The French Broad e’N’pire N Scale Club is a model railroad organization consisting of members from Hendersonville, NC and the surrounding area who model in ‘N’ scale. Our club has been in existence since 1993 and meets in at 503 East 7th Ave near the historic depot in downtown Hendersonville. We have a 25’ x 32’ NTRAK layout and meet to work on or operate the layout every Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. We are open to the public each Saturday from 10-2 p.m. and during special events in the Historic Seventh Avenue District. While we are not a part of the Apple Valley Model Railroad Club in the depot, we have a special relationship with the club and participate in their annual Rail Days. We also host a model railroad train show, “Autumn Rails,” each October at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in nearby Fletcher.
Our club get its name from the Greenville, SC and French Broad River Railroad, an actual railroad chartered in 1855 to operate between Greenville and Asheville. The real railroad was never constructed, but lives in railroad layout as the French Broad River Railroad.
N Scale model railroading means the creation of miniature railroad models built to a proportion of 160:1. Put another way 160 N scale models of a 40’ boxcar set end-to-end would equal the length of one full size boxcar. It means not only railroad locomotives and railcars, but buildings, vehicles, people and even trees and other scenic features are scaled down to that proportion. The term ‘N’ stands for the “nine” which is the track gauge in millimeters. It is slightly more than half the size of HO scale and just over one fourth the size of O scale (like Lionel Trains).
NTRAK is an international standard for a system of individual sections, called “modules,” of an N scale model railroad layout designed to match all others built to those standards. The standards for height, length, width, track connections and electrical connections were created in California in the early 70’s and have spread all over the world. From a handful of modules in one club in San Diego, NTRAK has expended to over 4000 from Australia to Europe, all constructed so that any of them can be connected to any others to form a complete model railroad layout.