Simple Standards

In our basic planning, we decided that modules should be light enough for one person to carry easily, and they should be small enough to fit into almost any passenger car, including compacts and subcompacts. Thus we developed a light 1/4-inch plywood construction with 1"x3" or 1"x4" joists, and a base size of 24"x48". We adopted a height of 40" from floor to railhead, convenient to operate -- especially for those of us over 40 -- and the same as N-TRAK and many other groups.

Since these are toy trains, Lionel collectors and operators usually have O-gauge track and 022 (now 6-65132 and 6-65133) switches (henceforth in this manual called turnouts) on hand or can obtain them conveniently, we adopted them as standard.

Further, we decided on two main tracks, and because trains must sometimes cross from one track to another, we adopted Lionel's spacing of 8 1/2" between track center lines (the distance created by a crossover made with two Lionel 022 turnouts), rather than choosing another figure incompatible with so much Lionel produced.

Modules are fastened together using C-clamps because they are flexible and allow easy adjustments of height and width (and track, if necessary). To aid in aligning tracks between modules, we ended the two main tracks 5" from each end of the module. This allows the use of a regular O-gauge 10" straight section for a connecting piece of track, which we call a bridge section. Any inaccuracies in construction of mounting of track can be adjusted easily by using these bridge sections. It will be necessary to cut some track to meet the 48" length of a module (less the two 5" connections at each end), but this is a simple operation anyone can do. We do warn you not to use tiny pieces of track, especially at the ends of the module.

  • Introduction
  • What's in This Manual?
  • Section One: Module Construction
  • Section Two: Track
  • Section Three" Electrical
  • Section Four: Decoration and Scenery
  • Section Five: Special Modules
  • Back to Main Page