Author Topic: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?  (Read 8636 times)

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Ed Kapuscinski

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What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« on: September 21, 2023, 10:14:07 AM »
+1
Ok  :ashat: I have had some thoughts after the Altoona N Scale Weekend.

I love much of the look of Freemo. It can't be beat when it comes to portable prototype model railroading.

But... I also love the form factor of TTRAK. It's just so... easy.

It's fast: I think trains were running in an hour during setup.
It's portable: I can fit a decently sized layout in my car.
It's easy to build: You can build a module in an evening.
It's accessible: Building modules can be incredibly easy and there are plenty of commercial shortcuts.

And, of course, it's very possible to make exquisite things.

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Now, I know there are plenty of downsides to the format, but I'd be really interested to hear which ones hold the gang here back from getting into it.

So, what prevents you from making a TTRAK module?

Philip H

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2023, 10:24:52 AM »
+1
Do you want the list alphabetically?  Or by economic reason?   :trollface:

I don't have the time, and even if I did have the time, there aren't successful ready made modules always available.  Plus carrying them to Altoona and back every year is a bit dicey as carry-on luggage.
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

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C855B

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2023, 10:45:56 AM »
0
Two things: first, the whole table-top thing vs. the typical public trainshow audience. Young'ins like to grab, and they move quick. I almost lost a new Athearn Big Boy (first run) to tiny fingers. Second, the usual maximum radius for Unitrack. Much of my equipment (what I like to show-off) is close-coupled and expects 24" radii.

The concept is great and, frankly, has revitalized our N-Trak club because of the "everybody can do it" factor. But not gonna be my cup o' tea.

rickb773

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2023, 11:05:09 AM »
+5
I always wanted to try one because the concept of plug together modules seemed so interesting. So, I built one (3') and donated it to the club (New Jersey Southern). They had the storage container and a trailer to get the NJS modules to shows. I got a chance (always wanted to try) to try styrene scenery (I'll stick to paper webbing, grocery bags and Hydrocal). Well worth the effort.





The low T-Trak tables are meant to attract kids to the hobby and we don't run our "best stuff" on the T-Trak layouts. That runs on the N-Trak and Free-mo modules the club has. (Higher height and far more difficult for little hands to grab.)

It is time to realize our hobby is graying and needs to attract younger modelers and I absolutely love the look in kids' eyes when they see the trains. Reminds me of my childhood, seeing the Lionel train displays in the big department stores at Christmas. Oh the memories!

nickelplate759

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2023, 11:10:07 AM »
+1
For me it's mostly the lack of a foolproof frame kit that still lets me have a little scenic flexibility.

I have been eyeing the Kato/Woodlands Scenics kits - anyone tried one yet?
George
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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

dem34

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2023, 11:23:08 AM »
0
For me it's mostly the lack of a foolproof frame kit that still lets me have a little scenic flexibility.

I have been eyeing the Kato/Woodlands Scenics kits - anyone tried one yet?

That was my first foray. They are dead simple and go together pretty quick.

+Its mostly foam, easy to carve to any shape you want
- Its mostly foam it is not durable by any definition outside of the MDF endcaps.
-Al

nickelplate759

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2023, 11:34:49 AM »
0
This thread got me poking around.  I also see T-Trak frame kits offered by Osborne Models and RSLaserkits.   Anyone have any experience with either?
George
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I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

JMaurer1

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2023, 12:07:18 PM »
0
A whole garage of N Trak modules is the largest thing holding me back. I like/don't like the idea that its something to get kids into the hobby. Like the idea, but we already have had enough trouble with kids and N Trak modules with grabbing hands and flying trains.
Sacramento Valley NRail and NTrak
We're always looking for new members

samusi01

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2023, 01:07:34 PM »
0
Time. I already don't have enough time to do what I need to do in my hobby, let alone the things I want to do.

arbomambo

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2023, 03:06:44 PM »
+11
Obviously there are still major misconceptions about T-TRAK.
“It’s designed to get kids into the hobby” …?
Who started that one?
A Free-MoN guy told me that one couldn’t model above track or below track scenery in T-TRAK.
Small radius? Only if you stick with the original (2001) Kato 11” and 13” radius corners.
We use large radius (19”) curves  for corners, endcaps, and junctions now. 80’ body mount cars? No problem.
How’s this for above and below the track scenery in T-TRAK?



"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/


signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2023, 03:24:34 PM »
+2
So, what prevents you from making a TTRAK module?

Be careful what you ask for. You might not like the answer:

1) TTrak seems to appeal to the "anything goes" crowd, and what's displayed on their modules too often has nothing to do with scale model railroading. I'm of the opinion that this is dumbing down N scale, putting N scale back decades into the "toy train" category instead of a legitimate modeling medium. For every really good TTrak module I've seen, there's four that make me say, "WTF is that?"

2) I hate Kato Unitrack. Period.

3) Did I mention that I hate Kato Unitrack?🙂
« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 03:36:33 PM by signalmaintainer »
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

arbomambo

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2023, 03:25:53 PM »
+3
My original Kato/Woodland Scenics foam module kit was gifted to me (and 3 other NTRAK board members -now NRail) by Hiroshi Kato, and the Kato office staff, at a private dinner at the 2018 NMRA National Train Show in Kansas City.
Almost 5 years later, and countless shows, its as strong and durable as any other T-TRAK module. If one is super concerned about durability, simply glue some heavy cardstock, or even mdf to the front and rear fascia.






And, the best modules I currently own and will continue to buy, are made by Stuart Denniston, of Pensacola, FL.
Cabinet-grade material and workmanship, custom designs always available, reasonably priced, and solid.


"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/


johnb

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2023, 03:37:31 PM »
+1
honestly, no real interest or the operations

peteski

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2023, 03:37:54 PM »
0
Obviously there are still major misconceptions about T-TRAK.
“It’s designed to get kids into the hobby” …?
Who started that one?

Not just young kids, but new fresh blood of all ages.  The concept was adopted from a Japanese modular standard by Lee Monaco-FitzGerald. Here is an excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Trak

Beginning

In the July 2000 edition of the NTRAK Newsletter there appeared a notice of the Japan Association of Model Railroaders (JAM) International Model Railroad Convention to be held in Tokyo starting Sunday, August 13, 2000. Jim FitzGerald was asked to speak at the convention, and he took his wife, Lee Monaco-FitzGerald with him. What took place at this convention was the development of a concept that would become T-TRAK. The September issue of the NTRAK Newsletter included a detailed write-up of the JAM convention where the Hino N Club's layout was discussed. This club's layout featured modules that sit atop tables on bases that are about 4" high. The Hino N Club layout included a 2-track mainline with the track identified as Kato Unitrack. The track on these modules is apparently set back from the end of the modules by about ¼" and expansion tracks are used to connect the modules to each other. A photo of a corner module shows the dimensions of these modules to be closer to that of NTRAK with wider sweeping corners and examples showing some North American prototype themes.

In March 2001, Lee wrote an article in the NTRAK Newsletter expressing concern about getting new people into the model railroading hobby. She pointed out that we, as modelers, needed to reach out to folks who come to our shows and talk to them about their interest in the hobby. She encourages us to look for ways to include everyone in the hobby. She discussed some of her whimsical efforts including her "Dimensional Murals" that hang to the floor on the front of her NTRAK modules as well as her table-top layouts like Castle TRAKula.


So yes, whimsy is encouraged.
. . . 42 . . .

arbomambo

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2023, 03:43:34 PM »
+1
Not just young kids, but new fresh blood of all ages.  The concept was adopted from a Japanese modular standard by Lee Monaco-FitzGerald. Here is an excerpt from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-Trak

Beginning

In the July 2000 edition of the NTRAK Newsletter there appeared a notice of the Japan Association of Model Railroaders (JAM) International Model Railroad Convention to be held in Tokyo starting Sunday, August 13, 2000. Jim FitzGerald was asked to speak at the convention, and he took his wife, Lee Monaco-FitzGerald with him. What took place at this convention was the development of a concept that would become T-TRAK. The September issue of the NTRAK Newsletter included a detailed write-up of the JAM convention where the Hino N Club's layout was discussed. This club's layout featured modules that sit atop tables on bases that are about 4" high. The Hino N Club layout included a 2-track mainline with the track identified as Kato Unitrack. The track on these modules is apparently set back from the end of the modules by about ¼" and expansion tracks are used to connect the modules to each other. A photo of a corner module shows the dimensions of these modules to be closer to that of NTRAK with wider sweeping corners and examples showing some North American prototype themes.

In March 2001, Lee wrote an article in the NTRAK Newsletter expressing concern about getting new people into the model railroading hobby. She pointed out that we, as modelers, needed to reach out to folks who come to our shows and talk to them about their interest in the hobby. She encourages us to look for ways to include everyone in the hobby. She discussed some of her whimsical efforts including her "Dimensional Murals" that hang to the floor on the front of her NTRAK modules as well as her table-top layouts like Castle TRAKula.


So yes, whimsy is encouraged.


That was in 2001…
A lot has happened since then…
Also, T-TRAK wiki, although a decent site, is not the optimum site to get ideas, info, and history.
Rather, go to the source… www.nrail.org
Formerly NTRAK.org

Anyone who was present at Altoona last weekend saw some incredible prototype modeling on T-TRAK modules.
"STILL Thrilled to be in N scale!"

Bruce M. Arbo
CATT- Coastal Alabama T-TRAK
https://nationalt-traklayout.com/