This weekend the N-Trak convention was held in Bournemouth, UK, and I wanted to share with you the layouts and some of the fantastic modeling on display. The Black Diamonds also had several modules from their large modular collection which formed a large double main line setup as well as the N-track layout.
For those wondering what N-track is, here is brief description; N-Trak is one of several modular N scale model railroad standards which allows people to connect their model railroads together. The standards refer to things such as layout height, module length and width, track spacing and power connections. The basics for N-Trak state that a module should be 2 foot deep and 3 foot long and there must be 3 tracks running through the module, spaced at 1.5-inch (38 mm) centers at the front. The rest of the module is up to you. (The full standards and specification can be found on the N-Trak website here) This allows many modules to be connected together forming a big railroad, making it easy to run very long trains. At each end or joining the two ends will be a large staging yard with trains ready to run over the whole layout. Sometimes the layout may consist of a few modules or sometimes, well, more than I can count!
Anyway, the setup here in Bournemouth was not a mammoth affair but a nice size layout along with the Black Diamonds layout.
Here is the yard at the back of the N-track layout.
You can see the three mainlines running into the yards at the bottom of the picture, each line has its own yard, the tea and sandwich are an optional extra!
The main section of the layout featured an industrial area with plenty of buildings and track work which swept nicely through the scene. Once again you can see the three mainlines running into the modules at the bottom of this photo.
Here are a good range of close up photos of the N-Trak layout.
If you’re wondering where all the trains are, unfortunately I’m not the greatest photographer in the world and all my photos of moving trains are blurry! However I do have some videos. Here is a double-headed steam freight running though town.
And an ATSF freight.
For me, the highlight of the show was this.
It’s a brass Pennsylvania Baldwin Locomotive Works DR 12-8-3000 “Centipede” custom made by N-Stars who were at the show running their trains.
N-stars specialize in very high quality mechanisms and chassis for N scale locomotives. This Centipede is fitted with a LokSound sound decoder which really brought the engines to life, even over the chatter in the room. Here’s a video of the Centipede in action.
Hans from N-Stars told me that the Centipede will navigate a 9″1/2 radius curve which is amazing given the length and amount of wheels under the locomotive.
Here is another video of one of Hans’ locomotives. It’s an old Bachmann 2-8-0; these are notorious for being bad runners but as you can see below Hans has fixed that.
He has removed the Bachmann motor and fitted a brand new custom motor into the tender, which looks like an ex-Rivarossi 0-8-0 tender to me. The new motor powers the locomotive via a drive shift between the tender and locomotive with the drive shaft almost imperceptible. The locomotive ran superbly.
Here is long SP train of trailer trucks running through town with a little help from the NS providing a second locomotive.
The Black Diamonds layout, setup opposite the N-Trak, had a longer run and bigger yards at each end, which led to some very nice long trains running throughout the railroad. In the photo below is one of the yards with a long coal train waiting to depart headed by three diesels.
Sadly due to a poor camera battery I wasn’t able to get many photos of the Black Diamonds layout but I did get some videos earlier in the day. Here is a Milwaukee freight ruining past the mountain.
And a Metra commuter train.
And a long Pennsylvania freight headed by Q2.
The Q2 is another N-Stars improved locomotive. It still has it’s original motor but the power pickup and tender to locomotive connection has been updated greatly improving the performance.
There were also several other very interesting locomotives on this layout including a Con-Cor Galloping Goose.
And a pair of LNER pacific, a little out of place being British, but to me they are beautiful and so it’s always good to see them.
And finally before I left the show Hans wanted to show me the Pennsylvania 4-8-2.
As well as being a fantastic looking locomotive Hans also fitted a Soundtraxx Tunami sound decoder, and it sounded superb. Here is a video of it running, and again, even over the noise of the room, you can here the beat of the exhaust as the engine heads away from the camera.
After the day at the N-Trak convention in Bournemouth I came away eager to produce some new prints. Later on this year I will be working on a new project with N-Stars which will hopefully make the New York Central fans happy, but as to what will be, you will have to wait for a later post.