Oklahoma N-Rail

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Oklahoma N-Rail is a non-profit, N-scale model railroad club engaged in the education of its members and the general public in all aspects of model railroading and the railroad transportation industry. The focus of the club layout is to recreate railroad transportation and related industries as they are today, and were in days past, in Oklahoma, with an emphasis on the greater Oklahoma City area.

We have an NTRAK modular layout located at Plaza Mayor at the Crossroads and a travel layout that we take to various shows throughout the year. Our business meetings are held the second Thursday of each month at 7:00 PM at the mall.
We are also working on T-Trak modules. We are using the alternate spacing for the tracks.

Visitors are always welcome. For information about the club, please send e-mail to info@oknrail.org


CLUB OFFICERS

President - Bruce Alcock

Vice President - Lynn Thompson

Treasurer - Katherine Fowler

Secretary - James Harpin

Chief Engineer - Lee Williams

 

Club History


Oklahoma N-Rail was founded by Hank Ellett, a design engineer for Gulfstream Aircraft Corp. and a highly skilled modeler. Two of his prize winning Ntrak modules are featured in the Ntrak manual. The first meeting was held at Hank's house in Bethany OK in April 1984. Besides Hank, Richard Setzer, Frank Sonleitner, Gary Bartley and James Barker (from Lawton OK) were in attendance. Sam Siggins joined the club at a later date. The club's four corner modules, which had been constructed by Hank, were set up in his garage. During the first year, Hank constructed an 8 foot module, and other members worked on three four-foot modules forming the base of a 12 foot "T" having a six foot ear attached. The club managed to assemble a complete layout for the Oklahoma City train show (which was held in November) with help from the Wichita and Topeka NTRAK clubs. Because of the small membership, there were no elected officers. Hank served as club director. Dues were $2.00 per month to cover mailing fees. Members donated extra money at intervals to cover module construction costs.

In April 1985, Hank moved to a new job in San Antonio after Gulfstream closed its OKC operation. Several meetings were held at Sam Siggins' house until he had to resign from the club. At that time Richard Setzer volunteered to assume the leadership of the group and meetings were moved to his house in The Village. The club's modules were eventually set up in his garage. Dues were changed to $25 per year, $10 for junior members, and a $6.00 initiation fee. During the next few years, informal meetings were held at Richard's house and club modules were constructed in his garage. Most of the work was done by Richard and Frank, with occasional help from Gary Bartley, Charles Osborn, Mike Kinsinger, Mike Wahl, Rick Sadler and Donald and Dan Ballew. Modules were transported to shows in Richard's van. During this time and until 1991, Richard served as the de facto head of the club, and sent out monthly bulletins to the few members. Sometimes the bulletin publication schedule was very erratic.

In 1990, club membership rose to 10 members. As a result of contacts made by Richard, the club moved into a store in Hall Park Mall at 122nd street and May Avenue in April of 1991 and stayed there until May 1993 when the mall management closed down the south end of the building. The Section Gang HO club joined OK N-Rail in 1992, occupying the rear half of the store. The clubs occupied the store rent-free, the only expense being for utilities. The store was open to the public on Saturdays.

Also in 1991, the club was reorganized with bylaws and election of officers. Richard became president, Wendell Roberts, treasurer, and Gerald Morton, secretary. Gerald took over the preparation of the bulletin which became the Oklahoma "N"-Rail Newsletter. He continued in this role until his unfortunate death of a heart attack in October 1992, at which time Richard resumed sending out a bulletin.

In 1994, Richard and another member, Tim Rice, set up a small layout made up of club modules at the AMC Flea Market at 10th and Pennsylvania and ran trains on the weekends. Also in 1994, Bruce Alcock, an N-scaler who moved to Oklahoma from the east coast, joined the club and took over editor ship of the newsletter, making it The OK Waybill. About that time the club was reorganized again with new bylaws, elected officers and began holding regular monthly meetings with published minutes at Piggy's Barbeque restaurant in Bricktown. Since 1994, membership has fluctuated between 10 and 20 members and election of officers have been held regularly every January. Dues have been $30 per year (which includes membership in the national NTRAK organization), and $10 for associate members. When Piggy's closed its doors in 1996, the club moved its meetings to the Oklahoma Station Barbeque restaurant at 50th and Meridian.

In 1995 the club found a new home when it joined Section Gang and Oklahoma Rail Enthusiasts (ORE) HO clubs in a building in Del City. The club remained there until November 1995. The two HO clubs eventually formed COMRail. Also in 1995, the club became incorporated in the State of Oklahoma as a non-profit organization: Oklahoma N-Rail, Inc.

In June of 1996, the club moved into a rent-free large space at the AMC Flea Market and set up a 16 x 44 layout. Also in 1996, the club adopted a slight modification of Hank Ellett's original design as their official logo. In 1999, the club finished a 10 x 24 traveling layout, which allowed participation in various shows without having to take down the large AMC layout.

In 1995, under the direction of Bruce Alcock, the club began the sponsorship of an annual Southern Plains Ntrak convention, held in conjunction with the December Oklahoma City train show. In 1997 the club became a cosponsor of the Oklahoma City train show with CORC (Central Oklahoma Railfan Club - now ORM - Oklahoma Railroad Museum), ORE, and COMRail. The club also cosponsored the Rose State train shows with Henry Reed from March 1997 to September 1999.

In the past, the club has participated in many train shows and swap meets in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico, including also Topeka Railroad Days on Labor Day weekend, the Oklahoma State Fair, the Christmas season at 50 Penn Place, the fourth of July celebration at Piggy's in Bricktown, the OKC public library, the Warr Acres library, the Capitol Hill library, the Norman library train days, and the Norman Railroad depot.

Recently, in addition to participation in the OKC train show, the Rose State train shows, and the NEON's sponsored Rail-o-Rama shows in the Tulsa area, the club has operated a layout at the Denver N scale train show, the Garden City train show, the Payne County train show in Stillwater, and GATS shows in Tulsa, Wichita and Ft. Worth.

Oklahoma N-Rail has found a new home at Crossroads Mall in S.E. Oklahoma City (I-35 & I-240). We have had the use of an empty store since 2002 thanks in part to the help of our HO friends, the South Canadian Model Railroad club. The generosity of the mall management has given us an opportunity to educate the public as to the hobby of model railroading while having a place for members to run their trains. We have recruited several new members within that time as well.

Oklahoma N-Rail will be helping out The Oklahoma Railway Museum with their Day Out With Thomas in late Sept. & early Oct. of 2006. This is the 2nd time in 3 years that Thomas is coming to Oklahoma City and that our club as been asked to participate in this very successful event.

But with the success of any club or organization, so should some set backs. In 2003, we lost a very valuable and liked Associate member, H. K. Glenn. Then in June 2006, we suffered another loss. This time it was founding member of Oklahoma N-Rail, Richard Setzer. These 2 gentlemen were always there when you asked. They are missed a great deal but will always be remembered.





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