Christopher Brimley updated April 5, 2011


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  • Oldtowne, Maine... It Ain't Just Canoes Anymore!

    by Art Fahie

    Photos by the author

    Bob was careful not to over-weather the layout. The layout is built with the present-day attitude of the 1950s era, not a reflection of what once was.
    Model Railroading - May 2002 - Page 36 Model Railroading - May 2002 - Page 37

    Oldtowne is up north toward the middle of Maine, or as the locals would say it...Downeast. Some of the best canoes in the country are made along the winding rivers that were once a part of a rural, almost desolate place. But things have changed; progress has led to industrialization, and although a lone railroad track still readily runs next to the main street, the only heavily active railroad might actually be found in the attic of an old New England home.

    Bob Rogers has struggled with cramped room space, sloped attic ceilings and a steep flight of stairs, but despite all has managed to build one of the finer N-scale layouts around. Surrounded on three sides by walls, this land-locked empire was well thought out long before construction began. Narrow wooden tracks along the floor allow the layout to be slid out from the wall, allowing Bob access to the rear trackage and scenery, and removable foam mountains have given him an easy reach to almost every part of this attic empire.

    When Bob started building the Penn Scenic Railroad, he knew he wanted long mainlines, substantial yards and a variety of scenic challenges. Working with a 5' x 15' layout, he was able to compress a lot of track into an area without giving it an overcrowded appearance! Bob wanted to model big-time railroading, and few railroads could compare with the Pennsylvania R ailroad of the 1950s. With almost 180 ' of mainline trackage, this layouts theme r evolves around freight and heavy coal drags.

    A well ballasted right-of-way yields to some heavy switching traffic. Although there is limited passenger service, the railroads theme revolves around freight operations.
    Model Railroading - May 2002 - Page 38 Model Railroading - May 2002 - Page 39

    In an effort to fit everything possible into a room with heavily sloped ceilings, Bob chose to build the layout with a height of only 38". Raising the layout even a little would have meant giving up precious real estate to accommodate the pitched roofline. Using traditional cookie-cutter style construction, the layout relies heavily on Atlas flextrack, while incorporating the popular line of turnouts by Peco. Grades have been restricted to 2%, and an extensive array of ground foam products by Woodland Scenics provides the lush background for an otherwise heavily industrialized railroad. Bob has incorporated hidden access hatches, and I can tell you for a fact, they are definitely invisible.

    Like most of us, Bob relies in large part upon commercial structures, but finds that with appropriate placement, and just the right amount of weathering, even simple structures can be used to produce convincing scenery.

    Now that the railroad is almost done, Bob has focused on operation, and given the fact that there were no derailments during my visit there, he has certainly proven the point that an N-scale layout can operate as well as any larger scale railroad.

    If youre ever in the neighborhood, stop by and visit for a taste of real Maine hospitality...its that good!....aaaayuh.

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