Earl Brechlin Layout Description


Layout Owner/Location

   Owner/Builder’s name(s)

Earl Brechlin

   Contact phone number(s)

288-4859/ 266-0518

   Contact email


   Layout address

780 Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor

   Online Video


   GPS accurate for this address? (y/n)


   Parking capacity/where and how to park?

6-7 cars

   Any landmarks to look for to help find location?

It’s a yellow house

Layout Description

   Name of railroad

Moose River Railroad



   Approximate size of layout (ft.)


   Length of mainline track (ft.)


   Theme of the model railroad

Merger of historic lines

   Prototype roads represented


   Era or time frame

1960 plus

   Motive power type (diesel, steam, traction, electric)

Diesel,some steam

   Freight, passenger, or both?


   Based on prototype or freelanced?


   Scenery methods and % complete

Plaster gauze over cardboard, 99 percent done

   Track % complete


   Control system (DC, DCC & brand, proprietary)

DCC- Digitrax

   Will trains be running during the visit?


   Other interesting information about the layout

Video monitors, sounds, lighting, advanced functions using DCC stationary decorders

Layout Viewing

   ADA accessible?  Describe limitations

48” table height. There is a ground level door.

   Aisle width/ ranges (ft.)


   Maximum visitors allowed in layout area at one time


   Average time to view layout?  (min.)

As long as you like

   Any unique characteristics?

Numerous electronics


Brechlin (8) Brechlin (7) Brechlin (6) Brechlin (2) Brechlin (1)


The Moose River Railroad is a hypothetical line created by the merger of the Boston and Maine, Maine Central and Bangor and Aroostook railroads.

The HO-Scale layout itself is approximately 12 x 14 feet with a curving loop in another room and a fiddle yard under the stairs. It features approximately 70 feet of continuous main line, and numerous sidings. There is forested as well as urban landscapes with full cloud and mountain backdrops that include backpackers, kayakers and campers. A total of nine moose reside in different areas, including under a compressed, kit-bashed model of the Canadian Pacific’s Onawa Trestle.

Structures are a blend of standard kits, along with many kit-bashed larger buildings, a few craftsman kits, and some custom models such as the trestle, a hydro-electric dam, and a 4-foot long brick industrial flat comprised of Design Preservation segments outfitted with lights and custom decal signs.

All turnouts use Tortoise machines activated by stationary DCC decoders. Bi-polar LEDs on control panels indicate turnout point positions and contacts on the tortoises activate route indication signals.

All power buses for street and structure lighting in each village, as well a for sound modules, animated signs, lightning storm effects, etc., are activated and controlled by an OxBox panel activated by DCC.

The layout employs Digitrax DCC including power boosters, auto reversers and four power districts. There are four throttles including two RF and one IR wireless units.

Small stationary video cameras connected to monitors keep an eye on trains in tunnels and other low-visibility areas. There is also a caboose equipped with a wireless video camera that can broadcast to a monitor on the overhead valance. In addition to diffused daylight temp florescent lights, there is blue rope light overhead for some illumination during nighttime operations.

Each locomotive is assigned a countdown timer while in operation to mimic fuel consumption and add refueling to the operational challenges.

There is a narrow gauge line on an auto reverse circuit running from Monson Junction to nearby slate mines. It uses a special kit-based GE 44-ton locomotive rebuilt to fit over an N-scale locomotive chassis.

Action is centered in the larger city of Carlton, which is similar in size to Portland. There is a major freight yard, turntable, numerous industries, a large passenger station and the line’s main office.

A large paper mill is located at Moose River Junction and features a rotary wood chip dumper, pulp unloading area, and sidings for chemical delivery and paper export. Logging areas and a wood chip mill, as well as the interchange with the narrow gauge happens at Monson Junction where thrifty managers still use a trusty wood-fired shay for local switching duties.

In addition to industries and a passenger station at Danville Junction the Moose River lines interchanges with the New Haven (which in this scenario continues to remain strong). Tracks from there lead to the fiddle yard that represents Boston. Operation is based on a car-card system with local freights running to and from Carlton and regular trains running between Carlton and Boston.

All passenger trains, including those of the Maine roads, Amtrak, and MBTA, are run as extras.

The Moose River Railroad boasts 30 locomotives, all wired for DCC and sound. There are about 150 pieces of rolling stock, all equipped with Kadee couplers. Many are customer cars produced by the Eastern Maine Model Railroad Club with some Moose River cars custom painted by Al Ivers. Locomotives and rolling stock from legacy Maine roads, including Guilford, and Pan Am, have transit rights.

All DCC decoder programing is done with JMRI software on a dedicated Mac PC with desktop programing track in the railroad room.

The entire layout is basically complete with a large amount of detailing remaining to be done.

I’m 62 years old, married and have been modeling all my life, usually in HO but with a decade or so of experimentation with N-scale. This is my largest layout to date and I have been working on it for 9 years. I work full-time as a newspaper editor and photographer. I am the author of 9 books on local and Maine history and the outdoors, and I am a Registered Maine Guide.

Earl D. Brechlin

Bar Harbor, Maine

Brechlin (1) Brechlin (3) Brechlin (4) Brechlin (9)