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Train Show Pictures

Pictures from 13 TH Annual OT&W; Model Railroad Show

Held January 23rd - 24th, 2004 at the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point.

Despite some concerns about show planning and a change of venue, Utah Free-Mo had a successful showing at the recent Ophir Tintic & Western (OT&W;) Model Railroad Club's Thirteenth Annual Train Show, held January 23-24. The show drew a large crowd and both the group participants and the public seemed to enjoy the show. At the show, the group was able to test a couple of systems for producing paper work to help with switching. The versatility of the Free-Mo concept was also proven by some last minute layout changes.

Show participants were allowed into the building to start setting up at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. Group member Adam Eastman was the first one to arrive at the venue. Initially, there was some confusion as the show organizers had the group planned for an area the layout would not fit. However, they quickly reassessed the situation, and with some input for the group were able to shifted things around. The layout was setup against the stage area of the main floor. This arrangement worked out well as we only needed to rope off one side of the layout. Further, people could also view the layout from the stage, so there were not as many complaints from parents with kids that the layout was to high. There was also a nice work area at both ends where the stage tapered back away from the layout, and some chairs on the stage that made things pretty nice.

This year's show was held at a new venue, shifting from the south end to the north end of Utah Valley. Some Utah Free-Mo members were concerned that the show would not be well attended. However, the numbers indicate that the change was a positive one as the show set a new record for attendance, and revenues. Attendance was high both Friday night and throughout the day Saturday.

After the rough start Friday morning, the setup progressed smoothly. Most of the group members arrived around 10:00. The modules were quickly unloaded and on their legs. The layout was completely set up and running smoothly, with the skirting and other details on the layout by 2:00 pm. This left three hours for members to shop and get ready for the public at 5:00.

Because of his work schedule, group member Mike Nelson was not able to attend the show with his balloon loop. The layout functioned well however, as the plans called for Ted York's module, Faust, with it's long passing siding to be at the end of the layout. This allowed trains to run in an out and back fashion, originating at Smokey Point Yard and making a run to Faust. In between Faust and Smokey point there were lots of opportunities for switching.

To help get everyone involved with switching this show was planned to serve as a test bed for a couple of different systems of paper work, Car Card and Switch Lists. Friday evening we tried working with the car cards. These worked well, but not everyone had prepared them ahead of time. Another disadvantage was that there were no pockets on the side of the modules to keep the cards sorted and organized.

Saturday morning we tried using switch lists. Group member Ted York brought a pad of lists modeled after an actual Santa Fe switch list used in the 1950's. These worked really well. A clerk was assigned to make up the lists. Because of the limited siding length, locals were kept to 5 cars. Initially, the clerk either selected industries needing cars using his own imagination. Later in the day industries were selected randomly using dice. A numbered industry table was created with those industries needing more cars placed at the more probable numbers (i.e. 6,7,8) cards.

This same system had been used to select waybills to place in the car cards. It seems the difference was just a matter of the type of paperwork you carried around. It appears that in the long run car cards would be better because in theory there would not be as much writing. But the advantages of the switch lists over car cards for our portable layout seem to be the following. Operators only had to worry about one piece of paper. A place to store the car cards on the modules is not needed. Cards do not have to be filled out ahead of time. The switch lists are also more prototypical, as they mimic the paperwork that the real railroads used. It the future we plan to continue to use the switch lists.

After the switch list was written up the yardmaster assembled the train and a local crew was called. Several different group members ran a local train to do switching. Some jobs ended up being more complicated that others, but everyone seemed to have fun. Through trains were operated to help keep the engineers on the locals honest. Because of the size of the layout radios were not used. Meets were arranged with the crews on the line as needed. While this may not have been the most prototypical operating style, it worked well for this setup.

Another experiment at this show was running a slide presentation for the public. Adam Eastman had his laptop running a version of his Free-Mo Slide Show, available in the files section of the Free-Mo Yahoo Group. While it worked well, there were few problems that were noticed. The most noticeable problem was the lack of narration. Even with the expanded descriptions, there was still information missing that a live presenter would add. Another problem was that the slide show is geared toward an audience of experienced model railroaders. As this was a public show the presentation left many questions unanswered. To help solve this problem, Adam has started reworking the slide show for a general public audience, and adding narration. He is also considering converting the finished show to either VHS or DVD to make it easier to see than on the screen of his laptop.

The layout ran well for us. There were a few problems with track gauge and some problems with insulated joiners, but we got these smoothed out. We did have a few problems and glitches with the DCC, but most we operator errors. One of the most common issues was programming. To help solve this problem a separate command station will be used for programming locomotives that is not tied into the same Loconet for the layout.

The Layout

The Pictures

Things are just getting started at the Show Barn. We have a good view of the North end of the room. The Hostler's Model RR Club sets up and HO legacy layout in the background. Utah Free-Mo members help keep things going with their layout. Clockwise from bottom left, Mike Hansen, Kent Hunt, Dave Vickers, Ted York (back to camera), and Bill Schlotthauer.

Russ Ridgeway (L) and Ted York guide the tail of Smokey Point Yard onto its interlocking legs as Bill S. steadies the end of the module.

Working at the other end of Smokey Point, Russ tightens a bolt under the module as Bill stands by. Jim Moore and Mike Hansen (not visable) work on bridge rails at the opposite end of the yard.

Russ (L) and Mike Hansen work on bridge rails as Dave Schen and Bob Cannon of the Hostler's discuss their upcoming show with Bill.

The layout is up, bridge rails in place, DCC tested, ropes and skirting in place. It's time for the trains. Al Schmuhl, Jim, and Dave Nusink "stock the pond" with rollingstock. In the background, the OT&W; N scale layout is still only partly on its legs with about two hours of setup time remaining.

Russ Ridgeway starts to switch Smokey Point Yard.

Looking down on Carson Al (center) and Mike talk with Jim (left corner) about switching operations on the layout.

A cut of Belmont Candy Company cars sit on the siding at Carson, waiting for a load of sugar as Mike Lewis, an expert conductor and dispatcher with the Heber Valley Railroad, tries his hand at the small stuff, recreating his own miniature version of a "Lacey Switch Fest" on the Free-Mo layout. All agree that it much more fun with out Lacey. It looks like we have hooked another new Free-Mo member.

Dave Vickers demonstrates DCC as he switches the yard lead behind the diesel shop at Smokey Point.

A BNSF autorack train hustles past the elevator at Knight Jct as pigs munch the dry grass in the nearby field.

Delivery trucks wait outside of the front Belmont Candy Company which decorates Mike Hansen's new module, "Bend."

A couple of box cars are being loaded at Belmont Candy in this view of the backside of the building.

Mike Hansen's new module. This module allows the end of the branch to be used as a part of the mainline. Mike built this module so that he could bring the sugar factory without bringing the entire set of branchline modules to a show.

The tail at the west end of Smokey Point Yard.

The east end of Sage Creek with the freight house and the storage tracks of Inland Cement visable.

The depot, water tank, and team tracks and a portion of inland cement are visable in this shot of the west end of Sage Creek .

Photos by Adam Eastman

It was still early on yet and trains are still appearing on the railroad when Jim took this grab shot of the new diesel shop at Smokey Point.

The "infamous" WP 306, a BLI 2-8-2, takes its turn switching out the Utah Sugar plant at Carson, UT.

Bill Schlotthauer (L) and Dave Nusink (R) discuss Free-Mo during a break. The layout was set up against the stage, which provided a nice view.

Assigned to local duty, ATSF 2803 a Fairbanks-Morse H15-44, holds clear of the main at Sage Creek.

Photos by Jim Moore

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© Utah Free-MOFebruary 4, 2003