Ntrak corner modules

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by inkaneer, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    I was wondering how many of you have your own corner modules. Most clubs I know have the corners as club modules rather than having to rely on one person. Also, for anyone who knows, I would like to know how or why the hexagonal shape for the corner modules was selected. I am in the process of designing and building a set of new corners and prefer not to go the hexagonal route.
  2. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    Obviously not a subject people wish to talk about here.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Inkaneer,

    Sorry that you have not gotten the info you are searching for. The modular group here is small, but dedicated. It may just be that no one knows the answer. There has been interest - 57 people looked at the thread at least.

    I work with HOTrak standards (www.hotrak.ca) that are adapted from "national" specs. We have a variety of corners, including hexagonal (or semi-hexagonal) and straight "L" (if that makes any sense - basically two 2x4 footers - one end against the side of the other to make an "L").

    My guess would be that the hexagonal shape was chosen to keep the dimensions to a minimum. Look at the HOTrak standards for corners, and you will see what I mean. However, it's only a guess.

    Have you asked anywhere else? NMRA, andy N-trak clubs? I would encourage you to try your "nonstandard" corners, as long as the interface and track standards remain, it should not matter what shape they are...

    Hope that helps.

  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Also, the ownership of corner modules is about 50-50 club-members. Some members have their own set because it forms part of their home layout (modules set up at home) or take their modules to other shows that require corners.

  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think the hex form was designed to take a quarter turn of track without having too much extra board to carry. A full 4-foot swaure is awkward and requires at least a larger station wagon to transport.
  6. Catt

    Catt Guest

    I've always reasoned the hexagonal shape as doing away with a sharp corner to bump into.Besides that they have to be a whole bunch lighter than a 4' square of plywood with all the other attachments thrown in.

    Even the 3' corners are heavy and of course both are extremely awkward to handle.
  7. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    My HO scale modular club has hexagonal corners, and they nest together, get bolted together, and then get put in the club trailer for transport. The yard, power supply, throttles, and corners stay in the trailer, and are owned by the club, so that if someone is sick, we still have four corners. For this same reason, we have 4 foot duckunders, and we can have mulitple duckunders if someone with a 4' module doesn't show up, and there isn't an extra. A few people have corners, but I have never seen any of them. We use the club-owned ones, as they are light and durable, and easy to set up/ transport. If you want to build with a nonstandard shape, as long as the dimensions are the right size (4'x4' typically), and track and electrical is to spec, it should be fine. Just don't make it 5x5, as then there will be two 1 foot gaps somewhere in the layout.
  8. railwaybob

    railwaybob Member

    At Ottawa Valley HOTRAK http://www.hotrak.ca we used to have hexagonal modules that were symetrical in shape. then we went to modules which had "pointy corners" where a pair of moduels which turned 90 degrees were "chopped" in half by 45 degrees. We lost a lot of space on the chopped modules (visualize a triangle appended to a rectangle and this will give you the vision of a "pointy corner") and the symetrical modules didn't do the job.

    So, then we moved to the concept of a "footprint" whereby the module was designed on the basis of a 54" or so rectangle but with the pointy corners "chopped off" so that the length of the module was only 48". The 48" wa so that the module would fit into the back of a regular car. These module sets were built as pairs so that a pair of modules rotated the main line through 90 degrees. These allowed us to increase the mainline radius on a double tracked module to almost 45" or so (I don't have the numbers off the top of my head).

    As Andrew has pointed out, it's about 50 - 50 as to the ownership of the modules. This has improved with the introduction of our newer modules that are based on the large footprint as you can also include an industry or two on the curve.

    Bob M.
  9. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    Our club also used the hexagonal corners but lately we are rethinking that idea. Ntrak plans date back to the 1970's. That was before the mini van came on the scene. There has been a lot of other changes also. We are seeing more one day train shows. Gone are the days when we would set up for 2 day shows like the GAT Show or a NMRA show or a Greenberg show. Now we have shows put on by churches , volunteer fire halls and model RR cubs. These are usually one day affairs with limited space and limited time for setup. In addition we do not have the transportation to haul lots of modules. So we have had to rethink the module design. We are still in the process as the project has taken on some new subjects such as joiner tracks and other issues involved in getting a layout set up in the least amount of time. I hope to publish our results one of the N scale magazines once we complete everything.
  10. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    In the Ntrak world, some clubs are starting to use KATO expander tracks. They are sooo cool. My HO club can set up in about an hour, sometimes less. We usually have about 2 hours to set up, and after we get the layout up and working, we work on blocking the 3rd line, putting cars and buildings on our own modules, and stuff like that. For a club that uses DCC, it should be even quicker, as there is no control panel or blocking, and less individual power to deal with.

    EDIT: Clarity, more info
  11. inkaneer

    inkaneer Member

    The Kato expander tracks are not Ntrak compliant. Some clubs use track extenders in order to use them. Those clubs that are strictly Ntrak do not. So it is up to everyone to decide for themselves. One thing with the Kato track is that you still have rail joiners to deal with.
  12. NYNH&H

    NYNH&H Member

    The club that I saw using them was using them on a yard set that had ntrak interfaces on the ends, but there are clubs that are using them more. They had to extend their track and get rid of their roadbed.

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