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Modular Railroading

A brief History

Frank E. Qualls


Back in the early 1980ís when the late Albert Bailey of Pasadena, CA wrote the Tinplate Trackers Manual, he documented the concepts of modular railroading as being started by N scale model train hobbyist. The exact time when these hobbyists developed this concept is unclear. However, the Tinplate Trackers Manual lists the first public showing of their O gauge modules at a Cal-Stewart Train Meet in the fall of 1985. Over the years, the Tinplate Trackers module standards began gaining acceptance by hobbyists who adopted the concepts and moved them eastward as a viable way to operate trains on a large layout.

In 1986, the first eastern group to organize was the Delaware Valley Tinplate Trackers. Their organization spawned the modular railroading movement on the East Coast that later evolved into what is known today as HiRail Modular Railroading. The following two pioneers will share their first hand knowledge and early involvement in the conceptual migration of Modular Railroading to the East Coast.