NTRAK Fills Model Railroading
Need To Be Seen

How can one model railroad layout offer your train close to a mile of running room through landscapes varying from ocean-front fish docks to cattle country and from hustling city factories to small town feed mills? That my friend is the shear beauty of NTRAK.

Born in 1973 at a model railroader's N scale meeting in Signal Hill, CA, the NTRAK project has mushroomed into a worldwide network involving many thousands of the basic plugin 2X4-foot module.

The NTRAK Modular Railroading Society, Inc. has succeeded in bringing N scale railroading to the attention of the public in shopping centers, malls, convention halls and exhibition rooms in most areas of the United States and Canada, there are also NTRAK clubs in Australia, England, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Japan, and many other countries.

How can a program with a simple acronym like NTRAK be successful for 34 years while Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) fostered by Homland Security goes down in flames 3 months after it started?

Ben Davis, NTRAK's founder, isn't a politician (that may be part of it) but he ascribes the success to the fact specifications were designed so that any builder, anywhere in the world, could build a module, bring it to a show year after year, and know it would "plug" into the others and operate.

Someday, my ship will come in...er...go out

first ran across NTRAK in the late 70s and was amazed by its simplicity and the excitement of watching an N scale consist move from one 2X4-foot scene to the next.

Davis expounded on the origins of this "portable modeling system, I wanted to show N off in its finest light and I wanted to keep everything else simple".

He continued, "As an HO'er who modeled alone in a corner of my garage, I was always frustrated because no matter how much room I could get, the layout always looked cramped and toy-like. Then one day I saw some N and overnight sold all my HO - lock, stock and layout and started building the same layout in N in 1/4 the space. After a lot of work, and a little running, I began to realize this was a mistake. The N Layout also looked toy-like. What I should have done was use the same space for N as I had for HO. You see, I wanted my layout to be a prototype looking scene."

At the time I first viewed an NTRAK exhibit I was pretty far along with my N-scale shed layout or I would have gotten more directly involved for the same reasons Ben speaks of. Showing off a layout that takes up an entire shed is pretty difficult since there wasn't room for more than one person to stand at the control panel. duh!

Model Railroad Layout Success Secrets

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