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MiNi Mod-U-Trak

This is N Scale model railroading with prototype influence and midwestern flair.

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Milw Patrol passes through the cornfields east of New Lisbon

While standing around the Midwest Mod-U-Trak layout at Harper College in 2004, a couple lost souls from the N-Trak set-up started dreaming about an N scale version of this landmark HO modular layout. Midwest Mod-U-Trak had a knack for capturing distinct everday scenes from the midwest, while maintaining scenic continuity among all modules. Scenic continuity is missing from most all N-trak set-ups, based on the nature of a national standard. We were somewhat jealous, and decided there and then to create our own fluid N Scale modular layout.

The key theme came together quickly: Double-track mainline instead of the N-trak three track standard. Closer, more prototypical spacing between mainlines. Ability to utilize Atlas Code 55 track. Higher rail height from the floor to bring our detailed trains up to adult eye level at ~53". Midwestern IL and WI scenery, with wide open spaces and everyday scenes.

Bill Denton decided to start things off by modifying his N-Trak standard modules depicting the Milwaukee Road in New Lisbon, WI. First item to fix was the leg height, and some PVC pipe extensions brought the module set from 40" N-Trak height to 53" MiNi height. Bill had also built a pair of end loops so that he could have continuous running in his basement. They were jacked up to MiNi height as well, such that a running layout could be set up without having a typical closed loop of modules.

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Bill's leg extensions and in-progress New Lisbon Depot

Mike Skibbe decided to start from scratch. With the desire to follow a double-track standard, it was decided that the first new module could transition from the triple-track on Bill's module set to the new standard interface and double-track of MiNi. Thus, the East New Lisbon Transition Module was born.

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Before and after scenery on the Transition module

Our first set-up was at the Naperville Prototype Modeler's Meet in October 2004. We knew we were on the right track when we received good comments from a very perticular group of prototype modelers, who also tend to have a heavy HO bias!

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Bill Denton, Bill Pierce, and Charlie Vlk discuss N Scale at the Naperville Prototype Modelers Meet, MiNi's first public set-up


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