On30 Narrow Gauge Model Railroading

White Mountain Central Railroad

Visit the White Mountain Central Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Conway Scenic Railroad

Bangor & Aroostook Railroad State of Maine Boxcar fresh out of the paintshop at the Conway Scenic Railroad, in North Conway, New Hampshire.

North Carolina Transportation Museum

Southern FP7 at the NC Transportation Museum loacted at the historic Southern Railway Shops in Spencer, North Carolina.

Conway Scenic Railroad Museum

Steam and Diesel power on Railfan Day at the Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, NH.

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Climb to the Top of Mount Washington in the New Hampshire White Mountains on the world's first mountain-climbing Cog Railway train.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

Enjoy a ride along the Toccoa River in the Chattahoochee National Forest on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Trains depart from the historic depot in Blue Ridge, Georgia and travel to the GA/TN State Line and return.

South Carolina Railroad Museum

Experience the history of railroads in SC and ride the Rockton, Rion and Western Railroad (RR&W). Located near Winnsboro, SC, the museum offers hour long train rides, BBQ trains, and special events!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Rail Scale Models Brings New Structures to the market

This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the Charleston, SC Model Railroad show. The is organized by the Charleston Area Model Railroad Club, and the show is a new spring show from the club, in addition to their fall show. While I was there I had the good fortune to run into Stephen Milley, the proprietor of Rail Scale Models of North Carolina. Rail Scale Models is a new (at least to me) manufacturer of affordable structures for model railroads in several scales. He has a growing line of O scale structures I really like including a Tobacco Barn and a Speeder and Oil Shed. One of the O Scale structures - Currin Country Store -- is already sold out! Hopefully a second run is in the works! I would also like to see RSM will bring their Branch Line Engine House and some of their other structures to additional scales as these structures could easily find a home on my layout. If you're looking for structures for your model railroad, visit Rail Scale Models' web site and check out their offerings. And there is a structure you see that is not yet available in O scale and that would be a good fit for your layout, be sure to inquire about availability in O scale!

In addition to structure kits and accessories like siding of various types and detail parts, Rail Scale Models offers an end-to-end range of services from structure design and development through laser cutting & engraving and production. So if you've been thinking about a custom developed structure and need some assistance with the process, give them a call.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

On30 Modeling Books & Magazines

As one explores the world of On30 narrow gauge model railroading, a common question I hear is "What resources are available?". Like much of the model railroading hobby, many of the books and articles can be applied to On30 modeling. But generally the questioner is looking for more specific information on On30 -- what is it, where can I find information about track planning, track designs, product availability, layouts by other modelers, etc.

Without a doubt, if you are seriously interested in On30 modeling, you should seek out and read these two resources:

  • On30 Annual, Chris Lane, editor - published previously by Highlands Station, then Carstens Publications and now by White River Productions
  • Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette, Robert W. Brown, editor - published previously by Benchmark Publications, Ltd. and now by White River Productions

The first of these two publications, On30 Annual is a yearly publication dedicated to On30 modeling. It was first published in 2006 and has been published every year since then. Thanks to the focus of the editor, Chris Lane, each annual issue is chock full of building projects typically with a large number of photographs to enable the reader to accomplish a similar project. This publication is highly recommended to On30 modelers and would-be modelers. The current issue (On30 Annual 2018) can often be found at your local hobby shop (LHS), and is also available from the White River Productions Bookstore. Your LHS may also have prior years issues for sale -- if not again many previous issues will be found in the White River Productions Bookstore as well as other sources such as eBay, Amazon, Walthers, BookFinder.com, etc.

Narrow Gauge & Short Line Gazette is the premier magazine for narrow gauge modelers. NG&SLG has featured numerous articles over the years on On30 modeling, as well as articles on the narrow gauge prototypes and modeling the narrow gauge in other scales, many of which are applicable to On30 as well. The editor, Bob Brown, has consistently delivered one of the best model railroad publications in the hobby. You can find NG&SLG at your LHS, or subscribe or purchase recent back issues via the White River Productions Bookstore. In addition there is a DVD available with a 50 year collection of back issues of NG&SLG from 1964 through 2014. It can be found at your LHS as well as here. And for those modelers who prefer paper, there is a thriving trade in back issues of NG&SLG on venues like eBay and local model railroad shows.

Other Books of Interest

The following books may hold particular interest to those modeling in On30:

Finding other On30 articles

The Magazine Index hosted on Trains.com is an excellent resource for finding On30 related articles in other publications. In early 2018, the Magazine Index had entries for over 360 articles related to On30.

On30 Annual

Because the On30 Annual issues are so valuable to On30 modelers, below under each issue's cover, you will find the table of contents for that issue. We hope you find it useful.


Bachmann On30 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive

In 2018 Bachmann revealed its new On30 0-6-0 Steam Locomotive. This new addition to its On30 locomotive stable is a DCC-equipped model featuring metal gears. It is ready for the addition of 16-bit Tsunami® plug-and-play prototypical sound.

The 0-6-0 locomotive features include:

  • sound ready with factory-installed speaker
  • DCC-equipped for speed, direction, and lighting control
  • dual-mode NMRA-compliant decoder
  • operating headlight
  • completely hidden drive train
  • see-through clearance under boiler
  • precision motor (with hardened carbon brushes)
  • numerous metal detail parts
  • finescale pilot
  • sprung center axle for superior tracking performance and electrical pickup
  • short-coupled tender with coal load
  • E-Z Mate® Mark II couplers

MSRP is $399. The model has been announced in these road names:

  • Three Rivers Steel (Item# 29401)
  • Allegheny Iron Works (Item #29402)
  • Midwest Quarry (Item# 29403)
  • Painted, Unlettered - Black (Item #29404)
The Tsunami sound is a separate-sale Bachmann Item No. 44959, 0-6-0 Plug-and-Play Sound Module (MSRP $129), required for sound-on-board performance.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

On30 Powered Equipment Minimum Radius

When I initially was considering modeling in On30, one of the first areas of research was the minimum radius required to operate the various commercial products. I am modeling in a very small space (102 inches x 30 inches, or approximately 260cm x 76cm) and I wanted to ensure the commercial On30 products of interest would be a reasonable fit. Around the internet I found a number of pieces of data. From these various web sites/pages and other sources, I put together the following table that I use as a reference -- perhaps it will help other modelers as well. Below the table you will find links to some of the major sources I used to assemble the table -- in a few cases, I have made adjustments based on my experience and/or data from other sources not listed.

Also please note that there is a separate entry coming on this blog that provides minimum radius information on On30 powered equipment kits that use HO mechanisms as donor chassis for On30 powered equipment.

Manfacturer Model Manufacturer
Reported to
Operate at
(may need
Bachmann On30 2-6-0 Mogul 18" or greater 12"
Bachmann On30 0-4-0 Porter 12" or greater 6"
Bachmann On30 0-4-2 Porter 15" or greater 9"
Bachmann On30 2-4-4-2 Articulated 18" or greater
Bachmann On30 2-6-6-2 Articulated 18" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 Baldwin 4-6-0 22" or greater 17"
Bachmann On30 14-ton Two-Truck Stearns Heisler 15" or greater
Bachmann On30 1890's 4-4-0 American Inside Frame 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 Modern 4-4-0 American Outside Frame 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 2-4-4 Forney Inside/Outside Frame 22" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 28-Ton Two-Truck Class B Climax 18" or greater 12"
Bachmann On30 Two Truck Shay 18" or greater 15"
Bachmann On30 2-8-0 Outside Frame 22" or greater 12"-18"
Bachmann On30 0-6-0 18" or greater
Bachmann On30 Rail Truck 18" or greater 10"
Bachmann On30 Rail Bus & Trailer 18" or greater 18"
Bachmann On30 Closed Street Car 15" or greater 3"
Bachmann On30 0-4-0 Side Rod Gas Mechanical 12" or greater 6"
Bachmann On30 Whitcomb 50-ton Center Cab 15" or greater
Accucraft Trains On30 Plymouth Diesel Switcher 0-4-0
Model No: AM55-013 (unpainted, yellow)
6" or greater 6"
Accucraft Trains On30 Diesel Switcher 0-4-0
Model No: AM55-033 (D&RGW #50)
AM55-034 (Sumpter Valley RR #101)
6" or greater 6"
Broadway Limited On30 C-16 2-8-0 18" or greater 15"
Precision Scale Co
On30 K27 2-8-2 26" or greater 26"

(more entries coming)

Where to find additional information:



An active modeler in 1:64 scale (S scale) since 1998 and a relatively new On30 modeler, Michael's primary interests are in model railroading, structure modeling and control systems for model railroading. Michael is a life member of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), a member of the National Association of S Gaugers (NASG) and the Bristol S Gauge Railroaders.

Michael and his wife Deane Louise co-own Pine Canyon Scale Models, a manufacturer of S Scale and O scale structures.

Michael is a past chair of the NMRA's Digital Command Control (DCC) Working Group and was a contributor to the NMRA's DCC Standards activities. Michael continues to play an active role in the use of NMRA DCC in S Scale model railroading.

Michael previously served as the NASG National Secretary and Librarian for the NASG's Russell M. Mobley Memorial Library.


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