HO Free-Mo Modules

Long Range Module Plans

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Loop Plans

My long range plan is to build 13 individual modules. The 13 modules will fit together to form a balloon, or can be used separately. Note that the two "junction" modules are 45 degrees in both directions. This makes them reversible or exchangeable with any of the other modules in the balloon. The two 22.5 degree modules can be put together and replace one of the 45 degree modules. One of the best parts of this plan is that each section is an individual Free-Mo module, therefore they can be used as they are completed, I do not have to make all of them to use any of them.


I realized from the start that the junction module at the bottom, Freeman, was not the same shape as the other two, Kerwin and Hartsfield. I finally realized that a simple change to the arrangement, swap Jemison and Irwin, adding 2 more 22.5 degree module and two 45 degree modules would fix this. I cam then make the three junction modules have the same bench work. So here result of the redesign of the module set.

May 2005
The loop is still a grand plan but it is on hold. I have been doing heavy rework to Bean and Chaffee (the fist two 45 degree modules I built). I have also discovered that 24 inches is not enough length to do a single to double track conversion module. This means that the plans have to be reworked to lengthen Anders and Duffy. My plan for the loop was to have a means to "turn a train" and be very versatile. Now that I have a couple of years of Free-Mo modules under my belt and 6 or 8 setups. I have come to realize that a wye module suits my needs. It is very versatile and you can use it to turn a train. In fact it takes more work to turn a train. It makes the operator work, I like it. With this in mind I have adopted an old wye module from the SLO Model Railroad Club. I have been working on a total rebuild of the module to bring it up to Free-Mo standards. It is now called Arness Junction. Read more below on where this trip is taking me.

First Two Modules
    Anders and Duffy

Update 2 September 2002
    Anders, Bean, Chaffee and Duffy

Update 22 September 2002

Update 29 September 2002

Update 31 January 2003
    No images (yet).

Update 10 April 2003
     Duffy is operational, Chaffee has the start of mountains

Check my p-base page for the latest updates.

Santa Margarita and Arness Junction
Check my p-base page for the latest updates.

As all modeling goes, plans change. In the October 2003 setup in SLO, we, we used and acquired the SLOMRC wye module. It was wired for DC Analog, but we were able to make it work. Chris and I put some work into the SLO Wye module to make it DCC friendly. We also added powered turnout controls. All in preparation for the Santa Maria Run. It was a great addition to the run. After this setup and from talking with with the rest of the Guys from SLO, Norcal-F and Free-mo LA, I realized my real purpose and need.

  1. I wanted a module that would allow a train to be turned.
  2. I want a module design that was versatile.
  3. I wanted to build a "real" location.

I started to think more about this and realized that Santa Margarita used to have a wye. Why not build Santa Margarita. I started to design and redesign the module set. I then acquired a set of 1932 station plans for Santa Margarita and things started to come together.  Could we use the SLOMRC Wye? The track plan was all wrong, the ends were not the right width for Free-Mo. Here is the track plan for the SLOMRC Wye.

Wye, SLOMRC-Model.jpg (91172 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail

The other problem with the SLOMRC Wye was that it was all in code 100 rail, Free-Mo calls for code 83. The more and more we talked about it, the less and less the old wye would work for me. To make a long story short, I stripped the wye of all track and roadbed, redesigned the track plan and renamed it Arness Junction. It is designed to fit with Arness and provide a switching lead to Arness.

Arness Junction.jpg (87303 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail

See the old and new track plans side by side JPG, PDF.

The frames have been altered to meet Free-Mo specifications. The top of the wye is 24 inches, single track specifications. The right and left ends are 26 inches, double track specifications. It is being redone with Homobed roadbed and CVMW tie strips and turnouts.

Back to Santa Margarita. Arness Junction is a side trip to Santa Margarita. I figure it will take me three to five years to build Santa Margarita and I want a good module set with a wye to use now, as I work on Santa Margarita. I have planned Santa Margarita to be built in sections using Arness Junction as the wye section of Santa Margarita until I get to that part.

NOTE: the PDF Documents are much much better then the JPG images.

Santa Margarita Stage A.jpg (99466 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage A

Santa Margarita Stage B.jpg (97575 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage B

Santa Margarita Stage C.jpg (88690 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage C

Santa Margarita Stage D.jpg (86449 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage D

   Keeping with the idea that I want it to versatile, the yard section can be added or removed as needed. The two end can also be swapped.

Santa Margarita Stage A-1.jpg (94484 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage A-1

Santa Margarita Stage D-1-Model.jpg (86484 bytes)
Here is a PDF, it has better detail
Stage D-1

So the current plan is to rebuild Arness Junction for the 26-27 February 2005 Santa Maria Show hosted by the Santa Maria Valley Historical Museum in the Town Center Mall. The current build order will be:

  1. Build out Arness Junction.

  2. Repurpose Chaffee to become the West end of Santa Margarita (Stage A).

  3. Builld the east end, double to triple tack module.

  4. Build the West yard throat (Stage B).

  5. Build the "real" Santa Margarita wye. When this module is done I will call the set Santa Margarita, until then it will be called Arness Junction (Stage C). I will then have two wyes Arness Junction and Santa Margarita.

  6. Last, build the two yard extensions (Stage D). 

  • November 2004
    The remodel of the frames took place. The sides were cut down to make the end meet Free-mo standards. The new track plan was drawn onto the top. Balsawood was laid as a sub-roadbed. This was sanded and made level, the old frames tops were not level to the ends. The module ends were made square.

  • December 2004
    Homa-bed roadbed was laid. CVT ties were laid. Holes were drilled for turnout controls.

  • Feburary 2005
    Arness Junction premiered to rave reviews at the Santa Maria show. Now to add ballast, scenery, detection for signals, signals, buildings, ... oh yes and finish the turnout controls, I have controls for all the turnouts but on on all the sides.

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Page Last Updated 05/05/2005


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