Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't know how to build a module?
NGM has many experienced carpenters and builders who may assist you in building your own module or may build a module for you at a reasonable cost. Just ask.
Am I required to own a module?
Most of the club members own one or more modules that are available to display at a show or exhibit. While it is strongly recommended, it is not a requirement of membership. We encourage all NGM members to try their hand at building their own module. The more variety we have at a show, the better experience for the visitors.
What's the difference between a modular and a sectional layout?
Sectional and modular layouts are both portable. Sectional layouts are designed to be assembled the same way every time. They are similar to permanent layouts in having a consistent scenic theme and time era but are designed to be easily disassembled, transported and set up for public display. Modular layouts consist of discreet, stand alone dioramic sections (modules) that may be assembled in almost any configuration with other modules following the same construction standard.
I noticed there is range of scenery themes and time eras on the NGM layout. Why is that?
Unlike sectional layouts or home layouts, modular layouts allow for a wide variety of scenery styles and time eras. This is intentional. While it may seem jarring to a first time visitor to see a forested mountain scene from the 1930's connect immediately to a modern industrial complex, this diversity adds to the fun and is very characteristic of modular model railroading.
I have some locomotives I'd like to run during an NGM show. Do they need to have DCC decoders installed in order for me to run them?
Operating on the NGM layout during a show or exhibit is much easier if your locomotives are equipped with DCC decoders. Locomotives without decoders installed are considered to operate in 'analog' mode. The DCC system allows for the operation of one analog locomotive at a time. All operators wishing to run in analog mode need to share time but it is certainly possible.
I'm new to model railroading and on a tight budget. As far as DCC train control goes, what's the minimum I need to have to run trains on an NGM layout?
As mentioned already (see above), there is no requirement to install DCC decoders in your engines for them to operate on the layout. Also, there are club owned throttles usually available to borrow and most of the members have throttles and may be willing to lend them. A new operator can be quite successful in running trains without decoders or throttles, though it is certainly advantageous to have your own throttle and decoder equipped engines.
How would I be able to set up and operate my own train on an NGM display layout?
First, become a member of NGM (see the Membership section). All current NGM members are entitled to operate their own trains on any NGM display layout under the direction of the Layout Coordinator or Dispatcher on duty. This privilege of membership also carries the responsibility of assisting the club to set up and break down the display as needed.
Are the NGM specifications compliant with the NMRA standards?
Not completely. The NMRA specifications for HO scale modules formed the foundation of the NGM specifications. NGM expanded on these specifications to allow for a more robust track power bus as well as a third, optional main track. An NMRA conforming module will operate well in an NGM layout provided accommodation is made for supplying track power. The double track setbacks and the height from the floor allow for some degree of 'backward compatibility' to the NMRA specification.