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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madruga Models

Madruga Models

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In October 2008, Trevor Marshall wrote;-

I recently acquired two craftsman kits for Sandy River flangers, offered by a company called Madruga Model Works. The photos of the finished models that accompany the kits are stamped on the back as being printed in February and June 1980.

Editor:These are shown above.

Here’s some more detail: Madruga Model Works was owned by Bernie Lewis and the address on the box is a PO box in Miltipas CA.

The 503 comes with two sheets of plans – one by RH Werner, the other by JE Robinson, based on measurements taken in 1968 by RW Brown and additional data from E Bond. It looks like Bernie Lewis did 55 kits for 503.

The 505 includes one sheet of plans by RH Werner, and 50 kits were produced.

The kits each consist of a Grandt Line details, plus white metal castings for journals and the flanger blades that MIGHT be Portland products, or might be MMW’s own castings (does anybody know?), plus strip and sheet wood in little baggies.

Does anybody know more about Madruga Model Works, or any of the gents mentioned? I thought it might be a good topic for discussion and possibly help record the story of Maine two-foot modeling in O scale. – Trevor

PS: Bernie sounds like quite the guy. His first page of instructions reads, in part: “I realize that most On2 modelers are accomplished scratchbuilders; however, instructions are included to demonstrate my method of construction. If all else fails, you might want to give these methods a try.”

Obviously, a wit!

and Bob Schlechter replied to Trevor;-

Very interesting that you came across both Madruga kits by Bernie.

Those were the only two kits that Bernie produced. Very nice kits even going back 28 years ago. Further kit production ceased due to a divorce! Bernie is a good friend from the past when we both lived in and around the San Francisco bay area and he now resides in Vermont. He, to the best of my knowledge, quit model railroading and does bird/duck carving. Has a Ph.D. in mathematics and has a very good sense of humor.

Bernie and I did On2 modules depicting the Kennebec Central RR. I did Randolph and he did Togus. They were displayed at a NMRA show in San Mateo, California many years ago. I still have my diorama as I tend not to throw things away! Just ask my wife.

R.H. Werner, Bob of Hobby Barn fame also a friend from the past who now resides in Arizona. Would love to see his Portland Products line reissued.

J.E Robinson, John is also a friend and resides between Colorado and a ranch in Texas, He still does model railroading but enjoys his full size two foot RR on his Texas ranch. Talked with him at the 2008 NNGC.

R.W. Brown , Bob, is the founder, owner and editor of the Gazette magazine. Bob and I have been friends for the last forty plus years. He is still very active in model railroading in Los Altos, California. Also talked with him at the 2008 NNGC.

Bond, Ed, also a friend for some time is credited with many of the prototype two foot photos that we all use and enjoy. He was collecting prototype railroad photos since he was a teenager. He is active in 7 1/2″ gauge live steam in Georgia. Had a pleasant visit with him a few months ago.

I’ve known all of the Grandt family for the past 45 years. Dave still runs the business and Robb publishes a line of books pertaining to Colorado railroads. Met with both at the 2008 NNGC.

Does the above suffice or is more needed?

Regards

Bob in Sequim

 

Narrow Gauge & Shortline Gazette Info about Madruga Models;-

Jan/Feb 1980, page 17 SR&RL flanger #505

May/Jun 1980 page 75 small advert SR&RL flanger #503

Jul/Aug 1980 page 20 News in Review SR&RL flangers

Sep/Oct 1980 page 17 News in Review Sound Cams and SR&RL flanger

 

Track Schematics – the Wiscasset line

This series of track schematics were produced by Trevor Marshall in 2007 as part of his mid-term re-design for his On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layout, and were originally published on the groups Fotopic site. Trevor drew them up to enhance his understanding of the operations of the smaller Maine Two Footers and to demonstrate the relative simplicity of their facilities. They are not to scale and where the track work changed over time, they generally represent the largest variant. Note that the original intent of these track schematics was as model railroad LDE’s (Layout Design Elements) rather than as historically or prototypically correct representations.

Click here to view Trevor Marshall’s On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layouts on another page.

The Wiscasset line operated from 1895 until 1933 between the Maine towns of Wiscasset, Albion, and Winslow, but was abandoned in 1936.

The line began operating to Weeks Mills on February 20, 1895, as the Wiscasset and Quebec Railroad. The line was reorganized in 1901 as the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway, and completed a branch line from Weeks Mills to the Kennebec River at Winslow intending but failing to connect with the Sandy River Railroad at Farmington. This branch line operated from 1902 to 1916 before it was abandoned.

WWF-01-WiscassetLowerc

The Lower Yard was around milepost minus 1

WWF-02-WiscassetCrossingc

This station was milepost 0.0.

WWF-03-WiscassettUpperc

The Upper Yard was around milepost 1

WWF-04-Sheepscotc

Milepost 4.8

WWF-05-TopMountainc

Top of the Mountain was around milepost 6.

WWF-06-HeadTidec

Milepost 9.1

WWF-07-HeadTidePitc

Head Tide Pit was around milepost 10.5

WWF-08-Whitefieldc

Milepost 13.3

WWF-09-NorthWhitefieldc

Milepost 17.4

WWF-10-CoopersMillsc

Milepost 20.4

WWF-11-Maxcysc

Milepost 20.4

WWF-12-Windsorc

Milepost 23.0

WWF-13-WeeksMillsc

Weeks Mills was at Milepost 28.2

WWF-14-Newellsc

Milepost 31.0

WWF-15-Palermoc

Milepost 32.9

WWF-16-Chinac

Milepost 38.0

WWF-17-Albionc

Milepost 43.5

The branch line to Winslow was built in 1901 as an ill fated attempt to connect with the Sandy River Railroad at Farmington, but only reached the Kennebec River at Winslow. The branch operated from 1902 until 1916 before it was abandoned.

WWF-18-SouthChinac

Milepost 31.5

WWF-19-EastVassalboroc

Milepost 36.5

WWF-20-NorthVassalboroc

Milepost 39.1

WWF-21-Winslowc

Milepost 42.7

 

Track Schematics – the Bridgton line

This series of track schematics were produced by Trevor Marshall in 2007 as part of his mid-term re-design for his On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layout, and were originally published on the groups Fotopic site. Trevor drew them up to enhance his understanding of the operations of the smaller Maine Two Footers and to demonstrate the relative simplicity of their facilities. They are not to scale and where the track work changed over time, they generally represent the largest variant. Note that the original intent of these track schematics was as model railroad LDE’s (Layout Design Elements) rather than as historically or prototypically correct representations.

Click here to view Trevor Marshall’s On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layouts on another page.

The line was built as the Bridgton & Saco River Railroad in 1882 from Bridgton Junction to Bridgton (town) a distance of nearly 16 miles, and the first paying train ran in January 1883. In 1898 the line was extended from Bridgton to Harrison, a distance of 5 miles or so.

In 1930 after some financial troubles the line was formally transferred to a group of local parties, and was renamed The Bridgton & Harrison railroad. It is ironic that the first train operating under this regime then derailed on its return from Harrison, which caused the Harrison extension to be abandoned.

The line was finally scrapped in 1941 with the majority of the rolling stock being acquired by a wealthy railfan and cranberry grower, Ellis D Atwood, for use on his cranberry bogs in South Carver, Massachusetts.

BSR-01-BridgtonJctc

Milepost 0.0

BSR-02-Scribnersc

Milepost 0.8

BSR-03-Mullensc

Milepost 2.7

BSR-04-GravelPitc

Milepost 5.3

BSR-05-WestSebagoc

Milepost 7.3

BSR-06-TankHouseSidingc

Milepost 7.6

BSR-07-PerleysMillsc

Milepost 9.0

BSR-08-IngallsRoadc

Milepost 10.5

BSR-09-Kennittsc

Milepost 11.3, note alternative spellings of “Kennetts” and “Kennet’s” used by the Maine Central.

BSR-10-SouthBridgtonc

Milepost 12.1

BSR-11-SandyCreekc

Milepost 13.6

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Milepost 15.9. In 1898 the line was extended from Bridgton to Harrison, a distance of 5 miles or so. The extension was abandoned in 1930. Location of one of the very few 2 foot diamond crossings.

BSR-13-FarmersMarketc

Milepost 16.0, also known as “Farmers Exchange”.

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Milepost 16.4  Update 08-Jan-2016: for a newly uncovered siding to serve Forest Mills directly see http://www.bsrrr.com/2015/12/31/forest-mills-service/

 

BSR-15-NorthBridgtonc

Milepost 19.5

BSR-16-Harrisonc

Milepost 20.8, the end.

 

Track Schematics – The Kennebec Central

This series of track schematics were produced by Trevor Marshall in 2007 as part of his mid-term re-design for his On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layout, and were originally published on the groups Fotopic site. Trevor drew them up to enhance his understanding of the operations of the smaller Maine Two Footers and to demonstrate the relative simplicity of their facilities. They are not to scale and where the track work changed over time, they generally represent the largest variant. Note that the original intent of these track schematics was as model railroad LDE’s (Layout Design Elements) rather than as historically or prototypically correct representations.

Click here to view Trevor Marshall’s On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layouts on another page.

 

KCRR-01-Randolphc

The Kennebec Central was another simple line, running the five miles from a terminus on the riverside at Randolph (above) to the National Soldier’s Home at Togus (below).

KCRR-02-Togusc

Track Schematics – the Monson

This series of track schematics were produced by Trevor Marshall in 2007 as part of his mid-term re-design for his On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layout, and were originally published on the groups Fotopic site. Trevor drew them up to enhance his understanding of the operations of the smaller Maine Two Footers and to demonstrate the relative simplicity of their facilities. They are not to scale and where the track work changed over time, they generally represent the largest variant. Note that the original intent of these track schematics was as model railroad LDE’s (Layout Design Elements) rather than as historically or prototypically correct representations.

Click here to view Trevor Marshall’s On2 Somerset & Piscataquis Counties RR layouts on another page.

 

MRR-01-MonsonJctc

The Monson was a pretty simple line running the six miles from Monson Village (below) and the slate quarries beyond to Monson Junction (above) where it interchanged with the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad.

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