N Scale T-Trak

billmtx Oct 28, 2010

  1. randgust

    randgust TrainBoard Member

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    I started portable modular layout building back in 1976 with the 18x36" Hickory Valley Railroad. It was later featured in MR in 1987 or so. Next designed module about five years ago was the logging branch, which was 21x42 and butts up to it, but is incredibly unwieldy in comparison, still working on that. But the PRR interchange scene always eluded me, I always thought it would be Ntrak until I researched that the minimal module size was 2x4, and with a 3-track main and restrictions on curves, it just wouldn't work to recreate the scene. So the interchange module of "West Hickory" was built T-trak as a standard triple and everything worked and fit. Then the connecting river bridge between the Hickory Valley mill and West Hickory, although single track, was built to T-trak dimensions - length and height. That started a quandary on how to ever use it with T-trak standard. That resulted in putting the second main track behind the bridge on a second single-track module, called "Thompson". Then to adapt the single-track modules back to 2-track standards took two new double modules on either end of the single-track triples - left side "Jamison" and right-side "Trunkeyville". Trunkeyville was also designed to fit West Hickory to close off the PRR interchange track, and Jamison will be designed to fit the other side of West Hickory to either represent local oil drilling or a local sawmill that had a 3' logging railroad of it's own with a Class A Climax - Nn3 maybe, we'll see. So it's a real collection of options, and the historic 1920's PRR line I'm modeling has a wealth of other locations that lend itself to accurately do in T-trak.

    Built into my home layout, well not quite. But yes. Now I've ended up with an entire portable modular layout concept with seven different modules, two free-lance and five T-Trak compatible. I've had all seven at Altoona the last two years, with the two logging railroad modules at my booth and the other five in the pickup T-trak layout organized by Dave Ferrari. This has been great fun, totally different from my big home layout, which is 1972 Santa Fe. It's semi-portable in that the tables can be disassembled without destruction, but it's only been moved when I moved. The modules are truly portable. And at least in Altoona, everybody and their brother shows up with PRR equipment to run over the T-trak modules, I don't even have to buy it to enjoy it running.

    There's four things I do that appear to be somewhat major departures in the T-trak world, completely unintentional though, matching more to my home layout standards:
    1) tapering down the front edge of all modules like a riverbank, which greatly helps photography and realism. Girder strength is done by moving the front rib centered under the two main tracks.
    2) Permanently mounting the skyboard, usually with photo backdrops, and lowering it to 10" so that storage and transport requirements are lessened. I transport by developing an end-panel so that two modules can be carried with one on top (upside down) in reversed orientation. Easy to carry.
    3) Developing a way to do one-track T-trak modules with adapters, not unique, but combined with 1 and 2, possibly so.
    4) Open season on track types once I get clear of the ends, with Peco regular and C55, Atlas C80, and Kato all mixing it up, but everything painted and ballasted (which is a heck of lot easier than ballasting Kato components).

    When Dave F. first saw my oddball modules he wasn't sure what I'd done, but after three years in the layout builds, he's OK with it.
     
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  2. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Hey guys. I just bought a couple of T-Trak module kits for me and my kids. I have the skills to build my own modules out of ply and dimensional lumber but thought a kit would gather my kids' interest a bit better. We are looking for a club to join in the Puget Sound area. The ones on the T-trak wiki have been a bust so far. Hopefully soon we will have the modules and be building. My daughter wants to do a haunted house with a pumpkin patch. I found some orange beads and green thread to make mini pumpkins, and I think we are going to use cardstock for the house. My modules are the corners and I don't know what I'm going to do there and my son isn't sure yet.
     
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  3. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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    You might want to show her this car...
    https://www.micro-trains.com/index....ullman-leasing-co-weathered-rel-9-18-09944200
     
  4. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

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    There is also a Model Power N Scale Haunted House but kind of expensive. Depends on your budget and I like them because they are molded in colors and all I have to do is glue them together. I don't have the Haunted House but a few other ones and I like them. Good luck and be sure and post pictures in a thread!
     
  5. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    This just in... Friday the white and purple delivery van will be bringing my kits. So still no luck with the contact of the local T-Trak club. Does anyone here have any idea how to actually start one? I have worked in a modular group in the past but not as a planner. Right now I have myself, my 2 kids and a friend interested in joining up. As for hobby stores catering to trains there is only one left in my area.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Bummer that you have not received a response. There can be a legitimate reason. But also, there seem to be too many times when it's a "volunteer" not doing their job. :(

    Be sure to check out the several etailers we have here, advertising.
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Check with the United Northwest Model RR club. They do things with a modular layout, on to T-Trak. Have been around since the 1970's. Are very well known and respected in the area. Especially for their swap meet in Monroe every year. I'd be very surprised if they'd fail to reply or did not have some ideas for you.

    http://www.unwclub.com/
     
  8. spyder62

    spyder62 TrainBoard Member

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    come to the Lynden show this weekend. Might make a few contacts there and if you'd like make up a flyer and you can set it on our tables.
    rich
    www.rslaserkits.com
     
  9. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    They’re here... (said like a creepy 8yr old girl).

    The white, purple and green truck arrived just before I had to head to work to drop off my module kits. I did have a few minutes to open the box and check them out, and I like what I see. They are really fuzzy but the website warns of that, a bit of sandpaper will easily fix it. Anyway, Masterpiece Models is who I got the kids from, and for the quality of what you get the price isn’t bad. Will post some pics tomorrow.
     
  10. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Finally got to work on the modules today. A couple weeks ago I stained the sides after sanding them with some 220 grit. Well the stain caused the grain in the wood to lift and the surface became rough again. So I figured some sanding and a second coat will be needed. As it turns out, I found that the distressed look the sanding left actually looked really good... so I left it that way. I painted the top with some mud colored paint and tomorrow I should be able to lay some track and gets these modules up and running.
     
  11. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    Here are 2 of the 4 modules, we have 2 of each module the other 2 look exactly the same for now. The distressed look of the blue stained wood looks great. It was simple to produce. I stained the wood as normal, brush on wipe off, with a semi transparent stain. Then after it dried I sanded to down again with 220 on my palm sander. Once it looked the way I wanted, I stopped. The top is just painted with a mud colored exterior paint to seal the wood for future scenery additions.

    7DA30FF7-E340-4154-B007-45DCD3B07908.jpeg 30D94935-05B1-4471-9ED7-6BB78D6867FC.jpeg C73CE3CD-768D-4C38-A7E8-A285512863F6.jpeg 0F82AACC-1C81-4CFC-BBF6-D3C30BF9757B.jpeg
     
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  12. NScaleKen

    NScaleKen TrainBoard Member

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    Excellent modules
     
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  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is the exact same kit I purchased. Looking forward to seeing what you create!!!
     
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  14. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    That is a nice look for the perimeter, something I don't recall seeing before.
     
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  15. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I wanted my modules to be different. It seems every show I go to the modules are green, black or just brown stain. Well I went blue, then after prep for the second coat, I never applied it because I liked the worn look. Here is what they looked like before I sanded them.


    7F720CA2-08A0-44C0-A22B-28507A5FF982.jpeg
     
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  16. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I got the modules tracked, and we set them up on the kitchen table to test. The module with the tram on it is my daughter’s, the one opposite is my son’s and the turnaround modules are mine. The train on the outside track is my new Kato HB-E300.


    A2DAEA02-0775-44C4-8D35-967F56EB144E.jpeg 9F57F62E-CF81-4928-BD2A-E2E3CA53E118.jpeg
     
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  17. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Looking good!
     
  18. bremner

    bremner Staff Member

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  19. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    The gap in the middle of the modules is to allow for the wiring and sky boards. The U-turn modules are just slightly wider to help accomplish this and to allow for the turn that most engines can make.
     
  20. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

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    Latest module I did. Kind of a generic country scene.
    DSC_0001.jpg
     
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