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 Free-mo at NTS 2012 in Grand Rapids, MI
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Author Previous Topic: Motors for HO Challenger & Big Boy Topic Next Topic: Bridge color question  

SDB
Section Hand

Posted - 08/11/2012 :  12:25:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Everybody,

As you probably know, the 2012 NMRA Convention and the National Train Show were held a little more than a week ago in Grand Rapids, MI. The North American Free-mo group was invited to create a layout for display on the floor of the NTS exhibition hall. We started the set-up on Wednesday before the show, and got it running by show opening time on Friday. Then, over the three days of NTS we ran trains and talked to visitors. Layout take-down occurred after 5pm on Sunday.

Over the next few days, I will post a bunch of photos I took documenting the layout. Please enjoy the photos and layout information!

Unlike many modular railroad clubs, whose members are typically tied to a particular city or geographic area, Free-mo is more dispersed. Layouts are coordinated via the internet, allowing people and groups from many different places to converge and build a layout. For the 2012 NTS set up we had modules from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Massachusetts. Given the large number of Free-mo modelers who came together to at NTS, we were able to field a very large layout. The Minnesota group is particularly active -- they contributed perhaps 3/4 of the modules, all of very high quality. Indeed, excellent modules were brought by all the participants. Here's the layout plan we used:



The layout plan was created by AJ Murphy from the Minnesota Free-mo modelers. You will notice two different Free-mo layouts in the plan. The larger is the traditional HO scale Free-mo layout; the smaller one (on the upper right of the plan) is N scale. The HO mainline was several hundred feet long -- it took at least 20 minutes to run from the Wabash Yard (top central) to the return loop (right hand side). The mainline varied between single-track and double-track segments. The configuration allowed us to run trains in both directions simultaneously, since trains could pass each other on the two-track sections.

Here is a photographic tour of the layout. The photos start at Wabash Yard, and follow the mainline to the return loops.

We start at the end of Wabash Yard, with the Free-mo banner hovering over the tracks.


Here's the entrance to the yard. You can see the diesel engine service facility to the right.


After leaving the yard and rounding the curve, we come to the city and "The End", which is a waterfront scene on a branch line.


Here's a view overlooking City Curve. The yard is in the background.


Looking back, we see AJ's popular lift bridge.

This bridge was featured in a video made by Model Railroad Hobbyist about the NTS 2010 show. That video is here: http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/MRHT_2010_NTS_MN_FREEMO

Next is East Arlington, featuring some New England three-deckers.


Martin Stull's farm scene.


AJ's highway overpass and wye. The branch line veers off to the right.


A long shot showing the branch line which wyes off of the highway overpass module. This shot was taken at the end of the branch line, looking back at the wye.


A distance shot of the mainline. The branch line is to the left. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this long, straight section of the mainline is around 100 feet long.


Here's a railfan taking photos of long coal drag passing by Northwood Falls.


Kimble's Viaduct is a beautifully modelled bridge whose prototype is in western Pennsylvania.


Here's a shot of the road passing beneath the viaduct. The cows grazing along the side of the road were not disturbed by either the cars passing by, nor by the trains rumbling past overhead.


Next we come to Zog's Crossing, just before Livingston Yard -- the big yard at the middle of the layout (lower left on the track plan).


Here's Livingston Yard itself, looking back. Peeling off to the right is the Woodheaven branch, which is a loading facility for autoracks.


Moving on, here's a shot from Bill G's Scenic Curve looking back over Allied Waste towards Livingston Yard.


Looking forward, we see Bill G's Hills and Streams, as well as MP122, and Creekside. In the distance is Bob Hill's Astra Yard.


Here's a shot of Astra in the foreground, Perry, Michigan in the center, and Wheatland Junction in the back.


Here's a close-up of Perry Michigan.


Continuing on, we look back at Wheatland Junction.


At the end we come to the return loops.



It's hard to do justice to such a large layout in only a score of photos. There were many more modules in the layout which deserve photographs -- I couldn't photograph or post all of them. But I hope these images give you a flavor of this year's Free-mo layout at the National Train Show.

Over the next couple of days I will post some other photos I took of the Free-mo layout, so check back again for more images!

Stuart

Country: USA | Posts: 76

northern6400
Fireman



Posted - 08/11/2012 :  4:20:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great photos of a fantastic layout. I look forward to seeing the rest of your photos.

Chuck Faist
Burlington, Ontario
Enjoy yourself it is later than you think!

Country: Canada | Posts: 3489 Go to Top of Page

Jim from Valencia CA
Engine Wiper

Posted - 08/11/2012 :  5:16:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Me too. These are wonderful!


Country: USA | Posts: 231 Go to Top of Page

cprfan
Engine Wiper



Posted - 08/12/2012 :  09:44:14 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SDB
Hi Everybody,

As you probably know, the 2012 NMRA Convention and the National Train Show were held a little more than a week ago in Grand Rapids, MI. The North American Free-mo group was invited to create a layout for display on the floor of the NTS exhibition hall. We started the set-up on Wednesday before the show, and got it running by show opening time on Friday. Then, over the three days of NTS we ran trains and talked to visitors. Layout take-down occurred after 5pm on Sunday.


Both the convention and the train show were great, enjoyed both of them.

Saw the Free-mo layout there on Friday, it was a nice layout. :-)

Sadly, N-Track usually is there at the train show, but they pulled out at the last moment, leaving just one guy with one module there, pretty sad for a showing of that size.

Alan



--

Country: Canada | Posts: 146 Go to Top of Page

George D
Moderator

Premium Member


Posted - 08/12/2012 :  10:49:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Impressive size layout with some nice looking modules. Thanks for the pictures, Stuart.

George



Country: USA | Posts: 15205 Go to Top of Page

SDB
Section Hand

Posted - 08/14/2012 :  6:28:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi again folks,

Thanks for the nice comments about the NTS photos. The show was a lot of fun, and the nice comments just add to the pleasure.

In private I have been asked if I have photos of the N scale layout. Unfortunately for N scale fans, I concentrated my photo activities on the HO scale layout. For people interested in the N scale Free-mo at NTS layout, here is a nice set of photos available here: http://www.nscaleintermodal.com/trainshows/NTS2012-Free-moN/

In this batch of photos I use a photographic backdrop behind the module to enhance the realism of the shot. I find the results of photography using a backdrop can be amazingly convincing. Please enjoy these photos taken of some of the modules at NTS2012.


A Chessie diesel crosses AJ's lift bridge. In the river below are the remains of an accident which occurred when one of the engineers wasn't paying attention.


An old Alco in B&M livery interrupts the peace at Marshall Stull's cemetary.


Craig's Geep refuels at the diesel service facility at the entrance to Wabash yard.


Canadian hopper cars wait at the grain elevator on Bill Gawthrop's Perry, Michigan.


Meanwhile, in East Arlington, Mass, the morning streets are quiet.


A loud horn is heard off in the distance, and the windows of the three-deckers begin to shake, but where is the noise coming from?


Suddenly, a Great Northern engine breaks the silence with a mighty roar! But the real question is, how did a Great Northern train get this far into New England? And didn't the Great Northern disappear long before this modern engine was produced? Something fishy must be going on....


The Great Northern is pulling a long train of chemical tankers. The tankers make the laundry hung behind the three-deckers blow in the breeze.


Back in the Midwest, a rusty E unit idles outside of the Acme machine shop.


A garbage truck begins to make the rounds at City Junction.


Elsewhere, a Milwaukee Road Hiawatha train with an E unit on the point blasts by Bill's farm.


As the morning commute starts, an RDC car picks up passengers at Northwood Falls.


It's high summer, and the sun beats down on Marshall Stull's farm. The farmer has grown old, and wants to sell his property and retire. Will this rural scene be replaced by dozens of McMansions in a few years?


Outside of town, where the tracks pass below the interstate, a Boston and Maine switcher pulls a B&A boxcar full of paper from the mills in central Maine.



I hope you enjoy these photos from NTS2012!

Stuart



Edited by - SDB on 08/14/2012 8:37:27 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 76 Go to Top of Page

Neil M
Fireman

Premium Member

Posted - 08/14/2012 :  11:59:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Great photos. Thanks Stuart. It looks like a great meeting of modules


Built a waterfront HO layout in Ireland http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=22161 but now making a start in On30 in Australia

Country: Australia | Posts: 2487 Go to Top of Page

LandNnut
Fireman



Posted - 08/15/2012 :  01:33:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit LandNnut's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the report.
L&N nut
Jon



Country: USA | Posts: 1608 Go to Top of Page
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