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
www.mainememory.net

Maine Historical Society, Portland
www.mainehistory.org

Maine History Online
https://www.mainememory.net/mho/

Vintage Maine Images, Portland
www.vintagemaineimages.com

Maine State Museum, Augusta
www.mainestatemuseum.org

Maine Maritime Museum, Bath
www.mainemaritimemuseum.org

Maine Forest & Logging Museum, Bradley
www.maineforestandloggingmuseum.org

Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport
www.trolleymuseum.org

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, Portland
www.mainenarrowgauge.org

Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum, Alna
www.wwfry.org

Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay
www.railwayvillage.org

Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railway Museum, Phillips
www.srrl-rr.org

The Stanley Museum, Kingfield
www.stanleymuseum.org

Maine Granite Industry Museum, Mt. Desert
www.mainegraniteindustry.org

Maine Folklife Center, University of Maine, Orono
www.mainefolklife.mainememory.net

Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, Owl’s Head, Portland
www.owlshead.org

Patten Lumbermen’s Museum, Patten
www.lumbermensmuseum.org

Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport
www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org

The American Textile History Museum, Lowell, MA (Chace Catalogue)
www.athm.org

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.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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# 18 switching Phillips yard.

 

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

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Track standards- parallel track spacing for Maine On2

Parallel track spacing can be a problem for Maine On2 (and other scales) layout builders at the design stage, particularly if they need to shoehorn a design into restricted space, as there is not a lot of information around for guidance, but here’s what we have found.

The NMRA Standard for model railroad parallel track spacing is S-8 which can be viewed here. The general view of the Maine Two Foot modellers is that this standard is not particularly helpful as it depends upon interpretation and interpolation, but still does not give clear results for On2. This was so eloquently put by Yahoo! group member Hilary Smith very many moons ago:-

In my reading so far, I have either not come across spacing discussions or have overlooked them. Looking at NMRA S-8 Track Center Standards for Class II (small four-wheel truck diesels; small steam; old-time, logging, branch line rolling stocking stock) O scale standard gauge puts tangent track at 3.75″ (or 15 scale feet) apart, and for a curve of 41.5″ radius, 3.8125″ apart. For On3, tangents are 2.75″ and for 41.5″ radius, 3.375″, proportionally much wider spacing in curves relative to tangents than in standard gauge. Comparing On3 tangent spacing with standard gauge shows that the track centerlines are a full 1″ or four feet closer together, but on curves only 0.4375″ (or 1.75 feet) closer together. So, are On2 cars no skinnier or longer than their On3 counterparts meaning that On3 spacing standards are a good choice? Or should the centerlines be closer still? Thanks for any observations, experience, or advice.

Hilary Smith,  Northern Virginia

 

The post got two replies;-

Terry Smith: The Maine two foot passenger cars can be longer than was common on three foot gauges, meaning that models of Maine cars “cut the corners” more than the equivalent three foot lines. The controlling dimension is the truck centres. I think that three foot narrow gauge cars are slightly wider in general than two foot, but not sufficiently different to make a difference modelling wise for track centres. ie using the On3 data will be OK for On2.

Trevor Marshall:  
You asked about spacing between tracks on tangents and curves for On2 layouts. I think it’s safe to say, as Terry Smith suggested in his reply, that passenger cars are the critical equipment for curves. Therefore, if you have such a car (SR&RL – not, say, Monson, whose lone passenger car was much shorter), you could do your own testing:

1 – lay a minimum radius curve on a surface on which you can draw with a pencil. You can either spike down a piece of On2 flex, or just a pair of rails, directly onto, say, a 1×6 piece of pine.

2 – put the car on the track.

3 – holding a pencil at each end of the car on the outside of the curve, roll the car along the track so the pencil draws a line on your surface

4 – repeat holding a pencil at the midpoint of the car on the inside of the curve.

5 – measure the offset between the track centerline and each line you’ve drawn.

Note that the pencil line will be slightly offset from the edge of the car – that’s built-in clearance for you. If you don’t yet have a passenger car – or don’t want to use that nicely painted model as a marking device – you could always cut a passenger-car-sized piece from styrene or wood (doesn’t have to be exact, but should be at least as large as the car is, corner to corner), add some bolsters from styrene strip under it at the proper locations, and screw some On2 trucks to it. You could even add pencil holders at each corner and in the middle if you like. Build two of them and you can check clearance on the layout before running your real models through. Heck, even add vertical pieces at the ends and in the center to turn one into a clearance car for bridges, buildings, holes in the backdrop, etc.

That’s curves for you. For straights, I have two standards: For transfer tracks, freight platforms, or other places where cars will be spotted adjacent to each other or adjacent to a structure with the intent that plates be dropped between them for the transfer of goods via hand-trucks or strong backs, I use my widest pieces of equipment to lay the tracks as close together as possible without sideswiping. For other places, I’ve spaced tangent track on 3″ centers. This is way more than the minimum spacing required, but it looks right to me – narrow gauge yards tend to have a spare, open feeling to them, and 3″ spacing allows for an O scale figure to stand between cars on adjacent tracks without getting sideswiped. Remember, the minimum is not always the best.

Hope this helps. – Trevor in Toronto

Some time later, the question was asked again, and this time the replies included references to the Maine Two Foot prototypes and other modellers’ experience.  

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Bob Schlechter: Scaling from the prototype photo above, taken at Bridgton Junction, gives approximately 8′ 7″ to 8′ 9″ as the center to center distance of the two foot trackage to the standard gauge trackage. The photo was taken from the roof of a standard gauge box car looking downward at the trains and trackage giving a good vantage point.

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Bob Schlechter: on my Kennebec Central diorama (above) I used 8 1/2 scale feet center to center. Looks good for prototype spacing but if one is going to do lots of operation and switching you may want it wider to allow for full size fingers to be able to reach in between cars!

 

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Terry Smith: “I used 2½” spacing for straight parallel tracks widening to 2¾” around the curved sections (36” radius) on the Reading iteration of my P&SR (pictured above). I added the extra bit of clearance around the curves because I had a passing loop cum staging tracks that were bent round a 90 degree corner in parallel.
I do not recall having problems with access for manual uncoupling (using a Rix wand for my Kadee’s) or with interfering overhangs/underhangs with the longer rolling stock (coaching stock and Bridgton 34 foot freight stock) or locomotives like the large Forney’s, (B&SR/B&HR #7 & #8), or SR&RL #24 using these values.

 

Bob Harper: I use 3″ spacing on my On3 tracks and 2½” on my On2,  which reflects the difference in width of the real rolling stock – 8′ on the 3′ and 6′ on the 2′ lines. Looking at Franklin on the FAQ’s will show how this looks.

Editor: see the picture above of Bob’s Franklin module where the slight out of focus plus lighting highlight the tracks. To view more pictures of Bob’s Franklin module on another browser page, click here.

Bob Harper continues: Obviously the throw-over of the long On2 coaches is important, but I have found that the critical dimension is the cab on SR&RL #23. This is far wider than anything else (apart from a snow plow?), and my mistake of having the driver leaning out of the side window made clearances even worse! He has since been repositioned.

But another factor to bear in mind is the sense of proportion of the whole scene. Unless we are very fortunate with the space available, we inevitably have to fore-shorten out scenes, and trying to keep a prototypical width while losing the prototypical length can lead to the eye perceiving the track spacing to be too wide. In order to keep the overall scene in proportion, it may be necessary to slightly reduce the track spacing from prototypical standards.

 

Trevor Marshall: I like the generously spaced look of the Maine Two Foot yards, like in the picture below of Bridgton on the B&SR/B&HR;-

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Trevor continues: I’ve used 3″ centers on my On2 layouts. I find it gives that appropriately “NG” look.

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Above is a picture showing Enoch Pond station area under construction in the first iteration of Trevor’s S&PCRR, which captures the spaced out look between the tracks.

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This is a rare overhead shot of the Hebron Pond Slate Company sheds and passenger depot on the second iteration of Trevor’s S&PCRR.

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Trevor continues: – I built a test track board that included both 2′ and standard gauge tracks, side by side, like a transfer yard (illustrated above by the interchange yard at Monson Junction). I lined things up visually – used a standard gauge and 2′ boxcar and double checked my spacing with an engine. I think I left a scale 6″ between the equipment, and raised the 2′ gauge line so that the floors of the cars were level.

What I did NOT do was check the spacing with a 2′ gauge plow. ……..Guess what? They’re a lot wider than other equipment. So, if you can get a plow or mock up the width of one (a block of balsa would do), it’s a good idea for checking clearances.

I think I’d still build the transfer tracks close like I did. Crews will just have to shovel the tracks by hand, or plow when there are no standard gauge cars in the yard.

Editor (18-12-2016): I’ve just found my plans of the Bridgton snow plow #2, which measures 8ft 10ins wide at its maximum – a lot different from the normal 6ft 6in to 6ft 9ins width of Bridgton freight cars and coaches. The model snow plow that Trevor acquired was built from a SRCS kit for SR&RL #513, which measures 8ft 4ins wide at its maximum.

Editor: Here’s a picture of the interchange yard at Snowdon on the second iteration of Trevor’s S&PCRR.

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For more pictures of Trevor’s layouts click here. Well worth a browse!

If you have different suggestions and/or experience and would care to share it with us then please contact us.

 

 

Herman Mitchell and Mitchell Scale Models

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Herman Mitchell is one of the unsung heroes in the history of Maine On2 modeling as he was a highly skilled pattern maker who produced the master patterns for castings which were sold or used by Scale Railway Equipment Company, Bob Werner and his businesses of The Hobby Barn and Portland Products, LeeTown Model Services and numerous others. Herman also sold some of his castings under his own Mitchell Scale Models label, such as the SRRR 5 rung boxcar ladder shown above.

In June 2010, Herman’s passing was announced by his friend Pete Mesheau with the following words;-

My good friend Herman (Mitch) Mitchell passed away at his home near Farmington Maine, May 4th. He was 91. Mitch formed Mitchell Scale Models back in the early sixties and built models and components for a number of US firms.

 

He was born in Germany, but left at the age of 18, emigrating to Long Island in 1937.  He trained as a professional pattern maker and machinist.

 

After a chance trip to Phillips, Maine in the mid fifties, he moved his family there from NYC, as it reminded him of the countryside he grew up in.

 

Over the years he did numerous patterns and offered castings in 1/4″ and 1/2″. Many of his two foot patterns were used by Portland Products and Scale Railway Equipment back in the 70’s and 80’s. His craftsmanship and attention to detail was first rate.

 

He was a true pioneer in Maine two foot modelling.

 

Peter Mesheau

 

Earlier in March 2007 Wes Ewell wrote;-  Mitch Mitchell is an extremely capable retired machinist who produced most of Bob Werner’s masters. Bob Schlechter and I met him at a WW&F picnic eight or nine years ago, but I haven’t seen or heard about him since.

In 2016 Pete Mesheau wrote;- Mitch offered a few 1/4″ parts that he did up himself but for the most part, his On2 work was for Portland and SRE. His parts were cast at a small Rhode Island foundry.

The 40 odd 1/2″ scale two foot patterns (pictured below) are still with me, along with a number of 1/2″ parts.

Mitch did many On3 patterns as well, and a number for 1/4″ and 1/2″ scale street cars.

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An overview of the Herman Mitchell 1/2″ scale patterns held by Pete Mesheau.

 

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A close up of Herman’s pattern for a 1/2″ scale Maine freight truck sideframe, with a rail car wheel in the background.

 

 

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A range of Herman’s 1/4″ scale patterns with a swing motion freight truck sideframe in the hand.

 

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Examples of Herman’s 1/4″ scale parts in brass and whitemetal. The truck sideframes across the bottom are from the SRECo range.

 

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Some more of Herman’s 1/4″ scale parts in brass.

 

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Bob Werner included Herman’s range of 1/2″ scale parts in his Hobby Barn Catalogue.

The editors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Pete Mesheau in preparing and checking this topic.

 

 

 

Custom Brass – SR&RL Boxcar #67 kit.

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Custom Brass announced their wooden craftsman style boxcar kit with their advertisement in the September/October 1975 edition of the NG&SL Gazette.

 

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The Custom Brass SR&RL #67 Boxcar kit was typical of what was called “a craftsman style kit”, meaning that compared to today’s (2016) kits, significant cutting, trimming and use of tools to fit details was expected.

The picture above shows the construction style well. The wooden pieces in the upper right are a milled floor (with integral side, intermediate and centre sills), the shaped sub-roof piece and two end blocks. These formed the basic body to which scribed side and end sheathing was applied, followed by plain sheeting for the roof and then strip-wood for fascia’s, ladders and roof walks.

The Custom Brass kit features a bag of black plastic details for the airbrake cylinders, other brake gear and NBW’s, and a bag of brass details for the stirrup steps, queen posts and brake wheel.

Trevor Marshall’s second S&PCRR boxcar, built from the NJ/CB kit

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In June 2007 Trevor Marshall posted the following message to the On2 Yahoo! group;-

S&PCRR doubles its boxcar fleet

Hi List:

Yes, it’s true. Until today, my On2 railroad had ONE boxcar – a Sandy River Car Shops kit built by a friend and acquired when he sold off his On2 equipment. I’ve just been too busy building flat cars for the slate quarry.

However, I decided to do something different – one can only build so many flat cars in a row, after all – so a while ago I started work on an NJ International wooden kit (acquired from another friend who was selling off his On2 equipment… hmm: I see a pattern!). The kit was for SR&RL boxcars 67-76, which were 28-foot cars. I modeled it as Somerset & Piscataquis Counties #68.

This was an interesting experience.

The kit included all the basics, but was missing information like how to route brake rods and pipes, and many details like the dozens of NBWs used on grab irons, etc. Plus, of course, a tin roof made of individual panels of thick embossing tin.

I’ve posted a few photos in the TPM-Projects folder in the photos section of the web site. Editors’ note the pictures are shown below.

It’s “finished”, although I’m waiting for some air hoses to add to the ends. The S&PCRR now has TWO boxcars!

Happy modeling…
– Trevor

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Originally posted 19-08-2016, updated 20-08-2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track gauges – On2

In this post we show some of the commercially produced gauges available at various times.

Simpson roller track gauge.

Russ Simpson produced these gauges to suit variety of rail sizes (eg codes 55, 70, 83 & 100). They were first announced in July 1977 and were available direct and from suppliers such as Coronado Scale Models, Caboose Hobbies and BK Enterprises.

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Portland Products NMRA style gauge.

Bob Werner produced this style gauge back in the mid 1990’s, and examples may turn up on eBay. One was offered as recently as mid-June 2016.

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We know that SRE produced a cast brass three point gauge way back in 1970’s but we don’t have a picture or two – can you help?

On2 Yahoo group member John Rogers also produced a three point gauge in the late 2000’s to early 2010’s, but again we don’t have a picture or two – can you help?

Revised 02-07-2016.