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COMME-N-TARY: Single Track Modular Railroading in N Scale Modeling in the hobby’s most eNgaging scale

About our N-scale columnist

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Building a home layout using single-track modular techniques in N scale ...

O David L. Salsbery is our guest N scale columnist. A Portland, Oregon native, David’s been modeling trains since he was 12. David got more serious in the ‘90s when he discovered N scale. After building some small layouts, David discovered modular and club railroading. His current Stevens Pass oNetrak layout models the Great Northern. David owns his own painting contracting business.

Page 47 • May 2012 MRH

Comme-N-tary, page 1

Netrak is a design concept of modular type N scale train layouts that use standards of Ntrak. Ntrak has been around for a long time, and uses three main tracks toward the front of modules that are a minimum of 24 inches deep. Some have an optional ‘mountain’ line toward the back of the modules; it is elevated three inches higher than the three main tracks. Some of these modules can get very large and heavy. The three tracks are not very realistic for most prototype areas that people wish to model, but provide a lot of action for spectators of display layouts. They also provide fun and fellowship for modelers who participate in building and running them, usually as members of a group or club. ONetrak is an Ntrak-compatible single track, branch line or main line platform that can complement Ntrak layouts by extending the outside

mainline or ‘red line,’ providing a branch line or alternate route plus extra mileage for more realistic look and operation According to the oNetrak manual, the main goals are lightweight, simple-tobuild modules that provide an alternative to three-track modules that can be connected to an Ntrak layout. Additional benefits include: easy integration into a home layout; potential for a branch line; switching operations; and an easy way to model scenes with a single track and tight curves.

ONetrak modules may be connected with Ntrak layouts, or the modules can be used to build separate standalone layouts with emphasis on operation and more realistic scenery. The standard measurements and practices are used to allow all the modules to work together to form a layout. A junction will be necessary for integrating oNetrak and Ntrak modules together. Some ideas can be found in the Ntrak manual and the oNetrak manual found at or Google oNetrak manual. There are many

Figure 1: Ntrak-compatible single track opens up greater possibilities for scenic treatments.

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MRH May 2012 - Issue 27  
MRH May 2012 - Issue 27  

Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine - May 2012 (Issue #27)