Layout – Durban Modular Railroaders

This an edited version of two articles which appeared in the North Star Chronicles – Vol 1 numbers 3 and 5 March and May 2013 respectively. One Tuesday evening in February 1981 a group of model railways enthusiasts met in an office furniture showroom in Durban. While the individuals shared a basic common interest, their modeling backgrounds were diverse including 3 rail OO British Hornby Dublo, HO German Fleischman, HO and Hon3 North American. From this unlikely beginning emerged a group which in one form or another stayed together for 20 years and did much to promote the model railroading hobby to fellow enthusiasts and the public in South Africa.

At the outset some general observations are appropriate about the modular approach to the hobby. A distinction must be drawn between a home layout constructed on a modular basis but which is not designed to be portable and portable modules specifically designed to be part of a modular group. With the tendency for space to be at an ever increasing premium and also taking account of the possibility of having to move premises, there is much to be said for constructing a ‘permanent’ i.e. non portable layout on a modular or perhaps better described as a sectional basis.

This article is intended to describe a different approach – firstly the modules had to be portable but more importantly they had all to be built to a set of common standards. This enables each member’s module or set of modules to interface without problems to every other member of the group’s modules.

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