2022 Recap

2022 was a good year for our club. We set up our Ntrak layout at a train show for the first time in a couple years and set up our growing T-Trak layout at 2 shows and one club-only event.

At the beginning of 2022 we stopped offering Zoom as a meeting participation option. Our current meeting location at the airport isn’t set up in a way that facilitates good interaction with Zoom participants. If you’re interested in attending one of our meetings, please contact us via our email address posted on this website.

In May we set up our Ntrak layout at the new Port Huron (area) train show, which was held in the old Sears building at Birchwood Mall in Fort Gratiot. Photos of the layout provided by Thomas Grambau (Jr.).

In August, we held our first club-only event in which club members who wanted to participate split the cost to rent a hall to set up our T-Trak layout in and spend a day running trains and socializing with other club members. To keep costs down we rented a spacious building way out in the country and bought pizza from a nearby gas station/general store that’s had a reputation for making good pizza for years (McDonald’s is the closest fast food option to this place, but it’s about 10 miles away). This was our first club-only event and it went quite well.

Our busy months this year were in the fall. We did shows in Mount Clemens and Shelby Township on consecutive weekends.

Our first show was the growing Mt. Clemens train show, on 24 September. We had a small group, but still had a lot of fun.

On 1 October we participated in the Gratiot Valley train show. We had a larger group of members available and thus more modules. One of our members set up and printed business cards for the group with our club name and contact information to hand out, especially to prospective new club members, which were a big hit.

One item to note about the Gratiot Valley show was that we had to supply our own tables. Which allowed us to get creative with our layout design for the show. We set up two independent loops connected at a right angle via the outside loop. As you can see in the photos, the floor beneath the layout isn’t the typical train show venue floor, which made standing around the layout all day a little easier on the knees.

For the most part, we’re finding that the T-Trak modules make more sense for single day events and the Ntrak modules make more sense for weekend events. Unfortunately we really don’t have many weekend events left in our area, so our T-Trak modules are getting more use the our Ntrak modules.

As a club we’re looking forward to 2023. We currently have a weekend event planned for our Ntrak layout and hope to schedule several additional single day events through the year for our T-Trak layout.

If you have an event coming up (within 1.5 hours drive time of Port Huron, Michigan) and would like to include a model railroad, please contact us at bluewaterntrak@gmail.com.


New Meeting Location

If you keep track of our club, you know that we met at the Marysville Library for the past couple years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the library initially shut down, then gradually resumed services, but has not notified us that their meeting rooms are available again.

Last summer (summer 2020) we met in the Marysville Park. The first park meeting was in June, and was cold and windy. The July meeting was much warmer, and we attempted to hold a couple of special T-Trak specific meets, under the theme of Tuesday Night T-TRAK in August (participation was an issue as our club isn’t exactly rolling in T-TRAK modules…yet). Our last outdoor meeting was in October and we made plans to meet again in person in November at a new, indoor, location. The November meeting didn’t go off as planned, and we switched our monthly meetings to Zoom starting with the November meeting. Zoom allowed us to connect with members we hadn’t seen in several months, and until the border reopens completely, we are working to include Zoom as part of our regular meeting. Our July 2021 meeting was the first successful attempt to include Zoom as part of the regular in-person meeting.

Starting with our June 2021 meeting, we began meeting in the Friends Of The Airport building at the St. Clair County International Airport. The Friends building has plenty of space, comfortable seating and room to set up T-TRAK on a monthly basis. It also has restrooms, food and drink vending options and internet access. And we can stay as long as we want to (within reason).

If you’re interested in attending our meetings, but aren’t able to attend in person, please contact us at bluewaterntrak@gmail.com and ask to be added to our monthly meeting reminder email list.

Marine City, September 21-22, 2019

On the weekend of 21-22 September 2020, our T-Trak group did the Marine City Heritage Days event in Marine City, Michigan. In the past this has been an Ntrak event for our club, but the location we had set up in in the past was no longer available and T-Trak worked much better in the space that was available.

Dan B, our T-Trak guru, coordinated the layout and supplied all of the modules and the control system used for the event. Dan has been patiently coaxing the club into T-Trak, and this was one of the first club events where we used T-Trak instead of Ntrak.

A general overview of the staging/yard modules looking toward the small loop on one end of the layout.
Looking along the long edge of the layout.
Dan’s Raspberry Pi/Digitrax control system.

Not only did the layout run well all weekend, it sold several of us on the merits of T-Trak. Outside of leveling each module, we were up and running much quicker than any of the years we did Ntrak at this event.

Marine City, Michigan; September 16-17, 2018

Our most recent layout setup was September 16 & 17, 2018, in Marine City, Michigan, during the Heritage Days Festival. We had 16 modules from at least 5 different members.

Our club has changed quite a bit through the years. While we have lost several members to things like retirement, relocation and death, we’ve also picked up new members to replace those who have moved on (voluntarily and not so much).

New members typically operate with us for a show or several, then get the itch to acquire their own module(s). Our members range in age from very young to very old, and lots of our members are somewhere in between.

Modules displayed by our members vary in size and complexity, but we do require members to build their modules to Ntrak specifications, which can be found in the Ntrak manual, published by the Ntrak organization (see http://www.ntrak.org for more information).

Members are expected to make sure their module is operational prior to showing up to a meet.


At the Marine City meet, we had a variety of modules on display. Some members displayed modules they built themselves, while other members displayed modules they had purchased from former members and had refurbished to some extent to make them their own.

IMG_20170917_140724019-01Above is a 4′ corner built by one of our members for a past Marine City meet. It’s not considered to be complete by its owner, who still isn’t sure what he wants to so with it.


This powerplant scene very much resembles a now demolished DTE coal fired electric plant in Marysville, Michigan.



One of our members takes great joy in the reliable operation of a unit covered hopper train. In this image, that train is stretched across a four unit set of modules that includes a coal mine, power plant, asphalt plant and shopping center. An isolated siding stretches the length of the four modules as well, which comes in handy with multiple operators on the layout.

Marine City, Michigan; 20 September 2015

This past weekend was a first for our group. It was the first of (we hope) many layout setups at the Marine City Heritage Days Festival, an event held to raise awareness and money to restore the old city hall in downtown Marine City. Although we did set up at this event last year, this was the first year we were in the building’s garage, which was much less cramped than the interior room we occupied last year. Coincidentally, it was much easier to set up and take down the layout in the garage than in the space we occupied last year.

Unfortunately, we were too busy having fun and running trains this year to get many photos, but here are a couple shots one of our members snapped during the days’ runs.

A partial overview of the layout. Our duck under bridge module was located along the long edge of the layout, allowing for semi-camouflaged entry/exit from the center area. With 2 4′ corners on this side and 10′ of modules in between, we were able to fit in one member’s four unit set of 4′ modules with a pair of 3′ corners that have seen better days. We hope to move to all 4′ corners in the near future in our setups.

At this angle, it’s difficult to see the bridge module lacks legs! In this shot, a rather long unit train of covered hoppers traverses the bridge module and several other modules as it makes its way around the layout.