N-Trak Module

Module Summary


New Jersey rock quarry, unspecified era




2 by 8 feet


handlaid Code 55




plywood cookie cutter on 1x4 wood frame


plaster over wadded paper






offsite storage

Railfun '76

After working with Rick Spano on his Sceniced and Undecided for a few years, we decided to collaborate on an N-Trak module. At that time, N-Trak was growing by leaps and bounds, and we'd both caught the fever. Our target was the NMRA National Convention in Chicago in 1976.

The project involved building two standard four-foot modules designed to only join with one another, creating a single eight-foot scene. Although we each claimed ownership of each half, we actually collaborated working on each other's halves; really, the only things unique to our own modules was the overall design, and the construction of the scenery and structures. Together we both built the benchwork, hand-laid the track, did the wiring, and so forth. Their construction was based on the guidelines of the time, meaning they were quite heavy, fabricated from solid wood frames, half-inch plywood backdrops, etc. They were also designed to bolt together to form a single self-contained (large, very heavy) box for shipping. The modules still exist, and are now stored in the basement of a mutual friend, although realistically speaking I doubt I'll ever see them again.

Not long ago, I found two images scanned from slides I'd taken of Rick's half.

The setting was a rock crushing plant near Lambertville, New Jersey. We were both fascinated by the place, which had been abandoned for many years. Rick's scratchbuilt model of the crusher is quite accurate, although he adjusted it a bit to make it "functional" (rocks could be dumped in the upper part, and cars in the lower part could be filled with ballast). A few years later, I managed to sneak inside the real building for a look; not long afterward, it was torn down.

Meanwhile, my half of the module featured a lumber yard and canal locks:

The images come from the 1976 N-Track Newsletter, their premiere issue, which I printed for them in color as a college project; the photos were taken by Bob Cosman at the convention.

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