I’ve been a model railroader ever since my dad brought home a simple HO train set back around 1970. He didn’t want me fiddling with it, (rightfully so, since I probably damaged it within hours of its arrival at our house!) So I took all the money I had saved up and rode my bicycle down to our local hobby shop. (Back in the 70’s, we still had general hobby shops. They sold all kinds of stuff — model rockets, yarn and thread crafts, wood-burning kits, and train sets, among many other things.) I didn’t have enough money for an HO set, but I was able to afford an N-scale set! I’ve been working with N-scale ever since.
I dropped out of model railroading (and most other pastimes) during college due to lack of time and money, and I just kind of forgot about it. But a few years ago my brother-in-law started getting into model railroading, and it re-awakened my interest. I dug up my old N-scale stuff and started thinking about how I could manage to squeeze a layout into my house. N-scale models have improved vastly over the last 30 years. But even with a space-saving scale such as 1:160 (N-scale), I still couldn’t find a way to fit a model railroad layout into my house. Then I remembered about
N-TRAK is a standard that allows N-scale model railroaders to build relatively small modules (say 2′ x 4′) which can be connected to other people’s N-TRAK modules. The resulting layouts can be record-breakingly large, e.g. the Capitol Limited ’04 show last year in Chantilly, Virginia. I couldn’t find a local N-TRAK club in my area, so I put together Central Valley N-TRAK so I could start publicizing and hopefully attract some kindred spirits and start a club. (A Sacramento NTRAK club has formed, but not quite the way I expected…)
Meanwhile, we’ve moved about 30 miles up the valley into a “fixer-upper” and now I have no time (or space!) to do any model railroading. Sigh. 😐