New Free-mo Logo

Utah Free-mo
Membership Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in Utah Free-mo. The Utah Free-mo membership policy is different from other clubs. It is structured to promote a particular modeling philosophy; that is, operations and modeling should seek to emulate the prototype. The Utah Free-mo membership policy is structured in such a way that this philosophy has a place within the standards for membership. Utah Free-mo seeks members who share in our philosophy. We welcome and encourage new members of all skill levels. Although each person imports different strengths to the hobby, we want our unity to arise from the shared objectives that this philosophy gives.

Membership is a tiered system, in which prospective members become guest operators, operators and members. We believe that a tiered membership serves both the perspective members and the association in various ways. First, it reinforces the policy that group membership is not only a function of module ownership. It is a function of an adherence to guidelines as they conjoin with a philosophy for prototypical modeling. In this way, a person who has bought modules from a club member hasn’t necessarily bought club membership. Second, given that membership requires standardized equipment, a DCC throttle, and a module, the tiered membership system gives an operator a sense of ownership within the group as one progresses to meet all the guidelines of full membership. Finally, a tiered system is inclusive. In a formal way, it allows Utah Free-mo to have people to investigate our project as it meanwhile maintains the integrity of the association.

There are general guidelines which apply to all levels of membership, including guest operators. These general guidelines are:

  1. Each person who operates on the layout must own Digitrax or Digitrax compatible throttle. In the case of guest operators, the guest’s host provides a throttle if the guest does not have his/her own. In the case of operators, the operator must make arrangements PRIOR to the show to use a throttle.
  2. All locomotives are required to be DCC equipped to operate on the layout. See “DCC Addresses” in the Policies and Procedures Section V part E for more information.
  3. The locomotives and rolling stock that are on the layout are not accessible to anyone operating on the layout. Locomotives and rolling stock shall only be operated by the owner or someone that the owner designates.
  4. All locomotives and rolling stock must be prototypic in nature and must be operated in the appropriate prototypic fashion.
  5. General guidelines regarding pooled equipment:
    1. Only upon the consent of the equipment’s owner may rolling stock be pooled.
    2. Once pooled, pooled equipment is not accessible to any operator within the club. Only those who contribute pooled equipment and those authorized by the “pool group” may operate pooled equipment.
    3. All rolling stock in pool service must have owner identification marks or car cards.

Guest Operator:

  1. Guest operator is a limited status reserved for people investigating the layout for the first or second time.
  2. Guest operators are supervised by a host member. The host member insures that the general guidelines are met by the guest operator in operation.
  3. Guest operators may operate their own equipments as long as it meets club standards. Guest operators or prospective members will be allowed to operate on a layout.


  1. Operator is a status reserved to prospective members who have the endorsement of a sponsoring member.
  2. Operator is a status intended for individuals who are actively progressing to full membership.
  3. Operators may run trains on the layout if on one of the following conditions:
    1. The operator assists in set-up and/or tear down phases.
    2. The operator contributes a module to the club.
  4. Operators espouse prototypical operating and modeling practices.
  5. Operators are expected to progress towards Member status; those who fail to do so within a year will loose group privileges.
  6. Sponsoring Members’ responsibilities vis-à-vis Operators:
    1. Serve as a mentor or coach to operators.
    2. Assert themselves as the primary contact and first resource for any questions and concerns.
    3. Instruct in DCC use, specifically Digitrax throttles and equipment.
    4. Instruct in operating procedures and protocols.
    5. Assist in the construction of the module and insure that it meets all standards before the first set-up date.

Operators attain member status upon the following:

  1. Members must meet the approval of group members. In this way, if there are operators who do not embrace the philosophy of Free-mo, or if an operator has an abrasive and authoritarian nature to the extent that his/her membership is a source of contention for other members, that operator will be excluded from Utah Free-mo.
  2. Members must conform to the club practices as established in the General, Guest Operator and Operator guidelines.

Furthermore, Members must:

  1. Be DCC proficient and demonstrate proficiency as an operator.
  2. Be familiar with basic operating practices.
  3. Build a module.
  4. Have an FRS radio.
  5. Have a Digitrax throttle.
  6. Have locomotives that are DCC equipped and appropriate rolling stock.

The Free-mo organization is characterized by its very non-traditional structure. There are no club officers or club dues. The organization owns no modules, radios, throttles and/or other equipment. Apropos, the membership guidelines for Utah Free-mo are also non-traditional. The guidelines shift membership policy away from one that is wholly contingent upon dues and module ownership. Instead, the guidelines articulate a membership policy that is informed by a philosophy. It is our philosophy that operations and modeling should seek to emulate the prototype. The guidelines are given to ensure that a higher standard of modeling is maintained, that modeling and operations are prototypic, and that these objectives do not result via an unfair burden upon of a few. Abuse of club guidelines may result in the exclusion of the offender, as detailed in the Policies and Procedures. Again, for those who enjoy prototypic modeling and operation, we welcome you. Utah Free-mo is an exciting innovation in model railroading, contribute with us.

Those members who fail to comply with the rules and standards of the group outlined above and in the group's Policies and Procedures may not be allowed to operate until their module and/or equipment is brought into compliance. Those who abuse this policy, or probationary members who do meet the requirements for full membership in a timely manner (generally within a year) may loose group privileges.

Revised - March 4, 2007

[Home] [Calendar] [Newsletter] [History] [Layout] [Shows] [Model Railroading 101] [Memberships] [FAQs] [Favorite Links]

© Utah Free-moMarch 2007