T-Trak Modules

You may have noticed that over the last year, I haven’t actually built any modules despite doing the design work and finding suitable plenty of suitable locations. Unfortunately, my plan to have a space to build those modules hasn’t come to be… yet. However, I’ve still got the desire to build something and practice modelling techniques but to make this a realistic prospect anytime soon, it’s going to need something small, relatively cheap and easy to store.

Johnstown – Oheygi T-Trak Module (Paul Ohegyi) by Topherson – Own Work,
CC BY 2.0, View Image

I’ve talked in previous posts about wanting to create small modules or cameos; where the scenery is of equal importance to the trains and where the scenic elements are used to frame a scene. T-Trak modules might be the answer…

T-Trak is a set of standards for building very small modules. The standard ‘single’ module is only 308mm wide and 355mm deep. This means that a ‘single’ module represents about 50m x 57m in the real World.

The ‘single’ module could be a bit restrictive in terms of width but it’s possible to use ‘double’ or even ‘triple’ modules which are 618mm wide and 928mm wide respectively; both are still 355mm deep.

I’m not particularly fond of the standard track position on T-Trak modules, I feel it’s too close to the front of the module and limits scenic possibilities. So while I’ll stick to the standard module sizes my track position will be non-standard.

Speaking of track, T-Trak modules are designed to use Kato Unitrack. I own a set of Kato Unitrack and really like it. I love the idea of being able to plug a fully detailed module into a loop of Kato Unitrack quickly and easily and then being able to break it all down and put it away just as easily.

The modules are small enough to be stored relatively easily so it’d be possible to create modules for a range of locations.

Interestingly, some of the locations I’ve already featured in my blog look like they could be suitable candidates for T-Trak modules but the small footprint also presents an opportunity to create something slightly more unusual too.

Annacis Island

Above are some examples of industrial spurs on Annacis Island in Vancouver, Canada. On the left there’s a fairly conventional set of industrial spurs that would fit in a double T-Trak module and on the right a single T-Trak module that incorporates the rail-served warehouse of the SSAB Hardox® facility.

The SSAB facility is a fairly generic modern warehouse building but I think it might be possible to use a structure like this to create a module with a slightly unconventional perspective; I’m picturing something similar to this rail-served warehouse.

Berlin Stadtbahn

By ArialA – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

This Stadtbahn scene from the western-side of Museum Island could actually be recreated in a single T-Trak module.

I feel that urban locations suit standalone T-Trak modules particularly well. Not only do the buildings lend themselves to being used as scenic breaks, if you pick the right locations you can incorporate structures that’ll make interesting scratchbuilding projects.

You could pick nearly any location along the Berlin Stadtbahn and find something suitable to recreate in a T-Trak module. Here are two examples:

This is Google Streetview imagery for the single T-Trak module of the left-hand side of the previous map. Those tram tracks add extra interest (you could make sure there was always something moving) but perhaps it’d be better to use a bit of modellers license and have them swing under the bridge to give the tram somewhere to go.

And here’s the Google Streetview imagery for the single T-Trak module on the right-hand side of the map. There are tram tracks that run across the module alongside the mainline on the viaduct.

Those catenary masts would make an interesting scratchbuilding project in their own right and it’d be fun to recreate all those parked bicycles with photo-etches.

Imagine a whole set of urban T-Trak modules connected together… and more or less any urban area would be suitable. I’m sure there are some really interesting possibilities all over Europe, Japan and even the US and Canada.

Dordrecht Island, Wantij Bridge

Although you’d have to use a double module to create an accurate model, the bridge I featured in this post would also work well as a T-Trak module.

Other Ideas

How about a mainline station on a T-Trak module? If like me you lack the space to recreate a mainline station and scale length passenger trains, how about just modelling a section of the station?

Over on the N Gauge Forum I found this very atmospheric picture in a thread about an impressive British N gauge layout called Shrewford. The picture captures perfectly what could be possible with an eye-level T-Trak module and you could create a similar scene for any station anywhere in the World.

By 1977joey – Own work, Used with permission, View thread

I get the feeling I’ve just scratched the surface of what could be possible with T-Trak and I’m sure I’ll do more posts on this topic in the future.

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about T-Trak standards I’d recommend taking a look at this website: http://t-trak.org/.

Thanks to Mike (1977joey) for giving me permission to use his photograph in this post.

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