Ntrak limitations

Discussion in 'Modular Layout Forum' started by BrianK, May 7, 2006.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Member

    I am just now really getting in to model trains and my plan was to do modules (2x4ft) one at a time instead of a single large layout. I didn't plan to follow any standards but I'm thinking maybe I should that way I can bring my module(s) to clubs and shows. I'm new to the whole module thing, but someone recommended that I follow the Ntrak standard.

    I just started work on my first module which doesn't conform to any standard, but so little has been done that it wouldn't be hard to change. However, for my second module, I wanted to have a fairly good size single (maybe double) track trestle bridge running through the middle of the module. But if I am to conform to the Ntrak standard, I would need two main lines and a branch line towards the front of the module. Unless I have a very large 8'+ module to route the branch line away, I wouldn't be able to have a single/double track bridge running through the middle of the module and still look good.

    Does anyone have any ideas?
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you build modules, you have to have standards. They can be your own, but if you plan to mix yours with someone else's, you should have a standard set.
    Ntrack has been around for a long time, but there are a couple of others. The 3 line system does give a few problems, especially since there are very few 3-track main lines.
    You could make a set of modules with standard ends at the outside and non-standard nds in the middle. That way you can shift the branchline back a bit and put it on a more rustic bridge than the main lines.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    There are some modular standards that have more freedom. Free-Mo, an HO standard, is one example. The trick to a different standard is finding others who will also build their modules to the specified standard, so you can combine them at clubs and shows.

    The other alternative - most groups permit this - is to build a set of modules that only meet the specified standard at 2 or 1 end(s) of the module set. At the joints within the module set, you are free to do what you want provided you comply with the overall grade, track, and radius standards. The disadvantage to this arrangement is that your modules can only be incorporated into the group's layout as a complete set.

    Hope this helps
  4. BrianK

    BrianK Member

    Thanks for the advice guys. That's basically what I figured but since I am pretty new to this I thought I would give it a shot. I'll get in touch with the local club and see what they allow. I think I will just use my own standard and, club rules permitting, have 'conversion' modules so mine will fit in as a group.

    It would be cool to connect my modules to everyone else's but I don't want to limit my creative freedom that much.
  5. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    If you want to have a module that fits N-trak standards but also have the effect of having a branch line and double track main line; you could offset the blue(branch) line to the alternate standard. You could find it in the ntrak website which is simply www.ntrak.org in there is briefly how the standards for distance from the edge you can have your tracks. it is in standards. No drawings but you can also get the Ntrak book from that website also. Very helpful book and they recently updated it in '04
  6. CarlFidy

    CarlFidy Member

    For N-trak at shows

    For N-trak use at shows the modules would have to have the 2 mains and the branch line, because each loop has it's own power supply/throttle, electrically isolated from the others.. Each line can follow a separate path (not to exceed 24" radius on mains and 18" on branch), just has to be back to standard the last 4" of the scene. We have many module "sets" in the NEONS (NorthEast Oklahoma N-Scalers).
  7. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    The Valley NTrak Club of Connecticut did a show today. We put together a very large 36 x 26 waterwing type layout using two "T" shaped modules. The show was a fund raiser for Crew 33 of the Boy Scouts in Shelton CT. There was a lot of diversity in each members modules, but all were built to NTrak standards so there was no problem in making the arrangement shown in the picture I took today.

    Attached Files:

  8. Bill Pontin

    Bill Pontin Member

    A 58 car autorack consist sure does shrink the layout visually.

    Attached Files:

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