THE HISTORY OF THE NEAR SIGHTED NARROW GAUGERS
The Near Sighted Narrow Gaugers Club was formed in the late 1980’s when several members of the South Suburban Division, Rocky Mountain Region of the National Model Railroad Association, decided they wanted to have more contact with narrow gauge modelers, particularly modelers with a central interest in HOn3. The initial group of three quickly grew to four, then, five, six and seven. The club now numbers over twenty-five active members.
Initially members rotated to work on each other’s home layouts. In 1999 club members decided to build a portable layout to be displayed at the 2003 National Narrow Gauge Convention (NNGC) in Denver. It was designed as a sectional layout where all sections connected in only one way, and trains ran in a circuitous route across the sections. This was a useful beginning, and the club demonstrated excellent modeling skills on each of the sections. One of the challenges; however, was transporting the large sections to each train show we attended. Although the club produced a portable layout that showcased HOn3 modeling, while operating using digital command control (DCC), the layout wasn’t all that much different from layouts exhibited by other clubs.
In 2007 the original layout was put aside and the idea of building a Free-mo style layout was explored as an opportunity to demonstrate to the viewing public just what could be done with HOn3. The intent was to operate as a true railroad, including mountain scenery depicting the grandeur of the Colorado Rockies and model prototype scenes, to have the layout be highly and correctly detailed and to make use of new and innovative ideas in its construction.
From mid-2008, several club members have been constructing modules to depict prototypical and freelanced scenes of the late 1800s to the end of narrow gauge operations. Scenes presently in progressive stages of completion include: Animas Forks, Rico, the Bilk Trestle on the Rio Grande Southern, Idaho Springs and the Stanley Mine complex in Clear Creek Canyon, Red Mountain town, East Mancos, Waterton Canyon wye, Ophir Loop, Cimarron, Curtain and several freelanced scenes. Focus has expanded into broader interests including construction of engines and rolling stock, exploring railroad history plus doing presentations and writing articles about procedures developed over the years by club members. A few members of the club are in various stages of construction of their own home layouts as well.
Our stated purpose continues to be to have fun, to showcase HOn3 model railroading to the public and other model railroaders, to demonstrate what is possible in this branch of the hobby, and to encourage others to participate with us in this engaging hobby. If interested in joining us, please click on the contact link below and send us an email.