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Club History

September 1990 Four National Capital Division Toy Train Operating Society members Joe Pennell, Pat Pennell, Tom Davis, and Pete Vollmer were setting up modules with end u-turns at local T.T.O.S. meets in Annapolis. They attracted the attention of Bill Buschmeier who promised to construct four corners and join them at the December 1990 T.T.O.S. show.

December 1990 The above five members construct their first two-line rectangular layout for public view.

Spring 1991 Jim Jamison starts a weekly train club in the Manassas, Virginia area. The club includes the T.T.O.S. members who exhibited in December, 1990. The club agrees to construct portable modules based on the Tinplate Tracker standards and call themselves the National Capital Tinplate Trackers.

December 1991 The club makes its first public appearance independent of the T.T.O.S. at the annual Fairfax Station Railroad Museum train show.

November 1992 The club’s public appearances expand with their first show at the Rockville Lions Club annual train show.

October 1993 The club appears at the Manassas Car Show and creates such an impression that the city starts a railroad festival the following year.

November 1993 The club appears at a Greenberg Train Show.

December 1993 The club appears at the Smithsonian Institution’s  Museum of American History.

June 1994 The club makes its first appearance at the Fairfax County Fair which draws over 100,000 visitors in three days.

June 1994 O Gauge Railroading magazine features an article about the National Capital Tinplate Trackers and their Smithsonian exhibit in their June 1994 issue.

December 1994 The club sets up a layout of Large Scale gauge trains around the National Christmas Tree at the Ellipse behind the White House. Over 500,000 visitors attend the exhibit over three weeks. The National Christmas Tree and the trains are turned on by President Bill Clinton in a ceremony televised nationwide.

December 1994 The National Christmas Tree Railroad, a club sibling, appears with Willard Scott on the Today show the morning following the tree lighting ceremony.

January 1995 The club drops the designation “Tinplate” from its name and now is officially known as the National Capital Trackers.

October 1996 A Tracker club member, Frank Hale, debuts his “live fish” car which is an immediate crowd pleaser. He also exhibited his live critter car containing crickets.

October 1997 The Trackers appear at the first Great American Train Show show held in the Washington D.C. area

April 1999 The Trackers exhibit for the first time at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

November 1999 The Trackers launch their website.

December 1999 The club adopts Lionel’s Command Control handheld remote system.

December 2000 The Trackers celebrate their tenth anniversary.

August 2007 The Trackers are incorporated.

August 2007 The Trackers exhibit for the first time at the National Museum of the Marine Corp. in Quantico, Virginia.

October 2007 The Trackers are the first club invited to exhibit at the TCA Eastern Division’s York train meet.

January 2010 The Trackers exhibit their largest layout ever constructed at the World's Greatest Hobby show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia.

December 2010 The Trackers celebrate their twentieth anniversary.

November 2012 Layout modules are expanded to include a third track.

January 2018 The Trackers introduce wi-fi so members can run trains using aps on cell phones and tablets.

February 2020 The Trackers exhibit a large, colorful crossover layout at the World's Greatest Hobby show at the Dulles Expo Center.  

October 2022 The Trackers again exhibit at the TCA Eastern Division’s York train meet. At the York show, one of the club's proudest modules, a detailed replica of the famous Hell Gate Bridge created by member John Zampino, is retired.

February 2024 An all-new website is launched.

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