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January 31 - February 1, 2009

Gallatin Valley Mall Setup

Slightly more than a year after our first engagement there, Montana NTRAK returned to what's rapidly becoming our home in Bozeman, the Gallatin Valley Mall. But what a difference a year has made.

Our first setup had ten modules and four corners. This setup has twenty-one modules with our four corners. ( The odd number is because two of the modules are six-footers, which take up the same space as three regular, four foot modules. )

Last year, we had lots of bare plywood and a minimum of scenicking. This year, we have windmills, a reversing loop, a switchback, two yards, handheld controllers, and a great deal more.

We also introduced four new modules to our activities, the two modules of Doug Lanphear's Rushmore and The Palisades, Jay McEldoon's module, Abraham's Town, and the third module of Tim Langworthy's and Phil DeKoning's Union Tunnel And The Hooptie. This setup also marked the return of the Mountain Yard, ending its five-month hiatus.


Since our official policy is still that we never have wrecks, we must be purposely staging them for our audiences. The following images illustrate what might be probably our finest illustration to date.

The story, as closely as we could determine, was that Rod was trying to back up his freight train on the Blue line at the same time that someone had flipped one of the Blue line switches somewhere on the layout. Since the switch was flipped, the line was shorted out and the trains on it wouldn't move. Not knowing this, Rod kept adding power and getting no resulting movement. When, finally, that Blue line switch was returned to normal, the short circuit was fixed and all the power that had, up to that moment, been unable to move this train was suddenly sent on its proper course. This led to the engines jumping backward very quickly and the situation below.