Kettle Moraine Railroad Heritage Association Inc.

HO Module Standards

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Based on "HO-trak" modules
Adapted from N-trak standards

1. Module deck / benchwork
The module frame should be constructed with pine 1x4's.  The deck of the module should be 3/8" or 1/2" plywood, 1/2" BC plywood is recommended.  The module dimensions are 30" deep and 2', 4', 6' or 8' long.  The front of the module should have a strip of 'loop velcro' (fuzzy side) running the entire length of the module.
Each module should have a stanchion that extends 20" from the front of the module.  Stanchions are to be constructed of 1/2" PVC with a tee at the end.  Stanchions should be mounted through a hole in the module 6" from the right side and 1-1/2" down from the deck.  Consideration should be made for longer modules (6 or 8 feet) to provide for additional stanchions.
It is recommended that cup hooks be installed on the underside of the module to hold wires when not in use.  A broom clip can be used to hold the stanchion to the underside of the module when not in use.
The legs should be made of 2x2 pine.  The legs can be removable or hinged to the module.  If hinged, 1x4 cross bracing is recommended between pairs of legs with folding/locking table braces used (at least one on each set of legs).  The bottom of each leg shall have a 3/8" t-nut and a 3/8 x 3" fully threaded carriage bolt for height adjustments.  The length of the legs shall be cut so that the top of the mainline rails are 40" from the ground when the adjustment bolt is threaded halfway in (1-1/2").  This allows for 40" deck height, plus or minus 1-1/2".
The front of the module shall be painted with True Value Premium Decor PDL-30 Royal Blue.  The legs and remaining bencwork shall be painted with Fleet Farm exterior latex "Young Gazelle" #324-5, base #3504.

2.  Track
a.  Mainlines
Each module will have 3 main lines.  The track centers at both ends of the module shall be set 4", 6", and 8" from the front of the module.  Model Power nickel silver flex track (part #105) is recommended for the mainlines.  Peco Code 100 medium radius 'insulfrog' turnouts are recommended (part #1051 or #1052).  Midwest Products cork roadbed (or equivalent) shall be used for each mainline track.  The ends of each track shall be set back 3" from the end of the module.  All trackage must meet NMRA HO standards gage clearances.
b.  Branch lines / secondary track
The positioning of branch lines, secondary track, and spur tracks is up to the individual modeler.  Any brand or code of track & turnouts and roadbed (if any) may be used.  If a smaller code rail is used, a smooth transition must be made from the mainline.

3.  Wiring
All mainline tracks must be electrically insulated from each other.  Each mainline must have its own 16 or 18 gauge bus wire, lamp or "zip" cord works best.  Each mainline bus shall have "Anderson 15-amp Powerpoles" for connecting to adjacent modules.  Color-coded electrical tape can be used to identify each set of Powerpoles:  red for the front track, yellow for the middle track, and blue for the rear track.  Track feeders should be 20-24 gauge solid wire and be attached to each piece of unsoldered track, and on both sides of all turnouts.  Feeders can be attached to the bus wires via terminal strips or "suitcase" connectors.  The front rail of each track shall be wired to the red side of the Powerpole, and the rear rail to the black side.  Just remember, "black wire to the back".
Each module shall have a DC auxiliary bus or "white line".  The white line can be used to power accessories, building lights, etc. on the module.  The white line should be 16 or 18 gauge wire.  Connectors shall be Cinch Jones plugs (male #538-13021, female #538-23021) with the male plugs on the left and female plugs on the right, as you face the front of the module.  (NOTE: this is reversed from N-trak standards).
Each module should have a power strip or extension cord for passing AC power around the layout.
It is recommended that female plugs be mounted flush with the bottom of the module framing and male plugs should have sufficient length to attach to adjoining modules.

4.  Backdrops
Each module shall have a backdrop that runs the full length of the module and extends 11"above the deck.  For the front of the backdrop, Royal Interiors by Ace Hardware. Wall + Trim paint Flat Acrylic Latex paint.  Base Color  183A320 Midtone Base. Size 1 quart.  
Tinting Colors     Ounces       Shots
      E                                      198
      I                                        17
     KX                    1                96 
The rear of the backdrop shall be painted Fleet Farm Interior/Premium/Flat (1 quart)
Tinting Colors       Ounces         Shots
   B                                                9
   C                                               39
   I                                                30
 KX                           1                  23 

5.  Scenery
All ground cover materials should match club [permanent layout] standards.  Mainline ballast should be Woodland Scenics Medium Gray Blend #94.  Secondary track ballast is up to the modeler.  Grass mixture uses Woodland Scenics Green Blend Turf T49 as a base, with the following small bags of turf added for color/texture/variety:  Yellow Grass Coarse T61, Light Green Coarse T63, Medium Green Coarse T64, Dark Green Coarse T65

Benchwork photos

NOTE: this picture shows the "old style" Cinch Jones track power bus plugs.

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Have fun and happy modeling!
John Leister, HO module Superintendent