Sunday, September 26, 2010


Free-mo is a HO modular railroad standard.  It differs from the NMRA HO modular standard in many ways -  the main line runs down the center of the module - there are no size restrictions other than the end plates  - the height of the module is higher than NMRA and thus a better viewing perspective - there is no back side or back drop, the module is designed to be viewable from both sides.      The standard tends to enable the portrayal of a more realistic railroad, however, some of the restrictions that create this tend to tie the hands of an industrial modeler.  The more I talk to other Freemoers and think about it, industrial modeling is possible but it is easier to build it in secondary modules attached to the module with the main in it at 45 degree angles or so.  
Or experience in Free-mo began in 2009, when we built our Pipe Foundry module for the 2009 Steel Mill Model Meet.  The year prior had featured three or four under construction Freemo modules with a steel mill theme  - we had hoped to connect to them, but for the past two meets we have been the only module in attendance.  Hopefully this will change for next year.   At this year's SMMM we did meet some folks from the Capitol Free-Mo group that stopped by to specifically take a look at our module.  These nice fellows were starting a group based in the DC area, including MD and Virginia.   Their first set-up was to be hosted by John Glaab at Peachcreek Shops in Laurel, MD.    Despite a two hour drive (which really isn't far in my book)  we offered to attend - partially as they seemed like a nice bunch of model railroads, partially to shop at Peachcreek, but probably mostly to actually hook our module up to another.    There is really no local group in the Philadelphia area that we know of.  The local NMRA was apparently trying to promote these modules and generate interest with seminars,...etc.   We offered twice to bring our module out to an event but received no reply - I guess we weren't wanted.   Every time I think about joining the NMRA,...well that's for another blog sometime.  
We loaded up a work van and headed south.  We arrived at Peachcreek shortly after 10am.  John Glaab, the proprietor was ready with coffee and donuts and Matt had already set up his module on the sidewalk in front of the store.   Matt has a semi-finished 2x4 module.  We quickly unloaded our structures and module and with the help of a few others that had arrived, had the module assembled and connected to Matt's in a short time.  Dave worked on the DCC setup and we quickly had power up and running.   Bob showed up a short time after with his module, which also set up quickly.  In a way we were lucky to only have three modules as we would have blocked the door of the Subway store next door with another.   A number of other folks from the group attended and many plans were developed for modules under construction and future setups,...etc.  Additionally, many of the store's normal saturday patrons stopped by for a chat,...etc.  I'm not sure we got any converts to Free-mo, but you never know.  I think it was a good turnout and this group has a lot of energy.  The next set-up will be at the Timonium Train show holiday weekend.  We are looking forward to attending.    I am putting up one photo from the Capital Freemo Yahoo Group -  I took a bunch but I guess the big-brother division of my work needs to review them before I can send them to myself - Ill update this blog when they arrive in email. 

1 comment:

ncgoogs said...

Hi Jim, very nice stuff you have here. I'm wondering if you would be interested in setting your fre-Mo modules with the S&SS of NC next April in Timonium. Randy Costanza is currently planning on bringing his steel mill. We have joined up with Free-Mo in the past and everything worked great, so don't worry about the module interface part. Please email me at

Thank you for your time
Mark Gugliotta