An Interview with Fay Chin, T-TRAK Model Train Talent
Published: 2017-03-29 - By: Jenna
Last updated on: 2021-07-23
Last updated on: 2021-07-23
T-TRAK module, by Fay Chin, a champion of the T-TRAK Model Railroad community.
Last week's blog What Does a T-Trak Train Module Look Like? mentioned Fay Chin, a true talent in the world of n-scale model railroading.
Mr. Chin has wholeheartedly embraced mini modules or T-TRAK modules, which use a work space only a bit bigger than a sheet of loose leaf paper. (A 'standard' single, straight T-TRAK module measures 12-1/8" long X 8-1/4" deep / wide.)
You can see his modules at local train shows in New England throughout the year. And I caught up with Mr. Chin at the Greenberg Great Train & Toy Show this weekend, and he was kind enough to chat with me about model railroading and T-TRAK.
TroveStar: How long have you been modeling trains?
Fay Chin: I have been modeling trains since the late 60s when N-Scale trains came out. I still have some of my Arnold Rapido engines, switches and tracks.
TS: How did you get involved in this hobby?
Chin: As a child, I knew I wanted to be an engineer in the technical field. I was always building something. Model trains is the perfect hobby.
TS: What attracted you to T-TRAK?
Chin: I have been exhibiting and promoting trains at shows since the mid 70s.
About 30 years ago in 1986 at the NMRA National convention in Boston, I had the pleasure of meeting Lee Monaco-FitzGerald, the woman who was instrumental in popularizing T-TRAK (which was developed in Japan) in the U.S.
And then, when I went down to Florida on a long-term work assignment in 2000, T-TRAK was the ideal format to have a complete layout for shows. The T-TRAK was designed for tables without the need for layout legs, modules clamps, wiring, track connectors, or track cutting. The T-TRAK modules are light weight, easily stored, and transportable (back to Massachusetts in 2014).
in February 2017 at the Scottish Rite Museum.
illustrates just how easy it is to transport T-TRAK modules.
This cart has close to two dozen modules on it!
TS: What advice would you give to anyone getting started in T-TRAK?
Chin: I encourage people to get involved and participate in a T-TRAK layout show, including N-TRAK.
TS: Do you belong to a model train club devoted to T-TRAK?
Chin: I am promoting the T-TRAK concept as a subgroup of the Northeast NTRAK club. A good web community is: T-Trak Model Railroading: Scenery Modules and the People Who Build Them. which lists clubs globally.
TS: How long have you been with Northeast NTRAK?
Chin: In 1976, I posted a flyer in a local hobby store looking for members to start a model train club. Many people contacted me with great enthusiasm. After several discussions, we decided N-TRAK was the most appealing. At one meeting, I proposed the Northeast N-Trak club name, which was adopted.
TS: Where do you see T-TRAK in the future?
Chin: The T-TRAK table top modular layout concept will continue to grow. The T-TRAK concept now has expanded to Z, HO. and O scale.
TS: When is your next show?
Chin: You can see my modules and those of the NE N-TRAK club at the Hooksett Lions Club Train Show, Hooksett, NH, April 23, 2017.