Dixmont & Winslow Railway

These pages are about my mythical HOn30 Dixmont & Winslow Railway and associated lines located in Penobscot, Waldo and Kennebec Counties in Maine.

Someday they may contain a route map, history, track plan and other items of interest relating to my HOn30 modelling but for now all they contain is images of the DMR #8 and a few other pieces of equipment.

December 23, 2015
The Bachmann Skarloey arrived today.

A very nice little engine. Its size indicates it is 4mm scale.
The couplers are on swing brackets. Looks like it will come apart easily.
Here are a few pictures.

The New Bachmann Skarloey 0-4-2T from the Thomas the Tank Engine line
Skarloey by itself on the store test track. It runs well.
Conversion possibilities. The face is removable so a proper boiler front can be applied. A quick measurement says it is 43" (12.5mm) in diameter. The couplers need to be replaced with MicroTrains. The buffers have to go. It needs a more North American style cab. Have to wait until I have time to disassemble the model to see how practical this will be.
Skarloey by with two MinitrainS locomotives. The scale difference is apparent but not insurmountable.
My next question was how does it look with North American equipment?
Skarloey does not look too bad beside a US box car. In some ways it seems more in proportion than the 2-6-2T from MinitrainS.
Here is the same scene from above. Looks pretty good.
My initial impressions are that this is a good model, well worth having.

December 21, 2015
It has been a long time since I have done much in HOn30. For the last few years I have been heavily involved in another fringe scale - TT-Scale, and have built a mini modular layout (TT- Tracks.org) based on the N-Scale T-Trak concept. I am working on adapting that to HOn30.

So what got me back interested in HOn30?

I have been watching the new MinitrainS releases with interest but was able to resist buying any until the Baldwin 2-6-2T was released. That model could not be resisted so one went home with me Saturday. Here are a few images on a HOn30 corner I built many years a go to sit on one of my HO Scale corner modules from the days when I was in a HO-Scale modular club.

The New MinitrainS WW I Baldwin 2-6-2T
Here is the Baldwin 2-6-2T on my old corner section.
It looks pretty good as it is. It needs MicroTrains couplers but it is otherwise serviceable as it is.
For Maine Two-Foot service it needs a new cab, pilot and tender. I think I am going to have to buy another one for that conversion. I have looked at the Myner Models parts on Shapeways and think that is the way to go.
My next question was how does it look with various types of North American equipment?
Here is my Baldwin 2-6-2T with a short two car train. The 2-6-2T is a bit dwarfed by the long cars but looks OK. I think adding a tender will give it a bit more presence and make it look better.
Here is the Baldwin 2-6-2T with a box car (Poly Mold I think). The 2-6-2T is dwarfed by the box car.
The Baldwin 2-6-2T does look better with smaller cars, here with a string of the long discontinued Grandt Line Koppel cars. It does look good pulling the MinitrainS four wheel cars so will be great in an industrial setting.

HOn30 Trak Modules
As mentioned at the start I have been toying with adapting the T-Trak concept to HOn30.
In T-Trak they use Kato UniTrack and use the UniJoiners to hold the modules together. Of course there is no HOn30 Unitrack.

You could use N-Scale Kato Unitrack on the whole module and try to disguise it with paint, ballast and scenery.

There are other ways. You can use the Kato conversion track (UniTrack to flex track) or you can cut up a piece of Unitrack, remove the rails and slide the HOn30 rails into the Unitrack. I have discovered that Peco Mainline Flex track rails fit perfectly into Unitrack
Here are two modules. The one on the right was started years ago and uses the Kato conversion pieces with Peco HOn30 Mainline flex track and turnout. The track is on a four inch spacing (four or eight inches from the front of the module), here at eight inches.
The module on the left uses cut pieces of Unitrack and was made to try out a three inch spacing (three, six or nine inches from the front of the module). After looking at it, I have decided to go back to the four inch spacing. It gives more scenic space behind the track if it is at the eight inch mark. I will rework the left module.
Here is the Peco Mainline Track in the Kato N-Scale UniTrack. A layer of Midwest N- Scale cork brings the Peco track up to the right height.
Provisional Standards. See following image.
Basic Straight modules are built on a 12" x 24" piece of Woodland Scenics foam.

Track on both ends of the module will be spaced at either (or both if you wish) four inches or eight inches from the front of the module.
A one and one half inch piece of Kato N-Scale Unitrack with joiner (alternate Kato Conversion piece) will be glued to the edge of the module centered on the four or eight inch mark. Track on the module will be Peco HOn30 Mainline track and turnouts.

The Blue lines show straight through routes. The red lines show routes that change their entry/exit points.
I use the WS foam as it is easily available. Any hobby store can get it.
The same with the Peco track. If you use the Kato conversion pieces you could use other track, including hand laid. As we will be using short wheel base locomotives, turnouts should have live frogs.
Turnouts will be manually controlled.
You will note that the ends of the modules are designed so that a module could be flipped 180 degrees and still fit in a layout.
A module can be a multiple of two feet long.
There is no reason why non-mainline track cannot cross a module edge at other than the four inch or eight inch marks. Connecting those tracks to adjacent modules is up to the module owner.
A module could be deeper than 12" as long as the 12" interface section with connecting track(s) is maintained on each end.
For layout planning purposes straight modules will be designated by their Entry (left side) - Exit (right side) tracks.
For example a module that has a straight track from the 4" line on the left to the 4" line on the right would be called a 4-4 module. This module could be flipped 180 degrees to become an 8-8 module.
If there were multiple Entry or Exit tracks they would be a 48- or -48.
Similarly a module where the track Entered at one line and Exited at the other would be a 4-8 or 8-4.
Corner modules are 24" square.

Track on both connecting edges or corner modules will be spaced at either (or both if you wish) four inches or eight inches from the front of the module.
If you cannot get a properly cut 24" square piece of foam you can layer WS foam sheets to make a 24" square.

If a 24" square is too large to store or transport easily you can cut the back and front corners off to make a trapezoid. See the green area on the diagram.

If you really want a minimum size corner you can split the trapezoid from point to pint to make two half sized corners. These are only suitable for the smaller radius curves.

The curve radius shown are what fit after the Kato adaptor pieces are added. The dotted red line inside each curve shows a slightly smaller curve (14" instead of 14.5" and 18" instead of 18.5") and would allow for a small amount of easement. If you are using the small half corners I would use 14" or maybe 13" to get the track back from the edge.
Other Standards.

The modules will be three inches high.
They should be painted a dirt brown so no white foam shows through the scenic covering.
Ends should be painted a green.
Front and rear will have a 2.5" deep fascia made from styrene painted Hunter Green (readily available in a spray can).

One corner should have a power connector.
Power could be DC or DCC. Obviously DCC would allow more trains to run but not everybody (including me) has their HOn30 equipment converted to DCC yet.
Thoughts and Considerations
  1. "The modules are small and you can't do much on them". Small is the point. They are light and easy to carry. Being small they are easy to make and finish.
  2. What about legs? You don't need them. The modules will sit on a tabletop. You should have a stack of 1/8" and 1/4" shims to level tables.
  3. How do I transport modules? Both Midwest Basswood and Woodland Scenics foam come in one foot square by 24" long boxes. Ask your favorite Hobby store if you can have the boxes.
  4. I have no good answer for carrying corners. I carry two 24" Square TT-Tracks modules in two large boxes and have two more sitting on top of those boxes.
  5. What about shorter modules? You can make shorter modules just remember that you will have to make then in pairs to balance out an oval.
  6. What about longer modules? As long as they are in increments of two feet there is no issue. If the length is not a multiple of two feet then you will need an adaptor module to make it an even multiple.
  7. What about inside corners? Trapezoidal corners can be used as inside corners. You will need two one-foot straight modules to make the layout geometry correct.
A small layout idea. See following image.
So where am I going with this ides - I don't know yet.

I do have the two straight modules, a four foot station scene from my old HO Modular days that could be modified to the standard , and the curved piece that could be modified to fit on a trapezoidal corner (all the green modules). I would only need two more straight modules and three corners to have a functioning layout.

We will see what the New Year brings.


I have been working on stations.

The first is the Alna Center Station by Portland Locomotive Works (now Banta . . .) The model went together well. Needs the smoke stack (can't find the suggested piece), a door knob, signs and stuff on the platform. Don't know if anybody makes the correct type of milk container. For now I may use cut down CMA cans.

Headtide Station
I have been working on a model of Headtide Station. The basic structure is a laser kit made using the Kitomat Software. This gives a basic box (walls, roof panels, doors and frames, windows and frames) to which much needs to be added. The structure has progressed further since the pictures were taken but there is still a lot to do.
The roof braces need to be finished. All of the trim around the edges of the roof needs to be done, as well the rain gutter at the front of the building. A platform needs to be built and signs and other details to bring the station to life need to be added. The freight doors need to be planked (done). After painting the windows are too large for their openings. The openings need to be filed a bit larger. Needs a chimney - suggestions?

Being my first attempt at using the Kitomat software to make a structure a few errors have creeped into the model. All of the windows are supposed to be the same height off the ground - one is six inches higher than the others. The two freight doors should be the same height - one is a foot taller than the other.
Still I am pleased with the results. Learning much on how and how not to do things. Most errors are being caused by working too fast. Was in a rush to get the station ready for photographing at a show just passed. I made it but the station is not finished and has errors..

Pictures from Mt Pleasant 2006 Show

Dixmont Mineral Railway

The DMR (Dixmont Mineral Railway) interchanges with the DWR (Dixmont & Winslow Railroad) at Dixmont in Penobscot County, Maine. It serves the various mine workings and lumber companies around Mt Harris.

DMR #8

The first piece of motive power for the Dixmont Mineral Railway is a Mocalova Box Cab. This was assembled in my usual throw it together and see what happens construction method. As the pictures show, reasonable results were obtained. The two side centre windows were filled in with styrene rod to make louvers, otherwise the unit is stock. I think that the unit could use a sister so when funds permit, I will acquire a second kit. On the new kit I will spend a little more time cleaning up the castings, making sure that everything is square. I'll build and install the louvers before assembling the body. I'll change the headlights and install lighting and do whatever else strikes my fancy at that time. There is a lot of room for a DCC decoder so I expect that both units will be decodered before Portland in 2008.

DMR #8 approaching No Name Creek with a string of Micro Trains log cars.

DMR #8 on No Name Creek bridge.

The pictures are shot on a small scenery base that sits on a mini corner (3 foot square instead of the standard four foot square) built to the MMRS (Mainland Modular Railway Society) standards (which are modified NMRA standards). The mini corner joins two standard 2 foot by four foot modules with MMRS standard gauge trackage on the front and HOn30 track on the rear.
Mini corners being smaller, are much lighter than standard corners. The only problem with a mini corner is that if you wish to follow the HOn30 modular standards you end up with a 15" radius curve instead of the 18" radius curve the standard calls for. For now the fact that I can display and run HOn30 equipment at some MMRS displays outweighs the drawbacks of the tighter radius.

DMR #8 meets Mavis. Mavis definitely out weighs the Box Cab. Another Mavis is on hand. I don't know if I will convert the second unit. One may be enough.

DMR #8 beside a Mocalova Diesel Switcher. The switcher is from the BnF HOn30 Train set.

The box cab looks good pulling a string of Grandt Line Koppel dump cars.

Box Cab DMR #8 pulling a string of three cars. The box car is a R. La Regina kit. The flat car is a PGP Models body. The tank car is a scratch built model acquired some years ago. DMR #8 is dwarfed by the box car.

This picture Walthers N Scale modern log car with DMR #8. I wasn't sure how the N Scale car wood look with other HOn30 equipment but as the car cost $ 2.00 I didn't think there was much to lose. I think the car has possibilities. Now that these cars have been re released I think I will acquire another one or two cars.

This is a shot of a BnF Train Set. The caboose seems a bit out of scale to the other cars. Perhaps a waycar style of caboose would be better. Now that I have settled on a Railroad Name (or names) it is time to letter these (and other) cars. These cars have since been repainted in various shades of oxide brown.

Today I was down with my wife at her favorite quilt store (Thread Bear). I found an interesting fall woodsy fabric and had her buy a fat quarter to experiment with. This is the result. Maybe a bit too intense but it has possibilities.
Bill Dixon's Railway Pages
Last Updated: March 25, 2007, Copyright 2006, 2007. W.R.Dixon.