It has been a few days since we dismantled the monster layout in Sioux Falls, SD last weekend, and I have taken some time to decompress. It has also been quite a while since I did a train show report, so consider this the first of hopefully many. I hope to document the history of Free-mo in the Midwest.
First, let’s start out with some photos taken during setup:
I was too busy having fun to take a lot of photos during the actual show, so the above photos will have to suffice. I did however take some videos on Donnie Berg’s new module:
The First Run!
An over and under meet
Meet on the High Line
I hope to take more photos and videos at future setups to share with you. You will be able to see photos here and videos on our YouTube Channel.
But now let’s talk about the show. The layout was huge, 60+ modules with more than 140 individual pieces from 5 groups. We had a 400 foot long mainline with two branches, one connecting the two yards at Scholl Jct. This combined with two reversing loops allowed for a lot of variation in running.
I was able to bring out the big steam, a Norfolk & Western Y-3 (2-8-8-2) which you can see in one of the videos above. The layout ran very well with few derailments for this picky locomotive. The only major issue was one of the signals on Scholl Jct was just a little closer to the mainline than the others and were catching the cylinders on the front of the locomotive, so I had to use a different track. I guess we now know that the Y-3 from Proto 2000 does NOT clear an NMRA standards gauge!
There were some issues of course. With a layout this size there always will be. Looking at some of the modules brought by other groups, I have decided that although the track is still fully functional on Decatur, I will be taking it out of service to replace the buildings and clean up the scenery. This process will be explained in more detail later. Since this is one of my largest modules, I need to first make sure some of my other modules are completed first. You can read more about module changes in a later post.
The primary issue I had this show was that one of my new modules, which is fully complaint with the new Free-mo standards, had a plug replaced on the accessory bus to the older trailer style plugs. Anyone who was present during tear down on Sunday saw the aftermath of that. I went a little overboard and I admit it. I made sure to apologize to the person who made the change, and now make a public apology to those that witnessed it. I am still not sure why the change was made when parts were available to change the non-compliant module, but apparently that wasn’t fully know. So fair warning to all reading this – I always have Anderson Power Pole contacts, housings, and wire to make new plugs. So, if you are at a setup with me, and you are dealing with a non-compliant module – come find me! I make these parts freely available to avoid the issues you may have seen on Sunday. If you change plugs on my modules, you will suffer my wrath!
Other than that I feel the show went very well. I have read quite a few complaints made after the show about modules not working, battle damage, and equipment issues. So I ask anyone who experienced issues on Three Notch, Monster Loop, Decatur, Birdsong Peanuts (aka Kellogg’s, but only for this show), FCA Packaging, or any of my curves to do one thing – TELL ME! I cannot fix problems that I am not aware of. For the past few years I have not had space or time to work on modules, but that has changed. I want to get things up to par again but I cannot fix the problems I don’t see. Please feel free to use the Contact page here on this site to voice your complaints. I promise not to get mad like I did on Sunday.