various older topics. We eased into the year by adding these into their respective topics.

We then had a period of research to try to place a comment into its original context in order to reply to it accurately. A by-product of this research was a large number of additional pieces of information and photographs for more of the early topics (by first publication date). The research also showed that the comment had been dealt with before privately, and had also been discussed on the io group. Rather than repeat the subject on this blog, we decided that our time would be better spent by improving more of the early topics with the newly found information and photographs, and adding links to related topics not conceived in the early days. In total, some 22 topics were updated in 2020. Those interested can find more information on the What’s new? page. 
  

This systematic re-writing represented was a major change to our normal somewhat “ad-hoc” manner of updating either when we feel like it or when an older topic is about to become “sticky of the week”.

Sticky of the week – this has been posted before, but it’s worth repeating;- the WordPress blog software has the facility to post any message to the top of board, meaning that it will be the first message displayed. Within the editorial pages this is known as “make sticky”, but the public version is shown as “Featured”.


We use this facility to rotate the older topics, normally choosing to display an older topic for a week or so, before it is replaced by the next “sticky”. The change over is normally done first thing on a Friday morning, and we hope that returning viewers appreciate seeing different topics at the top of the list on what would otherwise be a static list.

In 2020, we completed the first full rotation of topics as “sticky of the week”, meaning that around 190 current topics have now been displayed as the first posting seen on the Home page. Some have been displayed more than once, as it is our practise to make topics “sticky of the week” when they have been significantly updated.

We have now started a second rotation, but to make things more “interesting”, we are now selecting the topics in the order of their popularity over the past seven years.  

Milestones:  we chose not to publicly mark the blog’s seventh anniversary but did make a small io group announcement that the FAQ’s blog received its 150,000th page view in August, noting it has been visited by more than 43,000 people.

Visitor activity this year has been sporadic and variable. On one occasion, the stats page showed that the FAQ’s had one visitor (from the UK) who methodically worked their way through all the topics in one session. On another occasion, we recorded the blog’s worst ever daily viewing figures of just four page viewings from four visitors.

Take care, stay safe and enjoy your trains,

 

 Terry,

on behalf of the editorial team (Trevor, Matt & Terry).

 

 

Top posts for 2019

The editors would like to wish all the contributors a Happy New Year and thank them for their material used in the past year. We also hope that our viewers have found the site of interest over the last year.

The most viewed posts (*) in the calendar year 2019 were;-

#1- MaineOn2 layouts – Bill Kerr’s SR&RL.

#2– Maine On2 layouts – Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR.

#3– Prototype Information – SR&RL Locomotives.

#4– Maine On2 layouts – Peter Barney’s SR&RL.

#5- MaineOn2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Megantic module.

#6- MaineOn2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module.

This is a rather familiar listing topped by old favourites of well built Canadian layouts which are regrettably no longer in existence. Bill Kerr’s layout had a surge of viewings following the “re-discovery” of a number of his own postings and emails describing the layout and how it was built which led to a blog update. This was an unintended benefit of Yahoo! groups closing.

Visitor activity this year has been well down on previous years in terms of visitor numbers, total views and specific topic viewing numbers, which are used to produce these end of year rankings. This seems to be a common trend of late with many other model railroad blogs and email groups showing reduced activity.

The number of viewings by American and Canadian visitors were particularly reduced compared to previous years, which caused the rankings of the nationality of viewers to revert to their usual pattern. The USA still leads with some 77% of the 2019 total viewings, but the United Kingdom at 6.6% regained it’s traditional second placing with Canada now coming in third with 4.7%. Next came Switzerland (2.1%) Australia (2.8%), and Japan (1.8%).

The blog has recorded visits from 53 different countries around the globe this year.

The editorial team took things easy for most of the year and we did not publicly mark the blog’s sixth anniversary. The notice that Yahoo! was intending to eliminate “user posted content” from the Groups site at rather short notice in the last quarter caused a rush of activity to protect some of our information sources or to download particular pieces of information. Some of this information has already been published, mostly as updates to existing topics, and some has been marked for review and possible publication at a later date.

We still have some topics and updates on the “to do” list and may well find errors to correct and additional information to add to existing postings, so keep coming back in the coming year.

Terry,

on behalf of the editorial team (Trevor, Matt & Terry).

(*) as recorded by WordPress, using direct visits to the topic/posting.

 

 

Maine On2 group now on io

The former Yahoo! Maine On2 group has now been copied across to the io platform. All former members of the Yahoo! group with current working email addresses at the time of transfer should have received an email inviting them to join the group on io.

All the intellectual assets of the group such as the past message board, photos and files etc have been copied across and are now available on io.

For the record, io appears to replicate the functioning of Yahoo! groups and has proved to be very reliable in the six months or so of operations.

Those members of the Yahoo! group with non-working email addresses and prospective new members should visit the group home page on io to request membership.

To access the groups new home page on io click here.

Update 19-12-2019: Yahoo! has now removed the past message board, photos and files from their site as announced.

Updated 22-05-2020.

temp

This is a temporary posting to support a current discussion thread on the Yahoo! group.

The question is “which car has the Grandt Line trucks and which has the Portland Products trucks?”.

Clicking on the pictures will load a larger version.

 

All discussion to be on the Yahoo! board please.

 

Seen at the Mickleover Winter meet 2019

The following “new to me” parts were seen at the UK 7mm NGA Trent Valley local groups “winter meet” on the 26th January 2019 at Mickleover, near Derby, and may be of interest to Maine two Foot modelers, particularly those who follow the Bridgton line.

This picture shows the Grandt Line part number 3629 (left), placed against a drawing of the Hetch Hetchy part #8601 from the Portland Products catalogue.

Apart from not having a central mullion dividing the lower panel, it appears to be identical to station doors used on the original stations on the Bridgton line. For the Bridgton modeler it is a relatively simple matter to add this piece compared to scratch-building a complete door and frame.

This picture shows the Grandt Line window part number 3762 (left) described as 30″ x 56″ 6/6 double hung compared to the Tichy Train Group window part number 2006 (group of three) described as double hung window, 38″ wide x 66″ high, with glazing & shades (not shown).

The Grandt Line item is a standard choice for the Bridgton line modeller, but the Tichy part will be a useful addition where larger windows are required.

 

 

 

Top posts for 2018

The editors would like to wish all the contributors a Happy New Year and thank them for their material used in the past year. We also hope that our viewers have found the site of interest over the last year.

The most viewed posts (*) for the calendar year 2018 were;-

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

#2– Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Megantic module.

#3– Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module.

#4– Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module – Goes West – to New England.

#5- MaineOn2 layouts – Peter Barney’s SR&RL.

#6- MaineOn2 layouts – Bill Kerr’s SR&RL.

Click on the blue lettering to visit the topic on another browser page.

This is a rather different listing compared to those of previous calendar years, but it still has a familiar look, with Trevor Marshall’s now dismantled layout topping the list again. This is the first time that all six top places have been filled by layout posts.

Activity this year has been down on previous years, with fewer new topics posted and visitor numbers being slightly down on last year. The overall viewing and specific topic viewing numbers, which are used to produce these end of year rankings, are both significantly lower than those of the last few years.

The nationality of viewers had been pretty stable over the previous years, has seen some ranking changes this year. The USA still leads with some 77% of the 2018 total viewings, but Canada came in second with 4.7% and the United Kingdom slipped to third place with 4.2%, reversing their previous rankings. Next came Australia (2.8%), Switzerland (2.1%) and Germany (1.8%).

The blog has recorded visits from 55 different countries around the globe this year.

We still have more topics and content in-process and may well find errors to correct and additional information to add to existing postings, so keep coming back in the coming year.

Terry,

on behalf of the editorial team (Trevor, Matt & Terry).

(*) as recorded by WordPress, using direct visits to the topic/posting.

Farewell to Grandt Line

Grandt Line was a major supplier of injection moulded parts for US Outline Railroad modelers in various scales for nearly sixty years, but was closed by the existing family members in the Fall of 2018. Fortunately for modelers, the tooling, production machinery and rights to make parts were sold to The San Juan Company.

This post will focus on Grandt Lines activities and parts to support O scale Maine Two Foot modeling.

The company was started some 60 years ago by Cliff Grandt, an exceptional modeler as well as a toolmaker, who had a hankering for narrow gauge prototypes. From a recent search through the early issues of Finelines and Slim Gauge News, it seems  that one of Cliff’s first Maine Two Foot items was the SR&RL Railcar pedestal axlebox introduced in 1968.

In 1972 following the exit of a previous supplier a couple of years earlier, Grandt Line plugged a major gap in vital materials when they introduced their Two Foot wheel sets to ¼AAR standards, shown below.

Note the Boston lettering on the face of the wheel.

Whilst the majority of the items produced by Grandt Line for retail sales were injection moulded plastic, the company also produced some items in brass mainly for trade customers, such as the door and window sets some of which are illustrated below, which were commissioned by Custom Brass for use in the manufacture of their imported  brass passenger car models in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and have subsequently been offered to the retail market in both brass and plastic.

 

In 1982 Grandt Line produced a generic Maine Two Foot freight car truck, moulded in Delrin, and which is still available – one of the staples for many Maine On2 modellers over the years.

 

Other parts produced specifically for the Maine Two Foot rolling stock modeler were the 4 rung ladders for the B&SR boxcars, stake pockets suitable for two foot flat cars and the large nut and square washers used on the ends of truss rods by the SR&RL and WW&FR with scale reproductions of the company lettering.

 

In addition, the company acquired the tooling of the Hetch Hetchy Scale Models concern and re-introduced a number of Maine Two Foot specific doors, windows and other architectural details.

The company employed a number of family members and they decided that on their  retirement in 2018 that they would prefer to close the business as Grandt Line and offer the tooling and production rights for sale to another supplier.

In the Fall/Autumn of 2018 the Grandt family announced that the production rights and tooling had been acquired by The San Juan Company in Colorado. Confirming their acquisition, the San Juan Company made a general announcement of intending to continue to supply parts in the future.

Some two years on it would appear that the San Juan Company have made great strides in re-introducing the parts. A brief scan through their O scale model railroading parts listing suggests that all parts for the Maine On2 modeler apart from the On2 wheelsets are currently available. To visit the San Juan Company website use our side bar link.  

We have retained our side bar link to the Grandt Line web site for the time being as it still contains much useful information for the modeller.

Updated  27 September 2019, 17 Jan 2019 & 15 May 2020.