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After being involved with Modular Club layouts since 1989 I wanted to recognize the contributions of all the groups to the hobby . Many of the local train shows and larger WGH, Greenberg, York meet and many others have operating layouts to help introduce and keep interest in model railroading . These modelers contribute a large amount of time and effort to promote the hobby. In all the years of being part of these groups I have one special train show to highlight what I remember as the most rewarding event of all my years. In 1995 I helped with many friends and modelers to present a train show sponsored by the Lionel Operating Train Society ( LOTS). It took place in Aug. 25,26,27 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel New Brunswick NJ. The format was a little different than normal. The show opened on Friday evening 6-9 PM and Saturday & Sunday  10 - 5 PM. There were 124 modules from all the clubs local and whoever else wanted to join in. The attached video has a fairly accurate track layout of the modules, that was 26 years ago it could be off slightly. The video was made by a friend and is quite lengthy overall 120 mins. I see so many friends in there who are not with us any longer I thought this might pay some tribute to them and to the rest who are still here, check it out you might see yourself !. Thanks again to everyone who helped make the show so memorable.

Here is the link to the Video


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Module setup
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That setup was truly impressive.  I like the long runs, and the size allows for multiple actions to occur at the same time.  IIRC, the National Capital Trackers did a huge setup at York a few years ago - it was so long that they actually had some modules crossing underneath the others at one point.

Shameless plug:  My club's (Pacific & Eastern) modular layout is featured in OGR run 320 which just came out.  We take a different approach - there is a limited number of configurations by which our modules can be assembled.  This makes for a less linear presentation and greater scenic opportunities, but it limits the flexibility and we aren't able to include "standard" modules that are built by others, nor can we do really long runs.  I believe that each approach has its pros and cons.

Your club was wise and fortunate to record that video.  Unfortunately, we don't have any video that I'm aware of, and many of our historical photos don't meet today's standards. 

My former club, (see signature) started as an ho modular club in 1985.  Yes, I had ho modules, that were set up in an AAMCO transmission shop show room, originally a Packard dealer in Lakewood NJ.  We would drag and set them up at local train shows.  We eventually found a permanent location in a church basement in Lakewood and repurposed them into a new layout.  We also built a three rail layout.  Both layouts were eventually dismantled and new layouts built.  See the website for the current club status


Thanks but couldn't have done it without so many good friends.Your modules looked good in the video. Glad I was finally able to get this video out there. It was originally on 16mm tape,then had it converted to CD. Getting it on U-Tube required my grandson's help. We all had tons of fun over the years. Did you see Bob Salerno RGS Trains in the background ?


Yes I do!.They were great times. You arranged for the "Raritan Valley Hi Railers to setup for a show where you were involved when Amtrak was testing for the high speed Acela. Amtrak southbound train stopped in Newark station where all the members and their modules and equipment was loaded on  a baggage  car and brought us to Amtrak station in DC for the 5 year anniversary of the station do over. I also remember doing our first official " Raritan Valley Hi Railers" which then  had three members. Harry Jenkins,Tom Walsh and myself. This was at your show in the old CNJ station at Liberty State park. We did your shows there (2) a year for quite some time. Thanks for all your help over the years,lots of fun I also remember you gave me room to setup some modules,four I believe in your train show . This gave me a little exposure which helped recruit the first members of the "Raritan Valley Hi Railers.


So glad you posted this memory.  The then fledgling Midwest Division of the Independent Hi-Railers were participants.  Frank Sanchez and I drove out with Frank's yard modules, and Jim Marek and Joel and John Hastings flew in.  I remember the reverse loop modules you built so that this large layout could operate as one long continuous mainline.  As I recall we could run 4 or 5 trains on the layout at one time, but we needed 'spotters' who had head sets (along with the operators) to ensure the trains stayed appropriately separated from each other (this was before command control entered our world).  What fun!  I bought my first ZW transformer at that show, along with my first scale diesel, a Weaver SD 40-2 (in Milw Rd colors of course) which still logs hours on my layout, albeit with a PS-2 upgrade.  Had a great time over a meal with Al Spaventa, and I recall the tour you gave us of a home layout (can't seem to recall the owners name) that you built for a friend.

I hope you are well and still enjoying our hobby.

Dave Curtin


Thanks for the compliments. That meet was a lot of fun! I think that was the one and only time I saw those "Y" modules you built for the ends of the "W". But now you've got me going. I'm going to steal a small part of your thunder. While I was going through old pictures tonight looking for something else, I happened upon these. I thought I would share. These are random shots I took as the mood hit. I was too busy having fun to really concentrate on photography!


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Members of the (now defunct) Central Arkansas Model Railroad Club (CAMRC) designed and built an O-gauge modular layout with 19 modules equipped with Atlas O track and switches. It was presented to the public for several years during the  FESTIVAL OF LIGHT holiday event in Conway, AR (also now defunct).  Afterwards, the modules were stored -- awaiting resurrection -- which came a few years later and then reconfigured with TMCC.

For several years, club members presented the "new and improved" modular layout to the public during train shows sponsored by CAMRC in local public venues. As club members aged and faced medical issues, the arduous tasks of setting-up, taking-down, and operating the trains on modules overwhelmed the relatively small local group (me included).

Subsequently, a group of Lionel loyalists and hobby volunteers totally redesigned and rebuilt a derivative O-gauge modular layout with Lionel tubular track on the main level and Lionel FasTrack on the upper level. It was co-sponsored by the Lionel Collectors Club of America (LCCA) and Laman Library in North Little Rock, AR. Trains operated during five holiday seasons at the library. Total attendance was more than 21,000 visitors during that timeframe.  When that "show and tell" venture ended (mostly due to the difficulty of staffing the layout with volunteers during the busy holiday time), the layout was dismantled. As I understand it, Laman Library still receives holiday phone calls asking, "Will the trains be running this season?"

Mike Mottler    LCCA 12394



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