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Utah Free-mo at the Western Colorado Railroad Extravaganza

Held September 17th - 28th, 2005 at the Montrose Pavilion in Montrose, Colorado.

Over the weekend of September 17-18, 2005 local model railroaders and the Western Colorado Railroad Museum combined to host the first model railroad event of its kind in Montrose Colorado, the Western Colorado Railroad Extravaganza. Museum staff and local model railroaders organized the event held at the Montrose Pavilion in Montrose, Colorado. Several model railroad clubs and groups brought modular layouts, including Utah Free-mo.

Several members of Utah Free-mo made the long but enjoyable drive to set up a moderate sized layout. Sterling Moore and Jim Moore started out on Thursday, while Adam Eastman, Dave Spritke, and Bill Schlotthauer departed early Friday Morning. Sterling and Jim began setting up the layout on Friday morning. Because of a miscommunication, the space available was smaller than planned and they had to redesign the layout. They had a new plan drawn up and their modules set up by the time Adam, Dave, and Bill rolled in just after 1:00. Within a few hours they had their modules unloaded and setup. Jim worked on the DCC while the other group members worked on fitter rails and setting up structures and details. They worked until 8:30 that evening fine tuning the layout and headed over to Chiliís for food and drink.

The layout operated extremely well, especially considering that one half of the yard had to be left out. But, a yard switcher helped pull the cars of inbound trains and started classifying them as the road power snuck over to the shops. Adam and Sterling made up switch lists and kept the group busy switching three different local jobs. Later in the day Saturday, Roger Smith from Colorado Free-mo arrived to see the first Free-mo layout in Colorado. While Roger was disappointed his modules were not ready to participate in the event, he did have an enjoyable time switching on the layout and meeting the Utah group.

After the show closed on Saturday, the group headed over to the Black Canyon Restaurant and Brewery. Jim and Sterling had discovered the fine food of the Black Canyon on Thursday evening. The group had a fun time winding down from a day of trains, discussing trains, and enjoying the fine food and in-house microbrew. As the evening wore on, they even had a little entertainment as Montroseís finest arrived to quell a over soaked patron who had grown belligerent with his bar mate.

Sunday provided another relaxing day of running trains. The beautiful fall weather and several competing events kept attendance light, but both the spectators and exhibitors had favorable comments about the layout and Free-mo concept. The show planners had done an excellent job working with the chamber of commerce and had excellent door prizes to give away. The community was warm and welcoming, and all five Utah Free-mo participants agreed the show would be worth repeating if held again next year.

The Layout

The Pictures

Looking down one leg of the layout at the Stub end of Smokey Point yard.

Bill switches east shops as in this view of the oposite side of the layout as Dave switches in the background

A view of the gorgeous weather and spactacular view to the South South-East of the Montrose pavillion. The jagged peaks of the magestic Uncompahgre Mountains loom in the distance.

An empty GS Gon waits to be switched off the ramp at Jake's Coal in Spanish Fork.

Photos by Jim Moore.

D&RGW Dash-9 5612 sits outside the shops of East Yard.

Enignes sit on the ready track at S.P. Yard as Roger Smith works his local in the background.

D&RGW 151 works classifying a cut of cars at S.P. Yard.

A livestock truck backs up to the unloading ramp at Champion Meats in Sterling, Co.

Looking down the mainline at a Rio Grande local on the siding at Spanish Fork.

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

Dave Spritke switches has fun switching his Spanish Fork module set. Jim Moore Photo.

Bill takes a turn trying his had at switching Spanish Fork.

Adam takes a stroll past Spansih Fork as he makes up another switch list.

Roger Smith of Colorado Free-mo has fun working one of Adam's "easy" switch lists.

Sterling Moore guides his train over Thompson Springs.

Jim concentrates as he works a switch list at Sterling.

Photos by Dave Spritke.

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© Utah Free-MOFebruary 28, 2006