Having read the report on my first operating session on the Port Rowan layout, that’s the question a friend of mine asked. He models a Maine two-footer in 1:48 scale so he knows, first-hand, some of the frustrations I had working in On2. I know a number of other readers are here because they’re friends who share my interest in the Maine two-footers as well, so I’m sure they’re curious too. It’s a great question.
From the perspective of the style of railroading depicted, this standard gauge layout and my previous, two-foot gauge layout are very similar:
– Both model steam-era common carrier railroading.
– The trains are similar too – like The Daily Effort to Port Rowan, my two-footer hosted short mixed trains consisting of a couple of freight cars plus varnish to carry passengers, mail and express.
– With the exception of the carloads generated by the slate mill, the freight traffic on the Maine two-footer was similar – building supplies, agricultural products, coal and oil, etc.
– And my two-footer served customers primarily via team tracks and other shared, public sidings as opposed to dedicated spurs – just as customers are served on the Port Rowan branch.
Ironically, the standard gauge terminal at Port Rowan operates more like a Maine two-foot terminal than the freelanced terminal I built in On2. At Port Rowan, trains arrive, do their work, turn and leave – much like they did in places like Monson Jct., Bridgton Jct., and Farmington. On my Maine two-footer, I never had the room to model a main yard such as the one at Phillips, so my transfer yard served double-duty as a classification yard. That never really worked.
But the biggest difference is mechanical. My S scale locomotives run beautifully – they’re smooth and reliable at all speeds, and they’re sure-footed like mountain goats. I tried hard to create bullet-proof track work on my Maine two-footer and had all of my On2 locomotives tuned up by someone comfortable with tweaking drivetrains, and still had disappointing results. My On2 equipment ran well, but not perfectly.
If that seems like a lofty goal, it shouldn’t – if locomotives, rolling stock and track work are all built with care and attention to quality, operation should be flawless. I could never come close to that in On2 – but in S, I’m almost there. I may never get there, but it’s worth trying because it will mean that when I’m hosting an operating session, I’ll be able to immerse myself completely in the miniature world I’ve created instead of spending my time fretting and fettling track and equipment. As I mentioned in my first run report, I had two derailments – pretty good for a break-in run – and I’ll attend to those. But otherwise, I enjoyed perfect performance, which meant I could enjoy watching my work in progress come to life.
In those terms, there’s no comparison – compared to On2, it felt fantastic!