Guinness World Record worlds longest model train Wilmington NC

In  January of 2010 the members of Wilmington Model Railroad Club began planning to break the Guinness World Record for the worlds longest model train.  The record was previously held by a model railroad club in Germany.  Myself and an attorney from Wilmington were the official Guiness witnesses, required by Guiness to write, certify, and submit a detailed report of the attempt.  A local survey company used GPS to "officially" measure the length of the track we laid, measure the distance our model train traveled, and report those measurements to Guinness.  Students from the UNC Wilmington Media Department were present to report and video the attempt, as was WECT news.  Overall, we had about 60 volunteers to assist with laying track, crowd control, maintenance, souvenir sales, and other support functions.  The Mayor of Wilmington was present to cheer us on, and entertainment was provided by a local bluegrass band.

We began preparations for our world record attempt in February 2011.  This required many nights of testing and trial-and-error simulations.
 Problems arose that we had to remedy, such as once our train got about 20 feet long, the cars would derail around curves due to the weight of the train.  We remedied that by putting lead weights in each of the cars to make them heavy enough to stay on the rail.  During simulations, our train would aslo break apart from the weight of itself once it got to about 200 cars long.  So we had to modify the couplers on each of our 1,563 train cars so they wouldn't pull out from the weight of the train itself.   Another problem that arose was that there was not a train power controller manufactured that put out enough amperage to power 35 HO scale locomotives.  So we had to have a power supply specially modified so that it could provide enough power for 34 Bowser HO scale locomotives under load.

The terms stipulated by Guinness were that our attempt to break the standing world record had to be done on Saturday, April 23rd only.  Our train had to move a distance of over 700 feet on its own power unassisted.  The train, once started, could not stop and had to remain in one piece (all the cars connected).  We were permitted by Guinness to make as many attempts as we wanted that day up until midnight.

For the world record attempt, our club rented the Wilmington Convention Center, and we spent three days laying over 1,500 linear feet of HO scale model railroad track in the form of two ovals.  We nailed the track to OSB to stabilize and level it.

On Saturday, April 23rd, we began at 8:00 am and the doors opened to the public at 10am.  We made three attempts that day.  The first attempt some of the train cars derailed.  The second attempt one of the couplers came loose and the train broke apart.  On the third attempt, our train moved the required distance and crossed the finish line at 3:10 pm.


Our world record still stands today.

Guiness World Record worlds longest model train









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