There are several model locomotives that were manufactured for the SR&RL in HOn30. None are currently available on the commercial market. However, they come up for auction on Ebay several times a year, and for that we can be grateful to those who own closets full of unfulfilled project dreams. Many of these locomotives were available in RTR (Ready to Run) and/or kit form. All of them were brass. The ones that show up most often are those offered by Sango and Train & Trooper. The locomotives produced by all manufacturers, to the best of my ability, are SR&RL #5, #6 early, #6 late, #7, #9, #10, #18, #19, #23 and #24. I have over a period of roughly three years, acquired one or more of each of these locomotives, some RTR and some kits. Most I bought on Ebay, and the rest through people I've come into contact with on Facebook and other online social media sites and E-mail groups. If you hope to acquire any of these locomotives, you have to be very vigilant, doing searches every day on Ebay, and joining several social media groups dealing with Maine two-footer and other narrow gauge modeling groups. My four regular searches that I do virtually daily on Ebay include "HOn30", "HOn2 1/2", "Sandy River Rangeley Lakes" and "SR&RL". Don't worry, you don't have to compete with me. I have more than enough locos now to keep trains rolling on my layout for the rest of my life. In addition to actual SR&RL model locos, there are several other RTR and conversion kits available that are suitable for Maine 2-footers in HOn30. Sango produced a loco called the Dachsund, often refered to as the "Dachs", that is very similar to the early SR&RL moguls, and looks right at home. Minitrains produces a RTR forney that looks very similar to Sandy River #1 and #2. There are 3-D printed cabs available on Shapeways with the 'pagoda' roof that you can buy to replace the Minitrains cab to make them look even more like the Sandy River locos. There are also many conversion kits on Shapeways that you can purchase to convert various N scale RTR locos to turn them into HOn30 locos, and Railway Recollections makes a few excellent cast resin kits to also convert RTR N scale locos to HOn30 locos.
SR&RL #5 and #6 Early
#5 and 6 Early are The Car Works RTR brass locos. They are excellent quality locomotives. Like all The Car Works produced brass locos, you will probably need to fine-tune it to get them to run well. I am only posting the photographs of #6 early because they are identical loco models.
SR&RL #6 Late
#6 Late is a The Car Works RTR brass loco. It is the Early #6, with air brakes replacing the vacuum brakes on the early #6 and a steam-powered electric generator added to it.
#7 is a The Car Works RTR brass loco. It is basically the #6, but with a rounded cab roof instead of the early 'pagoda' roof that some of the Sandy River locos were equipped with.
#9 is another The Car Works brass loco. What I have appears to have been an RTR loco with a factory paint job that the chassis was removed from, or was an extra body that was never completed. I got it on Ebay and it came with several bags of multiples of extra parts that will keep me supplied with parts for the rest of my life. Some day I'll get around to building a chassis for it.
#10 is a Flying Zoo brass RTR locomotive. It is an excellent quality locomotive. Like The Car Works locos, you will probably have to fine tune it to get it running well. Compared to the smaller, earlier brass locos, #10 has much more hauling power. I actually have three of them, but only one so far is painted. It's currently my favorite loco, until one of my others becomes my favorite.
#18 is a Sango brass kit locomotive. For those of you who have the desire to model the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR, and want as complete a roster as possible, some locos are only available in kit form. I have done a lot of work on my locos, but as of yet, have not done a complete build from a kit. I have a few kits waiting for when I have the time and have built up my skills better to tackle them. This is a good example of what you can anticipate in a brass kit loco. As far as I know, there are no published instructions in English.
#19 is a Victors Scale Models brass kit. The instructions for this one are a lot better than what I'm used to for other manufacturers. They're in English, which is a plus if you speak English, with detailed descriptions of steps, drawings, and color photos of the process.
#23 is a The Car Works RTR brass locomotive
#24 is a Train & Trooper RTR brass locomotive
SR&RL RAIL CARS
#3 is a David M. Hoffman brass rail bus kit. It technically is still available, but last time I tried to get some items from David, it ended up not happening. He's a great guy but very old. The primary components of the kit are brass castings, which is a David M. Hoffman kind of thing. Most of the other kits on this page you'll notice are photo-etched brass. Because there's no layering of photo-etched parts to create window frames and whatnot. There's not much in the way of drawings and sketches in the instructions, but when you look at the photos of the parts, you can see that not a lot is required anyway.
#4 is an out of production Sango brass Model T railbus kit. It's a photo-etch kit, so you can compare it to the cast brass #3 above and see what I mean about more work being involved.
SR&RL Rail Bus Trailers
This is an out of production Kennebunk Models kit. I got this, as you see it, on Ebay. Originally the kit contains parts to make two of the trailers, but what came in this one was one partially assembled kit and scraps from another. Luckily the chassis of the second one was present, and I can use the complete-ish one to go by to finish the second.
OTHER MAINE TWO-FOOTER LOCOS
Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington #7
WW&F #7 is an out-of-production brass imported RTR factory painted loco from ....gotta go look at the box.
Monson #3 / #4
Monson #3 (or #4, they were almost identical and number plates are available for both) is an imported currently produced 3-D printed kit with RTR chassis from Toma in Japan.
OTHER MAINE-ISH LOCOMOTIVES
When I started out with my Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes RR layout in HOn30, I didn't know much about what was available. You truly have to hunt things down and find out what is in production, what is out of production, what are suitable substitutes and all that. Maine 2-footers are a niche, and Maine 2 footers are a niche-within-a-niche. My inspiration to do this someday were Dave Frary and Bob Hayden's Carrabassett & Dead River RR in HOn30 that I saw in Model Railroader magazine when I was a kid. Being a free-lance model railroad, they could put whatever they wanted on it since it wasn't a prototype. You'll see a couple of the Dachsunds below running around on their long-gone layout. So it's harder to source equipment if you're sticking to the prototype. What I did when I first started my layout was buy two of the Minitrains RTR forneys as stand-ins for the Sandy River #1 and #2 until I could do something better. The Dachsund is a good example of a stand in, as it looks very much like the early Sandy River moguls. With modifications, you can make it look even more like one of the early Sandy River moguls, and it would take someone with true inside knowledge to know it isn't 'right'. So below are some locos that I have that work for the right flavor for Maine 2-footers.
The Dachshund is an out of production Sango Brass kit locomotive kit. It is also known as the 'Dachs', and was sold under both names. Both of mine that I've acquired were partly assembled when I got them. The one that's a runner now is the proverbial ape. It's a great puller. I haven't modified it to look more like one of the SR&RL moguls, and might not bother. The other one I'll probably modify when I get around to the project. Hunt for it on Ebay.
JOE WORKS FORNEY
This Maine 2-footer Sandy River-style forney is an out of production brass loco kit. With its 'pagoda' roof, its large steam dome and small sand dome, it looks the most like Sandy River #1 and #2 for any of the kit locos that I know of. But like the Minitrains locos, it has those funky little toy-like drivers which kind of kills it for me. I like large spoked drivers. Can't help it. But anyway, it's a good stand-in like the Dachsund is. Hunt for it on Ebay.
This one is actually in production! This is an RTR locomotive. There are a couple of distributors in the U.S. for it, and you can find them on the Minitrains website. It resembles most closely Sandy River 1 and 2. If you want it to resemble them more, you can get a replacement 'pagoda' roof cab on Shapeways, and repaint it for the Sandy River. I've got two of them for switching yards. They don't pull much, so it's an appropriate job for a small yard. You'll notice in the photos that the loco appears to be 'bent', between the boiler and the cab at the junction between the two. Well, the frame isn't bent, but because of the design that went into production on these, the cab is actually a bit too long for the space on the frame for it, and unless you do some major surgery on the cab and frame get used to it. Below are 6 views of the loco, three as it comes from the factory, and three with the Shapeways 3-D printed replacement cab with the pagoda roof, and painted up as a stand-in for 'SR&RL 1'. By the way, all my coal in my locos comes from the current SR&RL in Phillips and the WW&F at Alna. Note that the Shapeways cab design was based on the one that comes with the loco, so it has the same problems as the factory included cab.
LOCOMOTIVE CONVERSION KITS
Prototype Conversion Kits
Kennebunk Models B&H 3, KC 3, or WW&F 8
This is a Kennebunk Models out of production resin kit. It requires a Bachmann N Scale Docksider locomotive for the conversion. It has various components such as the headlights that can be used to make one of the three locomotives the kit is designed for.
Kennebunk Models SR 5, SR&RL 6, KC 4, or WW&F 9
This is a Kennebunk Models out of production resin kit. Like the previous kit, it requires a Bachmann N Scale Docksider locomotive for the conversion. It has various components such as the headlights that can be used to make one of the four locomotives the kit is designed for.
OTHER MAINE-ISH CONVERSION KITS
Chivers Finelines 0-4-2T Body Kit
As you'll see from the photos, there are actually two locos that came in the box, both of which were in there when I won this on Ebay. I haven't done anything with this yet, and it came with no instructions. So I figure from the box description that the parts that are white metal are mostly the ones associated with the original kit in the box. I'll figure it all out when the time comes.
Chivers Finelines Freelance Prairie Charlie's Creek No. 8
Another Ebay find that I haven't done anything with yet. Again, no instructions were with it so it's gonna be another adventure to assemble.
Diamond Models 2-4-4T Forney
This one was listed on Ebay, but I let it pass, and as I write it's still sitting there. Price was too high for what it is, in my opinion. As you can see it's noted in marker on the box that it's SR&RL, but it's not. The closest thing it looks like is SR&RL #8, as that was the only inside-frame 2-4-4 the SR&RL ever owned. Compared to the Train & Trooper and other brass locos, this little bugger is pretty chunky in construction and the detail doesn't compare. But who knows, maybe it's a good puller with lots of power!
Trouble shooting locomotives
A friend asked me how I deal with locos that don't want to play nice, to make them play nice. Since pretty much all of us who do HOn30 for our Maine Two Footers are using either RTR brass locos that are 20 to 40 years old, conversions that are based on N Scale loco chassis, or vintage brass kits that are 20 to 40 years old, this might help others, so I'll post what I told him here. This is for old locos in general, so it applies to other scales as well. I won't go into detail on rebuilding brass locos, which is another whole story. First thing I do if a loco isn't running is take a 9 volt battery, with a couple of wires attached, and touch the wires directly to the positive and ground to see if the motor itself will run. If it doesn't, then I spray it with electronics cleaner, a good healthy sopping dose, let it dry, then put just a touch of oil to the bearings at both ends of the motor shaft. I touch the wires to the motor again, and usually, it spins great. If the motor still doesn't spin, then it was probably burnt up by the previous owner and isn't worth trying to rebuild. If the motor spins with the 9 volt battery, then you put it on the tracks but it still won't run, spray the whole running gear, gearbox, everything that moves, with the electronics cleaner, and very lightly oil every moving part, gears, axles, rivets, etc., make sure all the wires are properly soldered, and clean the drivers with a bright boy or pencil eraser. Try running it again. If it still doesn't want to run, then the drivers probably aren't quartered properly. Re-quarter the drivers, and make sure there are no bent rods or linkages. If it still doesn't run right, then there has to be an electrical short somewhere. Look for anywhere that could be causing the short, a wire or part of the loco anywhere that could be causing the positive current from the drivers and other wheels on the positive side of the track to be touching something that is making it flow directly to the negative drivers and wheels on the other side of the loco, instead of to the positive side of the motor like it should be. Unless the motor is ruined, these steps will make it run again. Once it is running, put it on a loop track and just let it run for a few hours in forward direction, then reverse it and run it a few hours in reverse. This will recondition all the moving parts and clean up the electrical brushes and contacts to break the loco back in. If the loco limps or stutters, then make sure you don't have a cracked gear, as the plastic or nylon gears used in most locos sometimes split on the axle. All my locos are second hand, and every loco has needed to be cleaned up, oiled, and usually needs some adjustments and to be broken back in to get it running right. I've only had one docksider loco so far that turned out to be a throwaway. I hope this helps anyone having the same troubles I've worked my way through. Happy Rails!
HOn30 Locomotive Handbook
BY CHRIS McCHESNEY Locomotives are the most important element of your model railroad. Without reliable locomotives, all your best efforts can become dis-heartening when you flip that switch, open that throttle....and nothing happens. Or the loco shorts out along the track or jumps the track, won't pull cars, etc. etc. Chris is an expert at making them run well, and even has conquered that most illusive of ability in the hobby, building steam locomotives from scratch. The only thing that will help you more than reading, and rereading this book and keeping it handy, is getting in there and getting hands on experience performing surgery on your finicky little critters. The book is available from Portland Locomotive Works. Click on the button below and it will bring you straight to the book on the PLM website. Do yourself a big favor, click below, pop it in your cart, complete the purchase, and jump for joy when you take it out of your mail box.