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The NMRA HUB Division

Modular Railroad Group



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The HUB Modular Railroad Group is very active, frequently displaying its HO modular layout throughout the year at shows and events held around Massachusetts. These include the Norwood Days Festival in September, the twice-a-year Greenberg Show at Shriner's Auditorium in Wilmington, Children's Hospital in Boston, the Amherst Railway Society's Big Railroad Hobby Show at the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield in January, the National Heritage Museum in Lexington in December, and our own HUB-sponsored New England Model Train EXPO in Marlborough, also in December, plus many others.

On occasion, we venture much further. In May 2010, we traveled to St. John, New Brunswick, Canada to participate in a regional show. Our layout has been to other New England states, National NMRA shows in Cleveland OH, Detroit MI, Cincinnati OH, Hartford CT, and Toronto, Canada, and even to international shows overseas in the Netherlands (2001) and Germany (2008).

Membership
If you are a HUB Division member, then you are automatically a member of the Modular Railroad Group, if you are interested. There are no separate dues, and you do not need to have your own module. All you need to do in order to become an active member of the group is to get involved, whether that is helping with setup or teardown, or offering your own module (if you have one) to be part of the railroad for a show or two, or simply coming to a show with a train to run.

The Layout
The modules are 2'x4' in size and built to HUB/NMRA specifications. The layout varies from show-to-show, depending on available space and the modules to be used. Generally, it is configured as a large rectangular design, with a double track main line, a 16' staging yard within the rectangle, and a 16' yard along the main lines for train assembly and switching activities (example). The layout configuration for smaller venues is linear with turnback modules at either end and no staging yard (example). The largest configuration requires a lot of space and is usually only seen at the Amherst show in W. Springfield. In addition to the large rectangle design, we add a linear branch line and connect the two with an interchange module, making the whole thing 52'x33' (big one).

The layout is powered and controlled using DCC and Lenz equipment. The Modular Group owns some Lenz throttles that are available for member use, or you can bring your own. Your locomotives do not need Lenz decoders to work with this system, but the decoder must conform to NMRA standards (almost any commercial decoder meets this requirement).

Module Specifications
The HUB Division Module Specifications are closely aligned with NMRA standards, with many pages of construction specs and drawings. In 2009, our electrical standards were upgraded to better support newer advances such as DCC signaling; the 4th Edition of the Specifications includes this information.

The HUB Division offers to its members only a complete packaged module kit for $155. The kit has everything you need, including all precut lumber, hardware, a complete wiring harness for the DCC and intermodule connections, a panel jack and wire, and even roadbed and the track! A module is the perfect solution if you do not have the space for a full-size layout or just want to experiment or learn new techniques without commiting the time and money to a larger setup. Please contact Mark Harlow with additional questions and to order the module kits.

Modular Railroad Signal Committee
On the HUB Modular Railroad Signal Committee page, you will find presentations, HUB signaling documentation, wiring diagrams, vendor links, and other signal-related information.

Important: If you plan to add signals to your module and want them to work within the HUB modular railroad signaling environment, the Signal Committee page also contains important documents that define the address assignments, by module name, of Accessory Decoder numbers and of C/MRI SMini Board addresses.

Contacts
Our current Module Coordinator is Dick Ball, should you want additional information or have questions not answered by this page. He is also the point of contact if you have a module which you would like to include at our shows.

Modular Railroad Group activities are listed on the HUB Calendar of Events page. Drop by and say hello!


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