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Train Show Pictures

Pictures from the 2004 Hostler's Model Railroad Festival

Held March 5th - 7th, 2004 at the Ogden Union Staion, Ogden Utah.

You couldnít have asked for a better weekend after our snowy start Friday morning. For the third year in a row, Utah Free-Mo recently participated in the Hostlerís Model Railroad Festival at the historic Ogden Union Station. This show is the best in the entire region. Its venue is hard to beat. There were several layouts and dozens of vendors together in the station for this large show. The museums indoor and outdoor displays were open and Union Pacific did a fine job keeping show participants entertained moving trains through the busy yard out the stationís back door. We had a fine view of the trains and the museums outdoor displays from the windows of the Old Timeís Room on the second floor of the stationís south annex. Inside the Old Timerís Room our layout changed shape and size, but our neighbors were the same as last year, loud and smoky. At one point Saturday afternoon, the entire room was filled with smoke from the MTH E units and Big Boy that the Utah Train Collectors were running rapidly around their oval layout at warp speed. Despite the noisy neighbor nuisance, our layout ran smoothly and our operating sessions went well.

Set-up started Friday morning. All of the group members with modules were at the station by noon. It took about an hour to haul the modules, trains, and tools up the twenty-five steps of the steep staircase leading to the Old Timerís Room. After getting all the modules upstairs, setup proceeded in its usual fashion--legs, clamping of modules, leveling. Because we clamped the loop and yard together before their exact location was set we ended up having to move the yard as a group a few inches to get it to line up properly. The layout together, tested, and trains running a little before the five oíclock deadline. The pace was relaxed and things went well for us. Several members of the group were able to break away for lunch at the Union Gill restaurant in the station.

There were several things that we tried to do to insure that the layout operated well at the show. First we made a careful check of the modules, checking for shorts before the layout was powered up. This revealed a few minor problems with wiring that saved us some hassle later. Our DCC chief for the show, Mike Nelson, had a specific plan that he wanted to test to help reduce problems with the Loco-net and the operation of the layout. Here is a summary of Mike's test report:

"I wanted to use a DCS100 Command Station that was not connected to the rails. I felt the cycling of the DCS during short circuits was having an adverse affect on the signal and memory of the Command Station." So, a DCS 100 was used as the command station only. Three DB150s were used to power the three power districts on the layout. These three command stations were daisy chained together on their own Loconet bus, seperate from the Loconet running through the layout. Mike continued his report,

"Much to my surprise after powering up, there were problems all over the place. After troubleshooting the system I discovered 2 of the DB150 were not jumped properly (Config A and Config B were not jumped to Ground properly). After this correction and making a few minor repairs to modules, the Layout electrical system preformed great."

"I feel every effort should be made to use DB150 to power the rail and use DCC100 as a Command Station only."

Following up on the success at the OT&W; show in January, the group decided to continue to use a hand generated switch list rather than car cards to generate the work for the local crews. The dispatcher or yardmaster would generate the lists which the yard master then used to make up trains. Three locals were used to work the three switching areas on the layout, Sage, Knight, and Lovo. These locals also each worked the sidings at Payson, Desert, Faust, and Over.

On Saturday afternoon we had a dedicated op session. Group members signed up for specific jobs. Adam dispatched the layout using the FRS radios and gave verbal authority and track and time to the crews. Meets were scheduled by the dispatcher and the trains were tracked on the layout using a simple system consisting of a layout diagram taped to cardboard and push pins. While the system may not be as prototypical as using signals or track warrants, the group members enjoyed the laid back attitude and had fun operating trains with a purpose. Because there werenít as many operators to run the layout Sunday local switch crews were stationed at Lavo and Sage with the local crews making drops and pickups at the respective sidings.

Not only did the layout operate better at this show, but it also looked better. This was the first show that both the new Smokey Point Yard and the Lavo loop were able to be used together. Also, several improvements had been made to modules as well as new modules built. Ted York, Dave Vickers, and Mike Nelson made significant improvements to the scenery on their modules. Adam Eastman had built a new two module 90 degree module set. Mike Hansen had built a new nine module set consisting of three modules.

Take down proceeded well, and most group members concurred that hauling down the stairs is better than hauling up the stairs. Everyone was loaded and on the road by six oíclock after we had a short "debriefing" meeting to discuss the show. The show went well and we anticipate returning again next year, although a request will be made to be rotated onto the first floor. Group members are anxiously looking forward to our next setup at the Wasatch Rails show in November. Several new modules should be ready for the show, and there is lots of room to use them. We have a large space available and have invited all Free-Mo module owners to participate with us at this show. (Check our site for more details.) We hope to see you there.

The Layout

The Pictures

Amtrak #5, the westbound California Zephyr, passes by the Valley Gravel and Ready mix plant at Lavo.

Number 5 a few moments later passes the Yona siding at Lavo.

Looking the other way at #5 and the Yona Feed and Seed. In the background Jim Moore is manning a local working cars at Sage Creek.

BNSF 8236 takes the siding at Faust as Amtrak 5 holds patiently on the main.

Later the same BNSF 8236 pulls its rack extra past Trucketee Pass at Lavo.

A better view of the rack extra at Trucketee.

Mike tried to jump in the car and race ahead on Highway 6 to catch the train at Ivie farms, but only caught the back half of the train as it rolled past.

A view of the bridges over the Trucketee River on Mike Nelson's Lavo loop.

Some call the 50 inch height a disadvantage. But for us it insures the kids are right where we want them. Out of reach of the trains.

Photographic evidence that visitors at the show, i.e. the general public, can and do enjoy watching trains run and operate like the real thing on a free-mo layout.

Looking at Smokey Point Yard and the east half of the layout. In the picture are (from L to R) Russ Ridgeway, Marty Peterson, Bill Schlotthauer, and Mike Bugden.

Members group around the yard, Jim Moore, Dave Nusink, and Ted York.

Jim Moore works his local at Knight Jct as Bill S. rest his feet and watches the action in the yard outside the window.

Adam Eastman stays busy in the yard building locals and filling out Switch Lists for local trains.

Overhead view of the BTM cannery at Lavo.

Overhead view of Ivie Farm at the throat of the wye at Lavo.

Overhead view of Valley Gravel and Ready mix at Lavo.

Overhead view of the Yona Feed and Supply at Lavo.

Photos by Mike Nelson

"A little bit higher on the inside leg Mike." Mike Nelson adjusts a leg bolt on Lavo loop during setup.

The west side of Lavo during setup.

Mike Nelson works the local at Yona and as Mike Bugden asks about the new signals on the loop.

Bill S. works the local at Sage Creek. Desert is is in the foreground.

Mike Hansen brings his BLI 2-8-2 the infamous WP 306 around the corner and into Sage Creek.

Mike leaves Sage Creek nice and tidy after his switch moves.

Another view of Sage Creek, this time looking east.

A view of Knight Jct.

Another view of Knight Jct with a steam engine on the siding at Over in the foreground.

Amtrak #6 on the high green at Faust rolls along on the main.

#6 is long gone by the time Jim "hiked" back down to the main to get a shot of Faust looking east.

Photos by Jim Moore

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© Utah Free-MOMarch 11, 2004