CaneSIG: Modelling Sugar Cane Railways


Model head

Above: A selection of Queensland, Cuban, and Javanese sugar cane railway (tramway) models..

Lynn Zelmer photo An individual's modelling interests/skills change over time and I'm no exception. Over the last decade I've primarily explored the use of photorealistic card modelling for structures and rolling stock. This has resulted in building some QR and Queensland shire models but cane remains my major interest.

My Capricorn Sugar Rail Museum display layout has been dismantled due to changing family circumstances but the results of my personal modelling efforts will likely be there and/or in the Narrow Gauge Downunder magazine.

Hopefully the links at right and below will provide some of the answers to your modelling questions.

Member's Gallery: N/HO/S/O | Large/Garden scales for examples of models from various countries and every scale/gauge.

Happy Modelling!

   Lynn Zelmer

Recommended Off-site Links

Organisations: ATRQ (Association of Tourist Railways Queensland), LRRSA (Light Railway Research Society of Australia).

Australian Magazines: AMRM (Australian Model Railway Magazine), Narrow Gauge DownUnder and Light Railways (LRRSA).

Heritage Railways/Museums: ANGRMS (Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society Woodford), ASCR (Australian Sugar Care Railway, Bundaberg), ILRMS (Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society, NSW), and ASIM (Australian Sugar Industry Museum, Mourilyan, Qld).

Selected listing of YouTube Video Resources: Queensland railways and tramlines, sugar cane in Australia and overseas, narrow gauge.

Modelling Sugar Cane Railways - Getting Started

Modelling sugar cane railways, shire tramlines, and other small industrial lines is a niche interest, regardless of scale or gauge. This means that there are a limited number of commercially available models and detailed information on a specific wagon, locomotive or locale is often unavailable.

If you model cane trains in Florida or Louisiana you can mostly use stock locomotives and wagons (freight cars) as their cane is generally carried on common carrier railway lines. American and English/European steam locomotives were common in many sugar producing countries, but otherwise there are very few ready-to-run (r-t-r) models or kits... thus most modellers will have to do at least some kitbashing and scratchbuilding.

The CaneSIG Handbook articles are a good starting place, and the article on scale/gauge choice should be an early read.

You also need to explore other sections of this web site to help you better understand the sugar cane railway industry and to choose a specific prototype. Overall you'll find several thousand photographs (image collection), plans and modelling tips.

View the alphabetical listing of modelling resources for direct access to the site's modelling information, look at what other modeller's have created (N-O scales - Large/Garden scales), and check out the prototype industry itself.

Welcome aboard and best wishes!

Questions for the Novice...
  • What scale and gauge?
  • Modelling what country/mill at what time in history?
  • Strict prototype or freelance?
  • Permanent layout, Modular, Exhibition, Diorama/Display, Virtual?
  • Remembering that a fixed decision on one of these items may negate possible choices on other questions. For example, being unwilling to scratchbuild models pretty well eliminates many countries/mills/locos/etc., as commercial models are not available.
  • Copyright © A C Lynn Zelmer or the contributor as appropriate. Last updated: 15 June 2021 [lz]; e-mail: Lynn @