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Utah Free-mo at the 2005 Hostler's Festival

Held March 4th - 6th, 2005 in the Ogden Union Station.

Utah Free-Mo participated in the Hostlerís Festival, the third show of the season, March 4-6. The group has been participating in this annual show for the past four years. The show, held in the historic Union Station in Ogden is one of the largest shows in the region and attracts vendors from around the region and large crowds. Layout space has always been at a premium at the Festival, this year was no exception. Despite the congestion, the station accidentally scheduled a wedding reception the same weekend as the show. Utah Free-Mo was allowed, or forced, depending on your perspective, to move out of an out of the way room on the second floor to a one of the main rooms on the first floor. While this placed the layout in a much more prominent location, the space available to the group was significantly reduced.

The run chief and planners made very effective use of the space available. New corner modules allowed the layout to be folded back on it self. Despite several new corners being built over the past year the layout needed an additional 90 degrees of curvature. Adam Eastman quickly built a new mini-mo corner with a 42 inch radius the week before the show to fill the gap. Because of a scheduling conflict Mike Nelson was unable to attend the show with his Lavo Loop. To anchor the layout the legacy Moore shops and the 8 inch mini-mo stub yard were used. The layout operated very well in this configuration. The layout featured several passing sidings and areas to switch industries. A new member, Dave Winkler, who joined after seeing the layout in November at Wasatch Rails, participated in the layout with a new module.

The groupís prolific module builder, Mike Hansen, had three new 3 foot modules at the show. Mike sold his other modules to another group member after the show in January to make room at home for his real desire, narrow gauge modules. Mikeís current project is to interface a narrow gauge branchline. Mike has built the first segment a set of three modules with a dual gauge interchange yard. Off the end of the yard a narrow gauge line can continue. Mike has proposed following the Free-Mo branchline standards, replacing the standard gauge rail for narrow gauge. Mikeís biggest challenge in constructing these modules was making the Shinohara dual turnouts DCC friendly. Mikeís modules were placed on the end of the layout and powered by its own booster while they were tested at the show. We did encounter one small problem with Mikeís modules. While cleaning errant ballast glue, Mike had oiled the throwbars on his turnouts which caused a short between the points. After cleaning the oil the modules worked well.

Operationally the remainder of the layout functioned well during the show. Once again we followed the same DCC power scheme that was used in November and in January. We followed a specific plan while setting up the layout to eliminate timely troubleshooting of power problems in the layout. First, the modules were checked for shorts before the bridge rails were connected. The command station and boosters were then set up using a separate Loconet bus. The Loconet through the modules was also connected at the same time. Finally, the layout was powered by connecting the modules to the boosters. The Jones plugs on each module were connected one at a time moving sequentially away from the booster. No problems were encountered and the DCC plugged in and worked flawlessly. But, had a problem arisen it would have been much easier to troubleshoot the problem following this plan.

Several people expressed interest in the Free-Mo concept and in building modules. After the success of these three shows we look forward to a few additional setups over the summer and more work on modules in preparation for our next big show, Wasatch Rails í05.

The Layout

The Pictures

Green and white SD40-2, BN 7935, passes the signal case as it leaves West Faust. Greg Mac Photo.

Super Fleet ATSF #635 leads a double stack train passes the Old East Yard Diesel Shops. Greg Mac Photo.

Utah Railway 2003 idles away at Spansish Fork. Greg Mac Photo.

Steam Engine #102 eases a local freight over the Thompson Creek bridge. Greg Mac Photo.

BN7935 enters East Faust pulling grain extra one. Sterling Moore Photo.

A few moments later, BN7935 holds the main track as ATSF 653 leads a stack train into the siding. Sterling Moore Photo.

Norfolk Southern 9485 slows to take the siding at West Faust. Jim Moore Photo.

Within a few minutes NS 9485 rounds the bend at Faust as it rolls through the siding. Sterling Moore Photo.

Looking west across Dave Spritke's Module set, Spanish Fork. Dave Spritke Photo.

A close up shot of the yard and dump track at Jake's Coal. Dave Spriktke Photo

Mike Hansen works to clean the track on his module.

Jim Moores checks the engine on his train at the East Shops.

Ted York plugs in his throttle as his train passes his module set.

Sterling Moore makes up a local at Smokey Point Yard.

Bill Schlotthauer prepared to depart Smokey Point Yard with his local train to work a few industries along the railroad.

"Where did that car go?" Yardmaster Russ Ridgeway tries to keep track of it all at Smokey Point. Six photos by Mike Teasdale

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© Utah Free-MOJune 30, 2005