Group 160 N-Trak club is a model railroad club based in Burbank, CA. Founded in 1993 by George Johnsen and others interested in N-Scale (1 to 160; 3/4″ = 10′) model railroading, their idea was to bring together modelers who enjoyed N-Scale model railroading but who had little or no room for a home layout, and those who had home layouts but wanted to run long trains. They also hoped to spread the word about the fun hobby of model railroading.
Fliers placed in local hobby shops and word of mouth quickly attracted ten to fifteen initial members from all walks of life. The club has continued to grow and now numbers about thirty active members (substantially more when you count spouses and children, who are always welcome to work on the layout and run trains). The membership is diverse, consisting of, among others, entertainment industry craftsmen and professionals, computer professionals, construction workers, an airplane mechanic, a railroad employee, entrepreneurs and model railroad industry workers. The one thing that all of
these people have in common is a love of trains, large and small.
Group 160’s layouts are modular in nature and adhere to the N-Trak 2000 standard. Standard N-Trak modules a either four, six or eight feet long by two feet wide; the N-Trak 2000 standard uses modules of similar length but with a 30″ width, allowing a bit more room for scenery or industry. Standard N-Trak modules have three, generally equally spaced tracks (the Red line on the outside, the Yellow line in the middle, and the Blue line on the inside) with industrial and other spurs branching off the blue line. The N-Trak 2000 standard uses two outside main lines (the Red and Yellow lines) and sets the Blue line back approximately one foot further toward the rear of the module, to wander up and back as a branch line.
The club owns four corner modules, each of which are approximately 4′ square. It also has modules comprising an offset “S” curve, as well as modules depicting the lumber industry, a farm, and a refinery, among others. Our layout features a yard (the Roger Slowi Memorial Yard named after one of the Club members who died much too young) consisting of twelve yard tracks of eighteen feet in length, plus a complex throat that marshals the assembled trains on to the main and branch lines.
In general, the Club modules embrace a Pacific Northwest theme, but the members modules express a broad range of interests: orange groves and fruit packing are well represented, as are small towns even one that is devastated by a tornado every few minutes. Club members were initially required to build a module before election to membership, but with the acquisition and construction of so many club modules, that requirement has been dropped. Members may build their own modules, but are now encouraged to adopt or at least help maintain the many Club modules. All Club members are also members of N-Trak.
With so many Club and member modules, the Club can erect a very large layout. Nevertheless, the average setup is approximately twenty to twenty-eight feet, depending on the available space and the number of Club members able to participate. Layouts as small as twelve by twenty feet are possible, as are giant layouts, a strength of the modular concept. Group 160 has joined with other N-Trak clubs in the past to construct layouts of more than a hundred feet in length.
One requirement for club membership is a love of model railroading. Of course, the quintessence of model railroading is having fun. As a club we not only participate in Great American Train Shows (GATS), but set up layouts at church events, retirement homes and other community venues. Model railroading is a wholesome, fun, family-oriented and rewarding hobby, which Club members enjoying sharing with the the general public, or family and friends.