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Wasatch Rails '05

Held November 4th - 6th, 2005 in the Grand Building at the Utah Fair Park in Salt Lake City, Utah.

During the first weekend of November Utah Free-mo returned to the Utah Fair Park for its fourth appearance at the annual Wasatch Rails Show. The show marked two key milestones as the group assembled its largest layout to date, and it incorporated modules from another Free-mo group into its layout for the first time. Putting together the large layout proved to be time consuming and at times challenging. For their efforts, the group members were rewarded with an enjoyable weekend.

Setup began on Thursday afternoon. Most module owners brought their modules to setup on Thursday. Within a few hours the modules were unloaded an up on their legs and in a rough position. Mike Nelson and Ted York began repairing the trackwork on Lavo loop while others took advantage of some extra time to touch up scenery and fascia paint.

The remaining modules that arrived on Friday were placed on the branchline. Group members arrived Friday morning and began to level and clamp the layout working from the Loop outward to the rest of the layout. Because it seemed that most of the work had been done, a slow pace crept into the work and it took longer than expected. As the day progressed, this put the group behind schedule as Jim Moore began hooking up the DCC. Several members had forgotten or misplaced their Loconet cables adding considerable work and time to Jimís task.

The group had also held off placing bridge rails, as Mike and Jim wanted to perform a quick continuity check on all modules to insure there were no short circuits in any of the modules. This put the group further behind schedule. The group rushed to get the layout operational by the show opening at 5:00. While the layout was functional by the deadline, trains and details still needed to be placed on the layout. Things had settled down by with an hour and everyone happily greeted Chris Palomarez who had flown up for the event. Mike Nelson had previously picked up Chrisís module set Wyeth while on a business trip to California.

The layout operated very well. Jim divided the layout into six power districts, each run off a DB150. He used a single DCS 100 which he did not use to power the layout. Additionally, the dual gauge modules on the branchline were kept electrically separate from the layout and hooked to its own DCS100. Two UR91s were also hooked into the layout. Despite having two radio receivers, there were a few mysterious dead spots where operators consistently lost the radio signal. Mike and Jim attributed this phenomenon to the buildings extensive steel structure. The only other difficult was not having enough operators to fully man the layout. The large layout seemed to swallow up crews and trains giving the appearance that trains were not running.

Tear down Sunday afternoon came too quickly for most. But as members packed up their trains and modules, they all talked about plans for Wasatch Rails Ď06. The venue continues to offer a large open space for a Free-mo layout and the Utah Free-mo group has a large core layout that will insure that this remains a big Free-mo event. With the positive feedback from Chris P. we are looking forward to others from outside Utah joining us for our next big show.

The Layout

The Pictures

An overview of most of the layout from Spanish Fork to Smokey Point Yard.

Burt A. runs his local through Spanish Fork in this overview showing the wye and Branchline to Sugar City.

Sage and Lavo finish off the layout.

Sterling's pair BN SD40-2s power a long cut of grain hoppers around the curve at Faust.

Photos © by Chris Palomarez, 2005. Used with permission. Visit Chris's pbase galleries for more photos from the show.

Utah Free-mo group members gather at the conclusion of the show. Front Row: Jim Moore, Ted York, Bill Schlotthauer. Back Row: Mike Hansen, Adam Eastman, Burt Ankrom, Dave Spritke, Dave Winkler, Mike Nelson, Sterling Moore, Greg Mac.

UP 6839 trundles down the branchline with a string of hoppers for the elevator at Knight Jct.

UP caboose 2457 brings up the rear of the grain train.

UP 5799 sits at the head of is train on the siding at Faust wainting for a west-bound to pass.

Photo by Greg Mac.

A rarely photographed event, Mike Nelson takes the throttle of a train running over the layout. Jim Moore Photo.

An overview shot of the industrial customers surronding the aging Spanish Fork Depot.

Mike Hansen's ground breaking dual gauge interchange, Sugar City.

Dave Winkler's module IFA (Intermountain Farmer's Association) looking more complete.

Photo by Jim Moore and Adam Eastman.

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© Utah Free-MOFebruary 28, 2006