The Acadian Coast Eastern
A freelanced 1930's Maine narrow gauge line                                                                      President and Chief Gandy Dancer:  Sandy Eustis


I've wanted to model the Maine two-footers for about 50 years, ever since I learned that there once was a Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad,  with a  logging branch to Eustis, Maine.  A real railroad with my own name -- now just how cool is that!  Over the years, I've gradually become a fan of all five of the real-world Maine two foot narrow gauge lines, and so I didn't really want to pick just one and try to faithfully model it.  I also thought it might be hard to include interesting operations in my relatively small available space if I just tried to selectively compress a single prototype.  My On30 Acadian Coast Eastern is therefore an imaginary, but hopefully plausible, cousin to the real-world two-footers -- the "sixth Maine two footer" if you prefer.   Like its cousins, the ACE of the depression era 1930's was a slightly run-down, edge of bankruptcy operation, with tiny Forneys and short trains wobbling through coastal and rural scenes on lightly ballasted track.  It runs north from the Maine coast through several down-east towns to a connection with the rest of the world via the Maine Central.  The southern end of the line is Winter Harbor, Maine -- a very real, rather picturesque, and time-frozen little seacoast town on the Schoodic Peninsula, across an arm of Penobscot Bay from Mt. Desert Island, Bar Harbor, and the Acadian National Park.  The northern end of the ACE is Goodwin's Siding, a lonely spot on the Maine Central's Calais branch where there once really was a siding used to load lumber.  I found Winter Harbor while looking for two foot remnants on a 2009 vacation trip to Maine.  Although the real Winter Harbor today still has a ferry dock providing freight and passenger connection to several Penobscot Bay islands, it never had a narrow gauge connection to the outside world.  Well, it easily might have had one, maybe even should have had one, and in my version of reality, it did.  Oh, and the Winter Harbor passenger station was built to exactly the same plan as Marbles station at the Rangeley end of the SR&RL -- what a happy modeling co-incidence!

Taking the Plunge:

The introduction of On30 track components and RTR rolling stock (especially the Bachmann Forney and SR&RL long caboose models), plus several structure kits for buildings that once stood along two foot rails (ahh -- Marbles), finally convinced me that someone with minimal modeling skills (me!) might be able to create a plausible Maine narrow gauge line.  Actually, I find the discrepancies inherent in using On30 locos and rolling stock to model a two foot theme rather liberating.  My track gauge is "off" to begin with, and so I feel free to include anything that fits the theme and suits my fancy; as a bonus, those pesky rivet counters just can't have much to gripe about!  Full  of two footer enthusiasm after my Maine vacation, I finally decided to dismantle the last in a string of HO layouts and start working in On30 on the ACE in early 2010.  Although I work slowly (at least relative to other modelers I know), I'm pursuing a theme that I truly love, and in a scale my aging eyes and hands can deal with for at least a few more years.  

Updating my Site

This website exists for two purposes - (1) to serve as a record of what I've accomplished (and as such it's at least a wee bit motivational for me, but I  do work rather slowly, and I'm not highly motivated to document each new detail), and (2) to provide friends and fellow modelers with a record of my progress and perhaps a few ideas for their own layouts.  Thus far, I've updated the site only once or twice a year -- so don't be coming here every week looking for a lot of new stuff!   It is now early November, 2014 -- 10 months since my last update.  I'll be gradually adding new pics and text between now and the end of this year, and then probably not for a while.  To navigate among the 5 pages that comprise the site, you'll have to click on each page in the header bar. 


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