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Utah Free-mo at the 2006 World's Greatest Hobby on Tour in Salt Lake City.

Held January 21st - 22nd, 2006 at the South Town Expo Center

Utah Free-mo took advantage of an opportunity to participate in the “World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour” when it rolled into town on January 21-22, 2006. The show’s organizers had booked two halls in the South Town Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. Vendors, dealers, and manufacturer’s representatives occupied about half of the 90,000 square feet. A rubber tired train for the kids to ride, a large inflatable slide, and over one hundred Thomas the Tank Engine toy sets for the kids occupied another large chunk of real estate. The remainder was filled by layouts and displays, including our Free-mo layout.

We had all day Friday to setup. The layout was considerably smaller than our previous layout at Wasatch Rails in November. This helped the setup proceed rapidly with no problems. The Expo Center allowed us to drive our trucks and vehicles into the hall greatly facilitating loading and unloading. The modules were quickly on there feet and following a break for lunch were leveled and clamped. Jim Moore and Mike Nelson worked on the DCC while others placed fitter rails, skirting and details. While we could have stayed as late as 9:00, we had the layout up and decided to cut out early at 6:00. We knew Saturday would be a busy day.

Saturday was extremely busy. The hall was packed all day. Over all the show was very successful with over 23,000 children and adults attending the show. A great majority, probably in the range of 80% attended the show on Saturday. Our layout was well received and we heard only one disparaging comment about the height of the modules. Young and old had a fun time watching the trains switch industries and wait at sidings to meet passing trains. We received many compliments and praise and generated interest in Free-mo. Some of those most interested in the layout were the reps from Digitrax.

The layout operated very well. All of the modules had been used and tested before. Before the show, Sterling Moore and Jim Moore had spent considerable time reworking the leg system on Smokey Point Yard. Their changes made the yard easier to setup and easier to align the tracks in the yard. We quickly dealt with a few minor problems, such as a broken wire. Once again the biggest problem was a shortage of operators to have any formal operating sessions. We kept it informal and attempted to keep trains moving across the layout.

The close of the show Sunday afternoon came quickly. After the close of the show the layout came down quickly and we were loaded and out the door in no time. We had a great weekend and are looking forward to the next show.

The Layout

The Pictures

Sterling Moore places some cement hoppers on the rails in Smokey Point Yard.

While waiting for a train to come rolling past High Plains Publishing Co. in Sterling, he catches Adam and Ted solving the world's problems in the background.

Sterling tested a possible seanery option for Jim by placing a truck terminal on his module.

Looking past Wash to the OS at East Faust.

Bruce rests easy as we wait for a train at the Road Crossing at Thompson Spring with the IFA and Highway 89 overpass in the background.

A closer view of the west side of the overpass on Dave Winkler's IFA module.

Trains wait for crews in this panoramic shot of the yard.

BN Caboose 10594 finishes off the back end of a hot Z train briefly at rest at Smokey Point yard during a quick crew change.

Photos by Jim Moore

The WGH staff presented us with a nice certificate at the end of the show to thank us for our participation.

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© Utah Free-MOFeb 28, 2008