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.


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 has been a major supplier of injection moulded parts for US Outline Railroad modelers in various scales for nearly sixty years, but has now closed, and they have now sold the tooling, production machinery and rights to make parts to another 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 that they would prefer to close the business as Grandt Line and offer the tooling and production rights for sale to another supplier.

It is only recently (Fall/Autumn of 2018) that the Grandt family announced that the production rights and tooling were acquired by The San Juan Company in Colorado.

The San Juan Company have made a general announcement of intending to continue to supply parts in the future. In a message posted to the Maine On2 group on the 14th November, Doug Junda (one of the owners of The San Juan Company) stated that they were currently building inventory in California prior to moving equipment to Colorado.

In a general message last week, Doug Junda stated that they had finished building inventory and were now moving the stocks of O scale parts and some related production machinery to Colorado.

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 17 Jan 2019 


Hetch Hetchy Scale Models – a work in progress


Hetch Hetchy Scale Models were based in Hamden, Connecticut and run by expert modeler Andy Miller. The company actively promoted their kits for water tanks and logging equipment in magazines such as The Narrow  Gauge and Shortline Gazette from the mid to late 1970’s.

It is believed that Bob Werner of The Hobby Barn arranged for Hetch Hetchy Scale Models to produce injection moulded styrene detail parts for Maine Two Foot and other New England prototypes that were retailed exclusively by The Hobby Barn, and included in a number of Peter Barney’s Sandy River Car Shops kits.

An idea of what Hetch Hetchy offered is given by the listings from the Hobby Barn catalog of the late 1970’s;-

Note that doors 8605 & 8606 are shown upside down in their frames.

Hetch Hetchy Scale Models were a major supplier of parts to SRCS for their Strong Station and similar kits. A selection of the Hetch Hetchy parts from the SRCS O scale Strong Station kit is shown below.

Most Hetch Hetchy parts are noted for their fine detail and the sharpness of their moulding, but the Strong Chimney part is unique for representing an old weathered stack with uneven surfaces as seen in close up below.


In the early 2000’s, after a fairly long period of parts not being available, the moulds were acquired by the Grandt Line company and many parts were re-introduced, a few of which are shown below.


Here is a partial listing of the Maine Two Foot parts originally produced by Hetch Hetchy which were listed by Grandt Line.

O scale Maine Windows


Hetch Hetchy p/n Description Grandt p/n
8401 6 pane 30” x 28” 3761 Kingfield Station
8402 12 pane 30” x 56” 3762 Kingfield Station
8403 12 pane 38” x 86” 3763 Kingfield Station? 
8404 2 pane 28” x 26” 3764
8405 3 pane 28” x 48” 3765
8406 3 pane 28” x 64” 3766
8407 2 pane 18” x 78” 3767 Strong Station
8408 4 pane 38” x 78” 3768 Strong Station
8409 Double 4 pane 78” x 78” 3769 Strong Station
8410 Pool Hall Window 56” x 82” 5 pane 3779

O scale Maine Doors

Hetch Hetchy p/n Description Grandt p/n
8601 4 panel 34” x 7’ 6” 3629?
8602 4 panel w/window 34” x 6’ 10” ? Kingfield?
8605 7 panel 39” x 7’ 3” 3630 Strong Station
8606 7 panel 49” x 7’ 3” 3631 Strong Station

O scale Maine Details

Hetch Hetchy p/n Description Grandt p/n
8801 Chimney ???? Strong Station
8802 Eaves Braces 3558 Strong Station
8803 Cupola Louvres 3570 Strong Station


Rev 3; 18 January 2019

Locomotive drawbar pulls and truck friction measurements

We will start this topic with an interesting and possibly controversial quote from Dan Mitchell about model railroad locomotive “pulling power” and rolling stock friction, originally published on an Australian site which is apparently no longer available.

Actually, physics does *NOT* dictate any such thing. Both real and prototype railway locos have roughly the SAME potential pulling power. Pulling power (“Tractive effort”) is the loco’s weight on drivers times the coefficient of friction (roughly the “factor of adhesion”). This is true for both prototype and model. All else being equal, the DENSITY of a model is the same as its prototype. Thus it inherently has ‘scale weight’, and scale tractive effort.

The differences arise in that our models do NOT have “all else being equal” … they are not made of thin hollow shells of steel, but rather blocks of solid diecast metal (frames, weights, power trucks), relatively HUGE and nearly solid motors, and some thin plastic parts.
Overall, they are usually far closer to ‘solid’ than a prototype loco. Thus, they are actually MORE dense than scale, and hence often heavier than scale … this SHOULD give them MORE than scale tractive effort. That is compensated for by the ‘coefficient of friction’ issue. Real railroads are almost always ‘steel wheel on steel rail. .. this gives a friction coefficient of about 25%. Model wheels are usually brass or nickel silver wheels on brass or nickel silver track. This gives more like 18%-20% friction, so the model gets less ‘traction’ for a given weight.
often remarkably close to ‘scale’. This does **NOT** take into account any ‘traction tires’ that greatly increase the friction and increase tractive effort WAY beyond scale values.

Even that is compensated for to varying degrees by the fact that our model cars have a LOT more rolling friction than real train cars. THAT (together with our often excessively steep grades) is why we often can’t pull nearly a scale length train.

And that’s why I stated in a recent earlier post that “If you want to pull long trains, you should spend a **LOT** more time reducing your rolling stock’s friction (metal wheels, better trucks, etc.) than worrying about increasing your locomotive’s pulling power.”


Now we will present the Maine On2 specific information collected by Terry Smith, note that clicking on each table produces a larger view. Use your browser back arrow to return to the topic.

When Terry first published this information, in his introduction he wrote “One conclusion, just to state the obvious, is that friction and drawbar pull experiments/measurements suffer from a lack of repeatability. I already knew that would be the case having spent 24 years as a practising engineer in the friction reducing field, but it came back to bite me with today’s tests!”

Notwithstanding Dan Mitchell’s comments above, then we may plead that On2 is a special case, where the iconic locomotives, such as the small Forney’s, have very much smaller boilers compared to typical engines used on most model railroads and the limited commercial availability of alternative designs of trucks means that our options for reducing truck friction are also limited. Enjoy the data and make your own decisions, not forgetting to look inside the boilers to see what weights the manufacturer has installed.

Measured draw bar pulls and other information for Forney style On2 Brass Locomotives. 

The forces presented in these tables were measured using 0-1 N forcemeter (essentially a 100 gram spring balance). In the static loco cases, the forcemeter was attached to the rear coupler by a loop of cotton thread and the free end of the forcemeter was pulled, and the steady reading taken.

In the case of the drawbar pull measurements, the forcemeter was attached to the rear coupler by a loop of cotton thread and the loco was driven away slowly until the drivers slipped.

The On3 Shay values were determined with a 0-10 N forcemeter (essentially a 1000 gram spring balance).

On2 Track used was Precision Scale with code 70 nickel silver rail.

On3 Track used was Precision Scale with code 83 nickel silver rail.

The modified Custom Brass SR&RL #6 has additional weight fitted inside the boiler.

The two On3 locomotives are included for the sake of comparison as they demonstrate what can be achieved by having all the locomotive weight available on the drivers (by being equalised) for the two commonest driver tyre materials.

Measured draw bar pulls and other information for some SR&RL 2-6-2 On2 Brass Locomotives 

On2 Track used was Precision Scale with code 70 nickel silver rail.

Measured coefficients of friction for some SR&RL 2-6-2 On2 Brass Locomotive tenders (only)

Coefficients of friction measured by inclined slope method.

Static refers to the maximum slope which can be resisted before motion takes place.

Dynamic refers to the slope down which the item continues to move at constant speed once started.


Custom Brass SR&RL #16 Locomotive and Tender

 This locomotive and tender are essentially as built by Custom Brass. The poor drawbar pull figures with slipping drivers are partly explained by a slipping shaft coupling.

Custom Brass SR&RL #18 Locomotive and Tender

This locomotive has been extensively modified and features in the Custom Brass SR&RL #18 post on this site. Click here to view on another page.

Moving the drive to the rear axle has allowed more of the boiler space to be used for lead weights, which accounts for the extra weight of this locomotive and it’s higher drawbar pull.

The tender has a special version of the PFM Sound system installed (with an off switch) and has also been extensively modified. Work done includes rebuilding the trucks to be equalised and installing extra power pickups for both sides of the track. The wipers contact the backs of the wheels and are most probably the reason why this tender appears to have poor frictional characteristics.

Custom Brass SR&RL #24 Locomotive and Tender

This locomotive and tender have had PFM Sound installed, and most probably some attention to the drive train, otherwise it appears to be stock Custom Brass.


The information for these locomotives is presented in this form because whilst the locomotive is essentially the power source, it is not normally operated without the tender, which functions like a very heavy and badly running freight car, ie reduces the  drawbar pull available to pull trains.


Measured coefficients of friction for On2 and On30 trucks and rolling stock   

On2 unless otherwise stated.

Freight cars have Grandt Line trucks with NWSL wheelsets unless otherwise stated.

Coefficients of friction measured by inclined slope method.

Static refers to the maximum slope which can be resisted before motion takes place.

Dynamic refers to the slope down which the item continues to move at constant speed once started.

Note that some trucks did not show a higher coefficient of static friction on these tests.

Nickel silver rail code 70 used.


Friction definitions, data and online calculator websites

The following external links are shown in lieu of any explanations written by the blog editors, as they are probably better than we could write.

A couple of sites showing the forces involved and explanations of friction and lifting bodies up inclined planes, with online calculators;-


A set of sites giving basic data and simple explanations about friction;-

Advanced considerations; position of centre of gravity and additional weights 

In this section we present some advanced considerations where Terry has measured the effect of moving the position of the centre of gravity with respect to the driving wheels at constant all up weight for several On2 loco’s, and in some cases adds additional weight to simulate the effects of either increasing the size of the OEM boiler weight or changing it to tungsten.

In this series, the basic loco has been fitted with a Faulhaber 1624 coreless motor, and it originally weighed 406 grams. Terry calculated that the maximum lead weight size that would fit within the boiler would take this weight up to 506 grams. So far, Terry has managed to get the locomotive weight up to 472 grams.

In this series of tests, Terry used the Portland Products F&M #1 chassis to carry a series of laboratory weights in different positions to investigate how the measured drawbar pull varied with total weight and centre of gravity position. The suggestion is that there is an optimum position for the centre of gravity, in this case 3mm behind the rear driver axle centreline.

In this series of tests, Terry used his modified Custom Brass SR&RL #18, without the pilot and trailing trucks to investigate how the measured drawbar pull changed with centre of gravity position and total locomotive weight.

Terry calculated that the OEM weight could be increased by 100 grams and still fit within the boiler space, and that if the lead was substituted by tungsten then the weight would increase by 210 grams.

In this series, Terry shows the locomotive in original condition, with a measly brass boiler weight of just 43 grams, and what the loco could pull if the boiler weight was maximum size in lead, taking the weight to 700 grams.


Drawbar pulls and other information for selected Maine Two Foot prototype locomotives.

The following table is presented for the sake of information only. It is not intended to suggest any practical guidelines for model locomotives.


Entries left blank are deliberate because accurate information could not be found or determined.

The prototype Forney C of G’s have been calculated from published weight information and plans, and all are behind the rear driver axle.

The 37 Ton 3 foot Shay model has been found to be not be consistent with one prototype locomotive, but rather a mix of two sizes according to prototype Shay catalogues. These are the 32 ton version with code words Baler or Middle and the 36 ton version with code words Ballad or Midget.


The topics of drawbar pull and truck friction are related to the maximum grade capability which on these FAQ’s is a separate topic. Click here to view on another page.


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.


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



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.



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

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