We are five

It is five years since we made our first tentative public disclosures of this blog. We had been discussing republishing the old HTML version of the FAQ’s for several months and then started loading up information in WordPress on a trial basis. After about four weeks, we were satisfied with both the formats chosen and styles developed, and when several discussions on the Maine On2 Yahoo! group made reference to the old FAQ’s, we decided to go public with the new version to support those threads. We started back then with just 41 topics/posts, mostly picture based, showing some of the commercially produced brass models and a selection of historic On2 layouts.

Encouraged by the response from the group, the number of topics grew to over 110 by our first anniversary in 2014, and today, on our fifth anniversary the blog consists of 195 topics/posts and 6 pages. In our fifth year, we have passed a major milestone, that of receiving our 100 000th viewing.

This past year has seen reduced activity publicly by the editorial team for a number of reasons, and the activity which took place was focussed on acknowledging that the blog is now mature and bringing the editorial postings up to date and revising older topics, rather than publishing new Maine On2 modelling topics. The activity included adding new pages to cover topics which we previously frequently received private messages about. A number of existing topics have been updated, with errors corrected and pictures and links added to related topics.

Thanks to all our contributors and viewers,

 

Terry, Matt and Trevor.

 

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Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Franklin module goes West …..to New England

Our regular viewers will know Bob Harper and his travels with his Maine style sections of his home layout. His most recent adventure has been to attend The Amherst Railway Show at the Great Eastern Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts, in January 2018. In this post Bob has written and taken photographs showing how the module is packed to withstand the rigours of airfreight and other travels. Bob’s brother, Gerald, also a keen model railroader lives in Toronto, so it is natural for Bob to travel to Toronto, and then drive down to the US venues.

Before the Amherst show, Bob & Gerald took the opportunity to visit Trevor Marshall to view his home layout Port Rowan in Toronto;-

Bob Harper watches as a freight extra rolls out of Port Rowan, and later commented
“beautiful work, and very British in concept, but sadly not portable of course.”


Gerald Harper captures a CNR gas electric arriving at Port Rowan on train M233’s schedule.

Click here to view Bob’s Franklin module and here to view Bob’s Megantic module on new browser pages.

Click here to visit Trevor’s Port Rowan blog on a new browser page.

Click here to view the Amherst Railway show website on a new browser page.

 

FRANKLIN GOES TO AMHERST

After the relative ease of taking Franklin to the Narrow gauge Convention in Augusta, Maine in 2016, I got over-ambitious and planned to do it again, but on a larger scale.

There is an enormous general railway show at West Springfield, Massachusetts, every January, put on by the Amherst Railway Society; probably the biggest show in the US, with 8 acres of hall space and around 20-25000 attendees each year. I got cheeky and asked if I could come, and was welcomed with open arms! Fans of The Simpsons will know that they live in W. Springfield! So I arranged for the layout to come with me to Toronto in late January, and we headed off again over the border (a very tedious experience this time) in my brothers truck.

There was a mighty difference this time compared to the Augusta trip in August 2016; the temperature was -10 degrees Celsius and the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers were piles of ice – great blocks built up along both banks, and the whole way across in places. That said, we were very lucky with the weather generally, given how bad it could have been. Everything generally went smoothly at the show, the layout in particular running perfectly, though we had some difficulty with general arrangements and information. Nearly all the layouts and trade stands come every year, and they all know exactly what to do; so information for new exhibitors was very sparse. As a result, we never found the Saturday evening show dinner, though we didn’t go hungry! Packing up on Sunday evening went smoothly, and then another long drive back to Toronto.

This time, rather than bringing the layout straight back to the UK with me, I decided I would leave it, and the rolling stock, in my brothers workshop in Toronto. This means that I can also take it to the Canadian Narrow Gauge Exhibition at Schomberg, 30 miles or so north of Toronto, on Saturday 21st April, and the National Narrow Gauge Convention in Minneapolis in early September.  Obviously this saves 2 round trips for the layout, and an awful lot of hassle, though I did have a bit more formality with Canadian Customs this time given that it was staying in the country for 9 months rather than 10 days. So now I’m back in the UK, with only exhibition appearances for my Great Western standard and broad gauge layouts until the Autumn.

Is it worth doing? Financially obviously not, but as an experience of a type of show completely different from a British one, then definitely yes. Although there were thousands of people there, the interest seems to be in the trade stands rather than the layouts. There were rarely more than 1 or 2 people watching any of the layouts, but those who did watch Franklin were usually engrossed for a long time. In particular, everybody was fascinated by my full turntable fiddle yard, where complete trains are turned ready for their next trip. Some people use a simple traverser, but a full rotating yard is a completely new experience. There were a good number of people manning the Maine preservation societies stands, and they made up a large part of my audience. It seemed wonderful to them that their favourite lines could actually be modelled in a meaningful way, with smooth and reliable operation and many of the features of the Maine 2 footers modelled in such a small space. So it was greatly rewarding to present such a novel way of modelling in the land of the actual prototype.

Bob Harper, February 2018.

One of the scenic boards being boxed up

Boxing up the fiddle yard, lighting fascia, and curtains

A snug fit in the Ford Mondeo Estate for the trip to the airport.

The whole layout after collection from Canadian Customs on the other side of the pond.

The layout unpacked and set up in one of the 4 halls of the Amherst Railway Show at the Great Eastern Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Note that most photographs have not been cropped and edited purposely in order to show the vast amount of space at this show and venue.

A local New Englander has a go operating my New England layout!

Although there were 17000 people at the show, it was never crowded in our hall, but there was a steady trickle of Maine 2 foot fans from the WW&FR and SR&RL Museum stands coming round to see, and all seemed amazed that such an interesting layout could be fitted in so small a space, and that everything ran so well, with smooth, slow shunting. They were also all amazed by the fiddle yard, especially when they realised that it could turn the whole trains round 180 degrees ready to go out again! So while a lot of cost, work and stress was invested getting Franklin there, it seems to have been a worthwhile educational effort, as it was a completely different concept from all the other layouts there.

One of the many modular layouts in the show; this one shows the fairly common scenic mismatch of adjoining boards.

However this vast layout has a properly planned gradation from scene to scene. Any Exhibition Manager would be envious of the space available!

A general shot showing the staggering size of the show. Remember that this is only one of four halls, though two of them were smaller.

Scenes from an On30 modular layout. The standard of scenic modelling was exceptionally high, though some of the physical details are a little unlikely! Sadly this layout suffered from a seeming inability to run any actual trains reliably, a common fault with this type of communal project.

 

This 0-4-0 2ft gauge loco from the Edaville Railway was in steam outside the main hall, though restricted its action to regular whistle blasts.

Click here to view a short YouTube segment showing this loco at the Amherst Railway show on a new browser page.

I was surprised how quickly we were able to get the layout dismantled and boxed up again ready for the open air trip back to Toronto. Normally it travels in the back of my car, with no extra protection. I’m glad we did not try that this time, as we ran into a blizzard just after we re-crossed the border into Canada.

All the rolling stock and ancillaries came in these crates, which also braved the elements in the back of the truck. The crucial piece of equipment is the power converter, which I bought in Canada. This converts European 230 volts to N. American 115 volts, or vice versa in my case. So everything on the layout (lighting, for example) was operated at its normal 230 volts. This seemed easier than trying to rig up temporary 115 volt lighting, power transformer etc. It worked very well, though got pretty warm after a full days operation. None of my UK light bulbs got broken on the flight either, though I had taken several spares just in case.

The next trips;-

The baseboard boxes and most of the rolling stock have been left in Toronto, so I can go back and do the Canadian Narrow gauge show at Schomberg on April 21st, and Narrow gauge Convention in Minneapolis, 5-8 September. I will then bring everything back finally.

Click here to view the Schomberg show and here to visit the 2018 Minneapolis Convention site on new browser pages.

Top posts for 2017

The editors would like to wish all the contributors a Happy New Year and thank them for their material used in the past year during which the blog received its 100,000th viewing.

The most viewed posts (*) during the calendar year 2017 were;-

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

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

#3- Moe Example – a password protected example showing Moe Mechling’s inimitable styles for drawings and letters.

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

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

#6- Couplers.

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

The Moe page was posted to the blog in support of a then current discussion on the Maine On2 Yahoo! group board at the end of June 2017. For copyright and other reasons, it was posted under password protection, with the password being posted to members of that group on June 29 2017.

Yet again, this is a rather different listing compared to those of previous calendar years, with three of the top placings being taken by new topics posted this year, and four of the top placings being taken by layouts, although regrettably only two still exist.

Activity this year has generally been down on last years record numbers, in terms of lower numbers of new topics posted, slightly lower viewing numbers and lower numbers of specific topic viewings which are used to produce these end of year rankings. The number of visitors was up by nearly 5% on last years total.

The nationality of viewers was pretty stable, with some 72% of the 2017 total viewings coming from the USA, the United Kingdom came in second with 7% and Canada placed third with 4%. Next came Australia (3.3%), France(2.8%), Germany (2.1%) and Japan (2.0%). The blog has recorded visits from 56 different countries around the globe this year.

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

For Sale

For Sale? ………Not here!

Buying and selling?

At fairly regular intervals, the Maine On2 FAQ’s receives questions about buying and selling Maine On2 items, many of which appear to be a request to list items wanted or for sale here.

Commercial transactions as listing items wanted or for sale are beyond the scope of this FAQ, and for a number of reasons, the editors have no desire to become involved in facilitating 3rd party commercial transactions.

There are many potential venues both online and offline for buying or selling Maine On2 models. This FAQ is not one of them.

For those looking to buy or sell Maine On2 models, and if you are not already a member, then the easiest way to make contact with a large number of potentially interested parties is to join one (or more) of the special interest news/discussion groups and to post there. The resulting discussions could lead to up-to-date suggestions for suitable online auction sites, hobby shops, or even a private sale. Note that some sites, for example Yahoo! Groups, specifically discourage trading via their services, hence you will often be asked to complete any transaction off-board by cognisant vendors.

Some such groups are listed in the sidebar of this FAQ’s home page. This listing is not exhaustive nor is it an endorsement: it is merely provided for information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casual viewer with research questions?

Are you a casual viewer with research questions? – then why not join a group?

We frequently get interesting questions about Maine two-footers and modelling them via the “comments” facility.

Often, the answers are already in the FAQ, and a search of the site will find them. You can find a search box on the home page at the top of the sidebar. You may also find what you’re looking for by scanning the extensive “Categories” list in the sidebar.

Sometimes, we (the editors) do not have the answers. Providing them personally could require us to undertake a substantial research project.

The MaineOn2 FAQ is essentially a repository for peer reviewed knowledge provided by fellow enthusiasts to be shared within the group and the FAQ for the benefit of all, on a self-service basis – the FAQ is not a research bureau.

Therefore, if you can’t find the answer here and if you are not already a member, then we encourage you to join one or more special interest news/discussion groups and ask your questions there. Hopefully this will result in information and discussion from members knowledgeable about the particular topic, and may even result in information that can be added to the MaineOn2 FAQ. In this way, the person posing the question is likely to get a better quality answer, than if the editors replied to the limit of their own knowledge.

Some such groups are listed in the sidebar of this FAQ’s home page. This listing is not exhaustive nor is it an endorsement: it is merely provided for information.

 

100, 000 viewings!

 

This blog has just received its 100 000th visit/viewing, which we believe is a significant milestone for such a narrowly focussed blog, and we Thank You for your support and continuing visits.

The all-time top favourite (most viewed) topics, determined by the WordPress statistics are:-

1/. Maine On2 layouts – Bill Kerr’s SR&RL; click here to view.

2/. Maine On2 layouts – Trevor Marshall’s Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR; click here to view.

3/. Maine On2 layouts – Bob Harper’s Megantic module. Click here to view.

4/. SR&RL; Historic list of plans; click here to view.

5/. Custom Brass – SR&RL locomotive #6; click here to view on another page

 

 

Terry,

on behalf of fellow editors Trevor and Matt.