View Full Version : Narrow Tracked Mind

10th Feb 2017, 07:31 AM
I had been originally posting my Nn3 build in my layout thread, but have since decided to start a thread dedicated to my Nn3 endeavors.

So to catch up anybody who may have just found this, I am loosely modeling a narrow gauge line that ran out of my home town around the turn of the century (1875 -1931) called the Ohio River & Western. It changed names several times, so you'll see me making rolling stock with two different names. One of its earlier names was the Bellaire, Zanesville, and Cincinnati Railway (Bellaire being my hometown), or as the locals called it the Bent, Zig-Zag, and Crooked. That name is misleading as Bellaire and Zanesville made up the ends of the 112 mile line. It never reached Cincinnati.

Another reason as to why this thread was started is to document the build of a Nn3 layout. I have acquired a 19 x 36" platform to use as the base.

The scope of this build is to build a loop (maybe 1 turnout) simulating the hills of SE Ohio. Also there will be a line of standard gauge track which will have a station and platform to transload from the narrow gauge to standard gauge equipment. The OR&W had an impressive S curve trestle not too far from where I grew up, so that will be modeled as well. Other then that, how the train gets to and from those two features is totally up in the air.

Here is the first version, of many I am sure, of a track plan:
I am sure that you can tell where the station will be (bottom center). The highlighted area is the S curve trestle. It is all made of sectional Marklin Z scale track.



I have purchased a kit, https://www.republiclocomotiveworks.com/show_item.php?ID=464 , from Republic Locomotive Works that builds a 2-6-0 engine. Marshall was a big help and got me the extra pcs to get closer to prototype. Along with the RLW kit, I talked a Shapeways designer into scaling down some HoN3 equipment as well: https://www.shapeways.com/product/CMHV9LTWQ/nn3-conversion-parts-a?optionId=61744751. So far I have used the cab, and will most likely use the tender of the 3D printed items.

Here is a picture of the engine as it sits now:

The engine build has been postponed until the necessary tooling comes in (micro drill bits and a tap).

Rolling Stock

I had purchased some undecorated reefers and have been slowly working on them. So far one is completed with the second one waiting on some couplers to be completed.

BZ&C 501 has been completed.

Here is #501 (before couplers) and OR&W #657 partially completed. #657 has been weathered and awaits coupler assembly.

Now you are all up to date with the Nn3 project. I'll admit the RLW kit at first looked intimidating, but so far it is has been really enjoyable.

Jugtown Modeler
10th Feb 2017, 08:47 AM
Very cool. N scale + smaller radius Z = MO FUN railroading in smaller spaces. Just the distraction I need from time to time.

I have a fascination with narrow gauge railroading myself. ET&WNC is my ultimate goal for a layout although a small pizza industrial layout is on the bench.
A bit jealous that I have not made a concentrated effort to move faster on my project.... But inspired by your efforts here!

Looking forward to this thread moving along. Good luck.

11th Feb 2017, 10:46 AM
ET&WNC is my ultimate goal for a layout

A quick google search showed me some very neat pictures of the ET&WNC. Looks like a great railroad to model!

11th Feb 2017, 01:30 PM
FWIW: In respect of your track plan (and based on personal experience), might I suggest that you add a passing siding onto it at where it interchanges, since going around and around and around can become somewhat tedious, even if you do vary it by going dnuora and dnuora instead.

I also notice that the NG section has no provision for a locomotive shed / service facilities. Is this intentional, or will the NG line run through the shed itself?

As I said, FWIW. I hope that this helps.

11th Feb 2017, 05:49 PM
Komata good points, I don't plan on doing much operating on this layout, but adding some extra track will add to the scenery.

I did a couple revisions. The S curve trestle was actually over 500 ft long in real life, or in N scale 37 inches. The whole platform is 37 inches, so I had to scale it down to 18". Picture of the S trestle.
The line followed the road pretty closely as you can see in the picture above, so I added a black line for where a road will be.

Rev 2
Revision 2 has a place to drop a car off or two to be unloaded.

Rev 3
Revision 3 has a smaller siding to unload cars, but has a single stall engine shed back behind the station.
I am still learning SCARM, so I couldn't put the road in nor the stream that goes off the layout. The pond looks kind of funny to!

11th Feb 2017, 06:12 PM
The height of the pond would be a negative number or just a lower number than the surrounding scenery.

Have you considered connecting this to your other layouts?

11th Feb 2017, 06:23 PM
I've been contemplating selling the 3x5' and building to a modular system. I was thinking that doing so would help my club get started with a modular system. That's just a thought though.

12th Feb 2017, 08:55 AM
ChicagoNW I wasn't really happy with how my wye module connected to the 3x5'. It was shoty at best. My worry is that I don't want to keep building off of the 3x5' when who knows, in a couple of years it may not fit my model railroading space. I'm trying to talk myself into taking the plunge and going to a modular standard before my club picks one. In hoping that members would see it, and maybe be more willing to go modular.

13th Feb 2017, 07:28 AM
The engine passed initial operating testing! The cab, boiler, and cow catcher are now all one piece. Unfortunately the cab amplifies the whining of the motor which is pretty loud when giving it a full 9 volts. This should never be operated at full throttle, so hopefully it will be quieter at lower speeds. I'm not sure if the brass cab would have done the same thing or not?


Next would be the detail pcs and then the tender draw bar. I am going to complete the tender before I paint this.

12th Apr 2017, 08:48 PM
It has been a little while since I have updated this thread. I ended up having to drill out the king pin holes with a #53 drill for them to fit in the flat car. Can we just take a minute to say "awwwwwe" at the size of it?! :lol:


I'm not sure WHAT exactly I am going to put on it, but I would like to put a wooden deck on it. I have several cars waiting for couplers, but they are so difficult to make that I am dreading putting them together.:head-wall:

13th Apr 2017, 12:08 AM
Any hollow shape will resonate any vibration.
The most common fix is to isolate the part making the vibration from the box. The fix with diesels is a little foam tape between the chassis and body. Rather than attaching the cab with glue, consider using a paintable silicone caulk.

You might also try liquid electrical "tape." This room temperature curing vinyl, will cushion the cab from the motor/frame. Paint onto the metal parts and let cure for a day or two. Because the liquid tape has strong solvents, don't directly apply it to any plastic. You might consider coating the motor isolating it from the chassis.

If you had used the brass cab instead of the resin, it is most likely you'd still have the whine but it would have a tinny pitch.

Are you using pure DC power or a PWM throttle? The pulsed throttles give a definite buzz to many motors. Try just using a 9v transistor battery on the tracks. The loco should rocket down the test track without the buzz.

13th Apr 2017, 06:35 AM

I've only been using a 9V battery. It sure does rocket down the track!

14th Apr 2017, 01:32 AM
Well, I guess the whine is a feature of the motor. It may go away as the parts wear together.

Since nine volts makes your teakettle scream around the tracks, you might consider using controllers from TomyTec.
Instead of nine volts, they use six from four AA batteries...
They are currently in stock
They work pretty nicely. By adding a jack and a little bit of wire they can be powered by a wall wart. Keep it on the low side. I used twelve volts and burned out the speed controlling variable resistor. I converted that one to a PWM throttle.

While the power lead ends in a Tomix Fine Track connector plug. It can easily be removed and connected to your track. I was amazed how many hours the batteries lasted with a Kato powered BanDai B-Train Shorty or TomyTec chassis. I actually got bored before the batteries totally died. A Bachmann streetcar with it's older bigger motor only lasted a couple hours. Z scale uses motors the same size as the Kato and TomyTec chassis.

16th Apr 2017, 10:56 AM
Your flat car pic reminded me of a seldom used method by the proto narrow gauges. To facilitate faster freight movement, track would be laid on a standard gaude flat, then the narrow gauge box would be loaded up a ramp onto the standard gauge flat. Voila! Now take it to wherever it goes and return.

17th Apr 2017, 03:34 AM
On the former Victorian Railways, they had a flat car with narrow gauge rails welded to the deck, this was used to transport the narrow gauge locomotives from each of the narrow gauge branch lines to the central workshops for overhaul.
At a convenient siding they would run the narrow gauge track up a ramp to meet this special flat.
This is on my long list of models to make.

22nd Apr 2017, 12:52 AM
Doesn't look like much, but if you squint your eyes, you may be able to see some green hills forming.


22nd Apr 2017, 06:57 AM
Looks like a mix of standard gauge and narrow gauge shoes to my eye...

22nd Apr 2017, 08:57 AM
Looks like a mix of standard gauge and narrow gauge shoes to my eye...

-Good eye!

I packed all of my college text books away, these were the next best thing!

4th Sep 2019, 06:14 AM
Time to dust this thread off and bring it back to life.

Since this thread, I have gone a completely different route for my Nn3 ideas. We have accepted a standard, and I have built several modules since then. Not wanting to have a separate layout for Nn3 and all of my modules, I decided to incorporate a Nn3 loop onto one of my modules. Well, it just so happened that I needed a return module which would make the perfect base for a narrow gauge loop.

To get everyone caught up on where I am at:

Current state of the loop.
There will be a farm to the right. Where the brick building is will be a trans loading area for standard gauge equipment along with a road and a couple small buildings/stores.
This area will be completely hidden from the rest of the standard gauge track to the right by using hillsides with trees.
Still working on forming the land. I hope to have it completed and painted this weekend.


I have completed two refer cars. I still have yet to decal the two box cars that I finished painting.


This is how the steam engine currently looks. There will be a big push to complete it as well as make a diesel engine before our Holiday show this winter.


4th Sep 2019, 08:12 AM
make a diesel engine before our Holiday show this winter.
Have you seen Rangust's Whitcomb Nn3 centrecab?
Just scroll down until you find the Nn3 diesel

4th Sep 2019, 11:20 AM

I have, and it sure is a 'bute.

I have several Marklin engines that I am wanting to use for the project however.