Introducing the Lionel FasTrack Modular Railroad

3 10 2012

If you’ve been following our posts here or through the LCCA over the past few months, you’ve probably heard of our new FasTrack Modular Railroad. Now that the standards have been tested and proven, this project is ready to roll.

Why Build a Module?

Modular model railroading has many appeals and advantages. Although most commonly thought of as a club layout, many individuals have built part or all of their home layouts in modular form as well. By applying strict standards to the sections, different modules can be connected whether they are from the same builder, same club, or from complete strangers.

Welcome Home

A module railroad can be anything you – and your friends – want it to be.

For home use, a modular layout affords great flexibility. Want to try a new track plan? No problem! And should you ever find yourself looking for a new home, there won’t be any heartache when it is time to move the layout.

A modular design also has a lot of advantages during the construction phase. By focusing on one small section at a time, even a large layout is not overwhelming. And if you are just getting started you’ll have lots of opportunities to learn on smaller projects as you work to a greater goal. You can build the layout of your dreams as your time, space, skills, and budget allow without having to wait decades before the trains start running.

Then there are the advantages for those of us who simply don’t have the space to build a layout big enough for those huge locomotives we’d love to have. The new FasTrack modules were developed with large corners in mind, so that anything we’ve ever made will have no trouble negotiating the railroad. And long trains are no problem either. As more and more modules come together, you can run longer trains over greater distances than most of us could ever hope to do at home.

So whether you decide to build a single module as a starter project, incorporate a module into your existing home layout that can also go on the road, or build your entire layout out of these building blocks, the FasTrack modules are a great way to get the most out of the hobby one piece at a time.

Building the Modules

Since this project began in February, Lionel and modelers from the Lionel Collectors Club of America have worked together to develop standards for a module that was simple to build, easy to transport and capable of meeting the many needs of a diverse audience. In other words, these modules have been designed by modelers for modelers learning from the lessons of years of experience.

jig

This jig will gaurantee your module is in line.

Although the modules themselves are standardized from unit to unit, you do have several options when it comes to building them. All you really need to get started is a set of the standard plans. These are available for download here or from www.lionel.com.

In addition to just having the standards, we highly recommend purchasing the template to align the Rotolatch fasteners and track. This simple jig will ensure that everything aligns perfectly when you join modules. Even if you only build a single module, the time savings and assurance provided by the jig is worth the investment. And of course if you are building more than one, you’ll get your money’s worth many times over.

Don’t think you have the carpentry skills or tools to build one of these all on your own? We are also offering kits for each of the three basic module types – straight, full corner and partial corner. The full corner modules allow for complete scenery. The partial corner modules can be reversed to be used as either an inside or outside corner for more elaborate track plans. They also make a great duck-under section to access the operation area inside the layout.

These kits include everything you need to assemble the basic module with a few simple tools. Each kit includes all of the hardware and lumber to build the module except for plywood for the top and 2×2 posts for the legs. Why did we leave these out? They are easy to obtain at any hardware store and you can probably buy your own cheaper than we can ship it to you!

Also included are the wire connections and a pair of 5″ FasTrack sections to join to the next module. To see how easy it is to assemble one of these kits, check out the video shared here on this page.

Buying the Modules

You can order your module kits and the template through www.lionelstore.com. You’ll find them all in the “Accessories” section. These will be in stock soon.

  • Template (6-37150) $22.99
  • Straight Module Kit (6-37149) $199.99
  • Full-Width Curve Module Kit (6-37154) $209.99
  • Partial-Width Curve Module Kit (6-37153) $209.99

You’ll also find four accessory bundles you can use to get started on the scenery for your new module. And of course you can add in other pieces of Lionel FasTrack, buildings and accessories.

Only the Beginning

modules

The full corner modules blend in with the straights for full scenery. Two 45 degree modules are required for a full quarter turn like this.

This is of course only the beginning of the Lionel FasTrack Modular Railroad project. Over the coming months, we’ll be providing more information and videos on wiring and construction, scenery making and more. And we’ll also put out some plans to create interesting layout designs with the new modules.

All of this information will be posted here on a special blog page as we’ve done with our other how-to modeling articles.

Most importantly, you’ll want to check back here often for information on where the next large modular setup will be held so you’ll have a chance to register and join in the fun!





New in Norfolk

26 07 2012

For those of you who couldn’t attend the LCCA convention in Norfolk, Virginia this week, here’s a look at some of the new things we’ve brought along for display.

LCCA Modules

modules

Our new module designs include both corners and straight sections.

We’re excited about this new project. Working in conjunction with the LCCA, we’ve put together a set of modular standards for use with our FasTrack. Anybody who builds their module to this design will be able to bring it to future conventions to be part of large layouts as have been done in other scales.

To make things even easier, we’ve gone ahead and done a lot of the hard work for you! Kits are available containing everything you need for the module benchwork itself, including high-quality pre-cut lumber, hardware and wiring connections. What you put on top – well that’s all up to you! (Though as you’ll see we have some ideas to get you started there too!)

jig

This jig will gaurantee your module is in line.

For those who don’t mind cutting their own wood, we’ve made a template that will help you ensure everything is in perfect alignment so there will be no surprises when you show up at the show!

We’ll cover these modules in more detail in their own blog post here very soon. These items will be available for purchase through our website at www.lionelstore.com.

Accessory Packs

yard module

Our yard pack includes two animated accessories, lights, figures and more!

Our layouts tell stories. Think of these accessory packs as pre-written chapters for those books! We’ve grouped some of our most popular accessories into collections to help get you started on your scenes. Perfect for the new modules, these will also be right at home on your regular layouts. And of course you can mix and match the packs and other accessories and scenery products to make whatever you can imagine.

town

Or maybe Main Street is what you want…

Our first four packs include a “Tis the Season” winter package, a residential neighborhood, city street, and rail yard. These include buildings, lights, signs, figures, and action accessories to get you started.

Like the modules, we’ll cover the details of each of these in more detail in an upcoming blog. And the accessory theme packs will be available online at www.lionelstore.com.

New Trains

The highlight of any convention is always the new trains on display. Here is a look at the projects that will be coming to your dealers’ shelves soon:

A5 Switcher: A preproduction unpainted model of the Pennsy A5s.

SD80MAC

SD80MAC: One of the new Norfolk Southern SD80MACs is pounding the iron of the new modular layout.

New York Central GP35

In the traditional line – a pair of Rock Island FAs.

CNW PS-1 Boxcar

BSA Box

Boy Scouts “Prepared. For Life.” Boxcar

MStL

M&StL Boxcar

X31

Prototypes for the X31 Boxcar have arrived. Here’s the double door version.

X31 end

Check out the end detail!

X31

And the single door car.

UP Hopper

Union Pacific “Flag” hopper in American Flyer.

AF Christmas boxcar

American Flyer Angela Trotta Thomas “Circus Comes to Town” Boxcar

Merchandise Car

Merchandise Car – Pre-production Sample

Peanuts Train

Peanuts Christmas Set – Pre-production Sample





LCCA Convention Wrap-Up

5 08 2011
towers

Displays stretch from floor to ceiling.

This past weekend’s LCCA convention in Dallas was, as always, a big hit. Lionel’s displays included a large operating layout as well as multiple columns filled with operating trains. Some brand new samples were also on display. G Gauge and Lionel Little Lines trains were set up on the floor to the delight of the younger visitors.

layout

The operating layout is always popular.

Saturday morning, about 100 Boy Scouts arrived to work on their Railroading Merit Badge – an outstanding program set up by the LCCA. Later that day, the crowds got quite heavy.

All of our staff who attended were quite thrilled with the response from visitors. From a standing ovation at Mike Reagan’s presentation to compliments and questions from those browsing the displays all weekend – the reception in Dallas couldn’t have been nicer. Thank you to all who stopped by, and to the LCCA for organizing another successful event! We’ll see you again soon.

See anything new? Don't worry, we'll have close up shots of new releases as they get a little closer to release.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,160 other followers