PLW – B&SR tank cars in Sn2 and OnX

Image from PLW

PLW is working to release B&SR tank cars to be followed by a SOCONY tank farm. Contact PLW to reserve one as this will be a limited run.

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A visit from Al

This past Sunday, Al Churella of On2 SR&RL fame came by for a visit. I worked all night to clean up the railroad room sufficiently so that he could see the vision. After 30-40 minutes Al give it a thumbs up (even though I’d not done any work since our last Zoom), and we went to the backyard to enjoy the big trains, Cicadas, and friends…

Above, Al runs the RS3 around with my dad in tow. Al got a few laps in and gave his wife a ride too.

The full story of the Woodlark Central’s 2021 Cicada Run click here.

As usual great to talk to Al about the SR&RL, all things Trains and catch up on happenings on the past year of COVID-19.

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Motrak models offers Weeks Mills Freight House in S-scale

Motrak models offers the Weeks Mills Freight House in S-scale. This is the first Maine 2-Foot structure from Motrak.

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Sn2 – Dimond Archbar Trucks

Jeff Bissonnette developed an Sn2 Diamond Archbar Truck and made it available on Shapeways under the designer name of Farmington Shops. Here is the email he sent to the Sn2_Trains list in January 2019.


Hi Guys,

Finally got over (gave up really) my feud with Shapeways and decided to offer the “Diamond Arch Bar” Sn2 trucks I designed up for sale to the public.

Here’s two shots of an assembled truck, with a sprue of 8 trucks (enough for four cars) behind it.  The sprue has all the parts to complete the 8 trucks.

The assembled trucks with stack of printed frames behind.

The trucks are three piece, two side frames and a bolster.  They can be held together by glue, or screwed as shown in the photos.  They require two packages (per sprue) of Micro Trains/Kadee HOn3 wheelsets to complete.  I highly advise screwing them together.  It might be more work, but it helps with making any adjustments if you need to.

For optimal assembly and rolling quality, I recommend the following…  Please note, I am not affiliated with ANY of these vendors/suppliers and get no kick-back or benefit from these recommendations.  Just trying to save you guys the time required to research this on your own.

Screws can be purchased from a Chinese supplier on ebay here:

Here’s a screen shot of the listing on ebay:

Example Ebay listing for screws. You may not find this exact listing but a listing for the correct screws can usually be found. As you can see, 1000 screws are less than $5.  Shipping is free.  Delivery time is about 2 weeks from China give or take a few days

Also…  Highly recommended and pretty much a “must have” if you want your trucks to roll well, purchase either a #000 combination countersink/center drill from here:

Listing for .020″ (#000) Center Drill

Or the much more expensive, though possibly more effective, Micro Mark “Truck Tuner” tool

The Micro Mark truck tuner

Either of these tools are required it you want your trucks to roll well.  The printed bearing surface is not smooth enough to promote smooth rolling capability and the surfaces MUST be cleaned with either tool prior to assembly.  Failure to clean the bearing surfaces will result in less than optimal rolling quality.  The trucks will still roll, but not very well (compared to what they would if you cleaned the bearings out).

I hope to provide a descriptive tutorial on preparation and assembly of the trucks over the next few days…  You guys are under no obligation to purchase anything, just want to put the trucks out there in the event that they might be useful to others.

Final pricing is $30 per sprue of 4 pair of trucks.  You can still purchase the Micro Trains HOn3 wheelsets on ebay for about $9-$12 per package (two packages per sprue).  You’ll end up paying about $12 to $13.50 per pair of trucks, not including shipping and purchasing the optional (but highly recommended!!!) tools/parts.



Jeff answered questions on the list

Hi Bruce,

  Thanks for buying some…

  The best thing to clean the parts is Mineral Spirits.  Soak the sprue(s) in it for a few hours minimum, then remove and either let the parts air dry or blow them off with compressed air to speed things along.  I’ve also heard that “Bestine”, which is a solvent for rubber cement, works well, but you con’t let the parts soak for a long time in that.  I’ve found that Mineral Spirits is safe and works well.  I’ve left parts soaking for over a week (forgot about them), with no ill effects.

  As far as painting (though you didn’t ask this) I use cheap Krylon primer (they make a plastic compatible primer that is about $3-$4 per can at Home Depot).  I favor black as an under coat, but whatever you use, it’s best to spray the trucks after you assemble the side frames.  Don’t forget to mask off the bearing holes.  Brush paint, or spray your preferred color over the primed parts.

  For weathering…  I recommend against dry brushing.  While Shapeways FXD (what’s now “Smoothest Detail Plastic”) is pretty decent with detail, the surface is still a little rough.  Dry brushing will only accentuate that (ask how I know).  Spraying on a weathered rusty black, solid dark rust, then use a wash of black or dark brown artist oil in odorless paint thinner.

  Also…  Resist the urge to go at the prints with files, sandpaper and/or emery boards…  Removing any material from the simulated metal strapping of the truck is only going to weaken the print and potentially result in something breaking.  The truck frames are pretty robust, so long as care is taken, just don’t do anything to weaken what’s there.

  Also #2…  Keep in mind that these trucks are not “foreground models”.  They are down and dirty, moderately detailed trucks that will roll very well if the proper prep steps are taken in their assembly.

  I still hope to have a fairly detailed tutorial on their assembly sometime in the next few days.  A little busy this weekend with a volleyball tournament (son #2), but I hope to spend some time on it tonight.


The full thread is here:


Posted in Trucks | 2 Comments

HOn3 Mechanisms for building early Forneys

If your considering building an early Forney locomotive you might be interested in this page. The early forney’s would include B&B (Puck and Ariel), SR #1 SR #2, F&M #2/3, KC #1 and possibly others. The Portland locos SR&RL #5, #6, #7 are not included as they are available in Brass.

  • Erie Limited Loco – A bit too small for any true Maine 2-footer, but might work for a WW&F #10
  • LMB HOn3 Outside Frame 0-4-4T – Could be the starting point for F&M #2/3 S.W. Sargent or KC #1
  • MDC 2-8-0 Inside and Outside Framed locos – The inner driver pair might work for the earliest forneys
  • United HOn3 C&S 2-6-0 is nearly perfect for Hinkley Forneys with 30″ drivers and 48″ wheelbase (B&SR #1 & #2, Monson #1 & #2, and F&M #1)

Other Brass locos might work as well. Each would have to be inspected for it’s own merits.

United C&S 2-6-0 minus the rear driver

Posted in Locomotive | 1 Comment

PLW – Announces – Eustis depot and Phillips engine house and shops

Portland Locomotive works has announced both the Eustis Junction station and the Phillips enginehouse and shops. Contact PLW if your interested. Gary has indicated to me that the shop complex would be possible as original 5 stall enginhouse or later 10 stall version. The complex will probably be done as a series of three structures rather than forcing the builder to buy all three buildings at one time. There may be an opportunity to have the complex customized to make it fit better in you location. Contact PLW to get official information and show your interest in S-scale version (or O-scale). As with all PLW offerings, these are limited time productions, not likely to be re-run.

Eustis Junction Station – Click on image to go to PLW announcement
Engine house complex – Click on link to see announcement
Progress update on the O-scale version of the car shop. Click on image to go to PLW report
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HO “Scale” Kadee Couplers for Sn2

One of the cheapest and simplest and best looking couplers to install is the KD #153.  Gary White is using the HO #153 short shank “scale” couplers with whiskers from Kadee.  Gary installs the directly on the car without a coupler box.  He uses scale 4″x4″ board on the sides for the whiskers to press against.  The boards simulate the boards on the prototype cars.  Gary clarified how he installs his couplers “I should mention I don’t waste the coupler boxes, I cut them up and saw off the mounting pins and use those with the coupler so there is no shifting around on the mounting screws.”


On the left is a completed installation. On the right is a car with the scale 4″x4″ boards.


Same installations slightly different angle


Two cars with the HO scale couplers installed

For passenger cars, longer shank coupler may used and could be preferred.

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Sergent Couplers for Sn2

If you want the most prototypical looking and operating couplers for your Sn2 train, consider the HO scale Type-E couplers by Sergent Engineering.  Harry Downey has been putting Sergent couplers on his freight cars.  Here are a few photos that he posted on the email group.


This pulp rack has Sergent Couplers


Installation of the Sergent coupler from the bottom. This is the accurail coupler box.  The freight car truck is an HO Tichy Archbar with a narrowed bolster and HOn3 wheelsets.


Two SR&RL freight cars with Sergent Couplers

The Sergent couplers do not operated the same as KD style couplers.  They operate more like the prototype.  They do not auto center, so need to be aligned for couple and they require a magnetic wand to uncouple.  They are not for everyone.  Read more about them on the Sergent Engineering web site.

It might be reasonable to mount them without a box in a similar manner to how Gary White is mounting HO Scale Kadee #153 couplers.  Without the coupler box, there would be more room for truck swing.

In addition to the Type-E Sergent Engineering offers a Sharon coupler.  I’m not sure which is more correct.

Posted in Couplers, Harry Downey, Modeling | 1 Comment

Jerry Wilson Products

In the early 2000’s Jerry Wilson developed a number of products for Sn2 and S-scale in general.  To my knowledge Jerry is not producing any products at this time.WW&F #5 and #6 Passenger Car Kits

He produced a coach and combine for the WW&F.  My memory is that the original kits were Laser cut with Resin roof’s.  Later the whole car might have been resin.

If anyone has photos of these cars, please share with me or on the group

MDC 2-8-0 Conversion Kits and Parts

Jerry cast domes, cabs and such to convert the MDC HOn3 2-8-0 to approximations of SR&RL 2-6-0’s and 2-6-2’s and WW&F #6.  He also  produced a spiral bound book for those who wanted step by step conversion instructions.


Jerry Wilson conversion parts – FYI: Address is no longer good, he has moved.


Two Jerry Wilson cast cabs.

Jerry Wilson 2-6-0 conversion on right. The shay was his own Gilpin style conversion.

Two of Jerry’s in-progress conversions

If you have competed a conversion, please share the photos with me or on the group.


S-scale Wagons

Jerry also produced a set of generic wagons for S-scale (and possibly other scales).  Here are two images of his production models


Jerry Wilson wagon kits. Horses not included


Jerry Wilson water wagon kits. Horses not included.


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PLW – Dead River Station

PLW is currently taking orders for the Dead River station.  Dead River did not only exist in the minds of Hayden and Frary, it was a real place on the SR&RL.  The architecture of this structure is typical of Maine and would probably gook great on any New England based layout.  For those of use modeling the P&R portion of the SR&RL, it is a must have.  PLW is offering it in both S and O scales.  As with most PLW kits, this is a limited time offer.  The production is starting soon, with S-scale could be ready for the 2018 Midwest All-Scales Train Show that PLW puts on (March 2018).  To order, go to the PLW Website

PLW’s Dead River Station

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