Author Topic: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?  (Read 8638 times)

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EJN

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2023, 07:11:19 PM »
+6
Not to mention the toylike appearance of Unitrack...

This was done with...Unitrack - by @davidgray1974

« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 07:13:06 PM by EJN »

signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2023, 08:14:35 PM »
-3
Is this a cake?

Oh, don't say that, you'll be accused of being tactless and a hater
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #32 on: September 21, 2023, 08:17:49 PM »
0
This was done with...Unitrack - by @davidgray1974



Painted and ballasted Unitrack. Effort put into terrific scenery. Looks like a damn good piece of model railroading.
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #33 on: September 21, 2023, 08:20:07 PM »
-2
This module was at Altoona last weekend. It remains one of the better executed ones I’ve seen. For one thing the trees scale. If this is what the right counters are opposed to they need to think about what they perceive our hobby to be.



Superb Star Wars modeling. Slapping Unitrack down on it doesn't make it model railroading.
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

chessie system fan

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #34 on: September 21, 2023, 09:07:36 PM »
+1
That fairy tales book in the background bugs me more than anything else in that pic.   :P  I can think of several people I know who would love that graveyard one, and I can take away useful tidbits from all the examples in this thread.

T trak has been looking more and more interesting to me lately.  I have high standards and ambitions, but I have found that those high standards have inhibited me from actually getting things done because my means and skills don't match my expectations.  Over time, as I realize a project is too large, I abandon it for a smaller, less ambitious project, to be abandoned for an even less ambitious project.  After a few rounds of that, I have realized that it is better to start small to gain skills and confidence doing scenery before doing larger projects and getting bogged down in them.  And if I'm doing something small, instead of a static display it may as well be a T trak module I can take to local shows.

To my mind, the chief reason T trak is a viable standard is because the bar is set deliberately low. 

And because the bar is deliberately low, that allows the freedom to experiment without huge consequences. That in and of itself can be liberating.   What I'm creating isn't my magnum opus, it's some Unitrak on a tiny square. So if I try out creating an airport in winter and it turns into a wedding cake, who cares. Let's be honest, some modules are just dioramas with tracks going across them. That in and of itself doesn't make them useless (but I am cringing at that fairy tales book for some reason :scared:).

And like N trak's beginnings, let's not overlook the hobby sales aspect of this.  If someone on the fence looks at a T trak module and says, "Hey, even I can do that," then we all benefit.  I suppose, perhaps like N trak's three mainlines instead of two, it should be expected that this deliberate attitude comes at the cost of some prototypical fidelity.

That said, I'm still ambitious.  What I have enjoyed about Bruce's work in particular (and David Gray's too in its own way) is taking a given standard and turning it into an art form.   It's a bar I hope I meet one day.  Perhaps after a few modules I will. (Bruce, that quad idea a few years back was one of the overly ambitious ideas haha. But I haven't forgotten about it!)   And when my skills improve and it's time to move on, I'll likely dump my beginner modules on some well-deserving local teenager. 

But are there barriers? Yep. I haven't done anything yet.  There are two major reasons.  First, I live in an apartment and have no way of cutting lumber without outside help.  I haven't reached the point of buying a kit (I haven't found one I like for the amount I'm willing to pay), but I'm almost there. 

I'm kind of surprised someone hasn't just 3d printed an entire module base and tried to sell them.  It could maybe even have little grooves for where the track goes and screw holes for the track in the right places.  Let's lower the bar even more so that we can just focus on the scenery aspect of it.  I'm considering being that person if I can find a 3d printer that can do it.   

The second is more real, and it is a lack of broad curves available.  There is the one radius that goes with the #6 turnouts, but not one that is an inside curve for it.  So any slight waviness in the mainlines has to be fudged, and there's not a good way to do that.  It's very frustrating. The same with the #4 turnout radius.  The only option available is a sharp S curve, and that is where I'm currently stumped.

Aaron Bearden

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #35 on: September 21, 2023, 09:55:50 PM »
+1
This photo of some modules at the National Train Show posted on MRH stirred up a hornet's nest
https://forum.mrhmag.com/post/2023-national-train-show-day-1-friday-8252023-12722540



The thought occurs, that maybe some of these were made by 10 or 12 year old sons and daughters whose fathers just let their creativity flow? Kids (and adults) that love airplanes, Halloween, fairy tales and Star Wars. Creativity is creativity, whether it be in the prototypical sense, or whimsical, satirical or fantastical. This is a hobby for all no?

Like fine art, why not just look and try to visualize what the artist was thinking and feeling instead of applying our own prejudices as to what should or should not be on a TTrak module.

All that said, I have little interest as yet. If I could find a nearby club, that might change.

I have given thought to a long module with DT&I catenary that I designed.

basementcalling

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #36 on: September 21, 2023, 10:05:24 PM »
0

Bruce,

I love your work... But the fact that those modules are way outside the normal TTrak standard kinda defeats the whole concept of TTrak, no? Like, you can just show up at some random TTrak meet with that trestle and expect to plug right in, right?

All these "concerns" about T-TRAK were once also "concerns" about NTRAK, but the hobby solved many of those issues. None are insurmountable.

T-TRAK is actually more proto friendly than NTRAK, as triple track mains are even rarer than double track.

Kids will grab at anything. Plexiglas is your friend, as is aisle space around the tables.

A layout with lobes off a spline can group modules by theme. Hell T-TRAK modules are small enough you can make enough to build you own lobe if you want a proto theme for your trains to run through. N-TRAK also has lots of non train themed modules. They are often a hit with kids, just like a Thomas the Tank train. Most popular crowd pleasing train I've ever seen is John Czarny's NASCAR train with flat cars loaded with some company's small models of NASCAR decorated cars. Highly popular in the Southeast.

The standards are flexible enough for creative people to adapt, but solid enough for a basic module to all work together. NTRAK went through a similar module set vs POFF (Plain Ole Four Footer) debate as well. You can make your modules as simple or complex as you care to.

I think initially NTRAK took off in part because building a module is easier than building a layout. Or at least it takes less time. Quality modeling is it's own time warp, however. As life got busier T-TRAK appealed to those with even less modeling time. And you don't need an SUV, covered pickup bed, or trailer to haul the modules.

There's certainly room for both in our hobby, even if the some of Railwire asshats feel the basics of T-TRAK is somehow beneath them.  Bruce's modules ought to disabuse anyone of that notion. What's he's done within those standards is eye opening and makes the hobby a better one for us all.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 10:07:41 PM by basementcalling »
Peter Pfotenhauer

dem34

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #37 on: September 21, 2023, 10:08:08 PM »
+1
Superb Star Wars modeling. Slapping Unitrack down on it doesn't make it model railroading.

I have a feeling your going to love my Rubicon 3 and Atticassia Front modules in the works.
But if it makes you feel better the winner of the contest was a perfect scale rendition of a photo of a train wreck.

And edit** to add above. For example I was able to attend Altoona 300mi away with 2 doubles by just putting them in the back bench of my sedan. If it was just NTrak I would just be an attendee.
And IMHO I kinda feel the constraints work in favor of improving modelling. Yes the track can be ugly if you don't treat it right but I mean... as an Example look at RandGust's modules. Those meet the standard with one being a single track bridge and the other a single track embankment, as long as it plugs into a line of other modules. Meets the standard.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2023, 10:14:16 PM by dem34 »
-Al

signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #38 on: September 21, 2023, 10:43:50 PM »
-1
The thought occurs, that maybe some of these were made by 10 or 12 year old sons and daughters whose fathers just let their creativity flow? Kids (and adults) that love airplanes, Halloween, fairy tales and Star Wars. Creativity is creativity, whether it be in the prototypical sense, or whimsical, satirical or fantastical. This is a hobby for all no?

Like fine art, why not just look and try to visualize what the artist was thinking and feeling instead of applying our own prejudices as to what should or should not be on a TTrak module.

All that said, I have little interest as yet. If I could find a nearby club, that might change.

I have given thought to a long module with DT&I catenary that I designed.

Reportedly made by adults.
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

dem34

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #39 on: September 21, 2023, 10:55:40 PM »
0
Reportedly made by adults.

If it lets them enjoy the hobby and runs properly why does it matter?
I've seen my fair share of prototype modelling that looks like a toddler's first craft project, I still consider it valid. If anything it helps highlight those that do model to a higher standard through experience. Hell look back to my first posts here.
-Al

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #40 on: September 22, 2023, 06:05:32 AM »
0
Reportedly made by adults.

That may be, but my premise stands.

Creativity is creativity, and it is always in the eye of the beholder.

There are larger things in this world to worry about. 

Kentuckian

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2023, 07:18:17 AM »
0
For those who may not know, a few years ago we had a T-trak challenge and I built a module.

https://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=46647.15

It’s been in a handful of shows. If I get the chance it will probably be in a few more. I have rarely gotten any previous layout to the scenery stage and I wanted to try that. I have been fascinated with Thurmond, WV but it doesn’t fit what I want to with a home layout. For me that’s the attraction of any type of module; you can build something different. Also, you can build something. Like I read somewhere recently by an accomplished modeler “build something.” I use it mostly as a test track.

The local NMRA chapter has one member who is very involved in T-trak. The Star Wars modules may be a tip of the hat to the fist T-trak users, as I understand they called themselves “the resistance.” This may be apocryphal.

I belong to my railroad’s historical society and have several shelf feet of books on the prototype. I take most of my modeling seriously. But I’m a “big tent” guy when it comes to modeling. We want more people involved. There already are Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM) meets, for those who want to attend. I know we won’t get all of the pop culture guys to become serious modelers, but surely we will get some.
Modeling the C&O in Kentucky.

“Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. ... Everything science has taught me-and continues to teach me-strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death. Nothing disappears without a trace.” Wernher von Braun

signalmaintainer

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #42 on: September 22, 2023, 07:25:18 AM »
-4
There are larger things in this world to worry about.

Hey, knock yourself out worrying about them.🙂
NSMR #1975, RMR #4

btrain

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #43 on: September 22, 2023, 09:07:33 AM »
0
The only thing keeping me back from building one is there isn’t much in the way of operations (yes, I’m the guy who built a doughnut roundy round, and runs it for at least half an hour every week to unwind). That’s what I really enjoy about building Free-moN is the payoff of seeing a giant operating session that brings your creation to life.

TTRAK is pretty low risk/cost, high reward when it comes to trying out new scenery techniques, or roughing out an idea that can grow into a Free-moN module. I get that some crazy themed modules can turn people off (except that Star Wars one, that’s just a textbook kick butt example), but if you have the talents, it’s a great opportunity to be an example to other modelers and show what can come from hard work and persistence. After seeing those examples from Altoona last year, and @skytop35 pop up on a Facebook group, I’m convinced to give some double track prototypes I’ve been eyeing a try.

Rivet Miscounter

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Re: What would keep you from building a TTRAK module?
« Reply #44 on: September 22, 2023, 11:03:04 AM »
+1
I was considering T-Trak at one point.  Why I didn't:
-The Member "Signal-to-Noise Ratio".   It seems that many participants really do one or two doubles or even singles.   So what I saw even early on was a very compact layout and 40 members standing around on top of each other.   All competing to just run a single train for 30 minutes maybe.
-I had started dabling in Z at the time, T-Trak-Z was taking off, and all things being equal it seemed T-Trak-Z would be an even more space saving solution and with less Z-scalers it seemed to naturally solve my first issue.
-The president of the local group was a real jerk. Our very first and last face-to-face conversation lasted about 45 seconds during which he chastised me (not once, but twice in that 45 seconds) for not replying to an e-mail.  (I had replied to his e-mail)   If not for the first two items, I might have pushed back and tried to make a go of it, but it just wasn't something I had the patience for at the time.  Life's too short.

I am still hoping to do some T-Trak-Z modules eventually.   Finding quints or even quad kits has been impossible though, and I haven't really had time anyway. Plus I'm also part of a Free-MoN group now so that will likely garner my focus for the immediate future.  The Free-Mo concept is much more in line with what I love about model railroading, and most in the group have been long-time friends so it's the best choice for me at this time.
Doug