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Train Show Pictures

Pictures from Wasatch Rails 2004

Held November 5th - 7th, 2004 in the Grand Building at the Utah State Fairpark.

For a third consecutive year Utah Free-Mo participated in Wasatch Rails, an annual model railroad show presented to the general public by the Wasatch Division of the NMRA. Wasatch Division once again held the show in the spacious Grand Building at the Utah State Fair Park. Utah Free-Mo made good use of the space allotted to us on the second floor of the building to assemble our most elaborate layout to date. The layout also saw the debut of six new modules. Overall the show was a great success, the layout performed well and group members had many hours to operate trains on the layout.

Setup began around 10:00 am on Friday Morning. Six of us arrived at the same time and we had little problem unloading everybody's modules and equipment. The large elevator made it easy to get the modules, including the eight foot yard section up to the second floor. Jim Moore and Dave Vickers did endure a slight delay when a module, unbeknownst to them, kept the door from closing completely and kept the stuck inside for a few minutes. The modules went up on legs quickly and the group had a chance to break for lunch while we waited for the rest of the modules to arrive.

After lunch we were still short two group members. We waited until two o'clock, the deadline we had set to insure we would be running by show opening at five o'clock. We quickly demonstrated once again how modular and adaptable the Free-Mo concept actually is. Modules were repositioned and the large modular sets started to be clamped together and set in place. Bridge rails went in as final checks of wiring were made. Structures, details, skirting and the rope barricade followed next.

We then made a test run with a locomotive. We have found that a first batch Athearn SD-70 will find bad track better than anything else. This also let us check the electrical as well. Alignment between modules was adjusted in a few spots and an electrical problem was also found. Our Digitrax had been configured using the scheme Mike Nelson wrote up for our previous show. This used a single DSC100, used as a command station only, i.e. it is not used to power a power district. Three separate DB150s are used to power the three power districts, the yard, the mainline, and the reverse loop. The problem that we discovered is that we had all three DB150s jumpered as auto-reversing. This created a phasing problem between the yard and mainline power districts. Had there only been two DB150s in the layout we would not have had this problem. After determining the source of the problem the jumper wire was removed from the boosters on the mainline and yard to disable auto-reversing. We then made sure the power leads from the boosters were correctly phased and we were good to go for the remainder of the show.

This show saw the introduction of six new modules, four constructed by new group members. Dave Spritke's Spanish Fork is a set of two four foot modules that features a short siding and lots of switching, loosely based on the small town of Spanish Fork, Utah. Sterling Moore's five foot module, the first of a larger let features a nicely detailed cattle yard and meat packing plant. Greg Mac is building two three foot modules, these can be used together or separately and feature a single main track running through scenery. (Something that you can never have to much of!) Greg had one of the two modules completed to a point that it could be used in this show. Group member Mike Hansen constructed the other two new modules. These two modules are also a single track mainline through scenery. They are separate 45 degree modules with a 48 inch radius curves. All of these modules were the result of several work sessions hosted by group member Jim Moore during September.

Absent at this years show was the East Moore Yard. This module set, an upgraded set of legacy modules was retired early this year. Usable parts were salvaged and the remainder of the module were hauled to the solid waste transfer station. The modules then got to take a train ride on the former Rio Grande Mainline over soldier summit to Helper. After resting overnight in Helper the cars they were riding in were then pulled by black and orange Rio Grande Tunnel Motors out to the East Carbon landfill were they were unceremoniously laid to rest. The East Moore Yard was the last remaining legacy modules owned by group members. The modules were used last at the previous Wasatch Rails. This years show was the third straight to exclusivly feature 100% Free-Mo modules. Also absent from the show were two new module sets under construction. Both of these sets are expected to be completed to a point of usability by our next show in January. Both of these sets also sport longer passing sidings (over 14 feet) and will greatly enhance our layout.

Despite the absence of these new sidings the layout operated very well. We ran an out and back operation. Longer through trains were staged on the mainline and passing siding at Smokey Point Yard. These trains could pass other through trains at Faust and on the loop at Lavo. Local trains, typically five or six cars, were assembled at Smokey Point. Three local trains operated on the layout, Spanish Fork turn, Sage Creek turn, and Lavo turn. Each of these locals departed from the yard for their turn destination performing switching operations at their destination and in the surrounding area. Each of these locations feature a short siding were the locals were able to meet as well as clear for the through trains. A short siding was also available at Payson. While these short sidings limit the length of the locals, we have found that it still takes operators over an hour to make their turns, delivering all five or six cars in their train and picking up another five or six. Typically when we were operating two, but at times all three of the locals would be out on the railroad along with two through trains.

Once again at the show switch lists were used to coordinate the work of local trains. Adam forgot to bring his dice so the clerks ended up just using their imagination to randomly create the lists. A clerk fills out the list and a the yardmaster assembles the train and calls the crew. They attach their power to the train and depart after getting clearance from the yardmaster. We were short handed during most of the show, so operations were very light and a dispatcher was not needed. Crew coordinated meets themselves out on the railroad. This provided a low key atmosphere and everyone seemed to have a fun time.

In additional to operating smoothly and providing lots of fun for the engine crews, the layout also looked great. More scenery work and detailing had been done to virtually every module in the layout. Russ Ridgeway finished painting the ties, rail and ballasting Smokey Point Yard with the help of several group members. Ted York finished the basic scenery on Faust. Adam Eastman finished the basic scenery and added a few details to Thompson Springs, most notably pouring the water, painting the road, and adding some trees. Bill Schlotthauer also did some finishing work to the scenery on his modules. Mike Nelson reworked some scenery and upgraded some of the trackwork on the Lavo Loop. I think the pictures demonstrate these improvements, especially when compared to those of previous shows.

Like all good things, the show came to an end all to soon Sunday afternoon. Take down proceeded quickly and everyone was loaded up in under two hours. While the layout did not run flawlessly, we learned several important things, ran lots of trains, and had lots of fun. We are looking foward to our next shows in January and March as well as to next years Wasatch Rails , November 4-6 2005 to be held again in the Grand Building. Once again we look forward to taking advantage of the spacious building and hope that many of you will be able to join with us for another great show.

The Layout

The Pictures

We'll start with a layout tour. Our first shot is looking at the mainline as it runs through Lavo past BTM canning and Yona Machine.

Changing perspectives we get a look past Lavo and into Sage Creek.

Sage Creek.

Our vantage point changes as we cross over the hills. Looking past Truckette Hills and down the south side of the tracks toward Sage Creek.

Turing and looking back past the Truckette River Smokey Point yard is visable in the background.

Looking west at the Grain Elevator at Knight Jct and some newly finished scenery.

Standing at the Curve at Thompson Springs we look west down the mainline towards Spanish Fork and Faust. Knight Jct is in the background on the right.

Turning and looking East from Thompson Springs towards Payson and Smokey Point Yard.

Above photos by Al Barnes

Rio Grande 3028 passes through Faust as it pulls the Lavo Turn back to Smokey Point.

The Lavo Turn is closer to the yard now as the 3028 passes through Thompson Springs.

BNSF 9838 pulls on a unit coal train as Engineer Sterling Moore eases the train Through Tompson Springs.

Amtrak #6 the eastbound California Zephyr passes a BNSF coal train at Faust.

A Western Pacific ALCO S-2 works a cut of cars at the Valley Sand and Gravel plant at Lavo.

Amtrak #6 Sunday hold the main as the BNSF 9838 pulls into the siding.

Amtrak #6 back under way passes through the long curve at Thompson Springs.

A cow wanders down the road as farmer Jim trys to swerve past it on Highway 89 at Thompson Springs.

Bill and Alan inspect the new scenery at Knight Junction

Dave Spritke works the Lavo turn throughthe Yona Switch.

Dave's first move will be to swich BTM canning and Yona Machine.

The switch moves get more complicated as Dave has to run around cars at Yona Switch to work the Feed and seed.

A couple of box cars sit on the stub siding at Sterling waiting to be spotted next to the dock of the Champion Meats.

Looking at the end of the Chamion Meat plant and the stock pens at Sterling.

An overhead shot of Sterling and the meat plant.

While waiting for Amtrak #6, our railfan snapped a quick shot of the Payson Depto.

Overhead view of the wye entering Lavo at Ivie Farms.

Looking down on Sage Creek.

Highway 89 and Thompson Creek both cross the mainline at Thompson Springs, Utah.

Recently completed scenery at the east switch module at Fuast.

Above photos by Adam Eastman

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© Utah Free-MONov 13, 2004