To the Mountain...

Over the years, enthusiasm for the N-Trak concept spread across North America, and British Columbia was no exception, with another N-Trak group formed in Victoria. The Victoria based club used the then new optional specification for a "mountain division", in essence, a fourth track located towards the rear of the modules, and elevated a few inches above the rest of the module. (The original specification involved three parallel tracks near the front of the baseboard, intended to maximize visitors' experience of the layout with moving trains constantly visible.)

Thornton, 2001, showing the three track modules prior to the Mountain Division

As these modules were often brought from the Island to Vancouver to be added to TraiNgang layouts, which at that time utilized the three track standard, it was inevitable that local enthusiasts started new modules based on the Mountain Division specifications or began modifying existing ones to match those of their Victoria counterparts. Indeed, for many years, the TraiNgang had special modules with connections between the "branch" line, or innermost of the three main tracks and the elevated line allowing operators the option of running partially on that trackage until a full set of mountain division modules was available.

Thornton, 2001, showing a Mountain Division transition on a corner module

Typically these joint layouts were assembled at the annual TRAINS model railway show held at the Cameron Recreation Centre in Burnaby, held over the Remembrance Day weekend each November. This show has remained the premiere show in the club's annual calendar, and over the years, club members have won many ribbons for individual modules, while the layout has been voted Best in Show several times.

The display schedule evolved steadily during this period, and included events such as the annual Chilliwack Lions model railway and hobby show in the 1990's and again in recent years, Fort Langley's Brigade Days - about three shows, to approximately 2003, the CN Open House event, Science World, Port Moody's Golden Spike Days, the last of 4-5 shows being in about 2004.

This era also saw the longest continuous display recorded in the club's history, with a month long exhibit set up in an empty store in New Westminster's Royal City Mall in 1991; this layout, which did not feature the mountain division, was operated by members on Friday evenings and over weekends.

Today, the club exhibits regularly at Burnaby Heritage Village, the Burnaby Central Railway at Confederation Park, Baillie House hospice and Valley Fair Mall in Maple Ridge, the TRAINS show in Burnaby, the Chilliwack Lions hobby show, and other appropriate venues.

(Photos courtesy of Bob Berbeck)

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