Q: Is Free-mo for me?
A: First of all we will warn you, Free-mo is
not for everyone. To explain exactly what we mean is
adhering to the Free-mo Standard. There is very little
room for error when it comes to construction, track, and
wiring. By no means are we implying perfection, but the
old "that's good enough" attitude won't cut it in
Free-mo. We encourage a very high standard of
construction, which means no warped endplates and
extremely well laid track. Past experience has shown
when these aren't met, you have tons of problems with
locomotives and cars derailing, and in turn creates
frustration. Free-mo can be a very enjoyable experience,
but if all you are doing is trying to tweak the module,
track, etc., are you operating? No. Also, the scenery
must be believable. Don't panic, we have access to some
talented people if you need the help.
Q: What are some of the benefits over
A: First, we are operating the layout. Other
modules do not allow much operation except running
around in circles. Conventional modules have to be a
certain length, and there has to be corner modules. With
Free-mo, the layout most likely never be set-up the same
way twice. DCC. Enough said. Free-mo also supports Code
83 track, and is the standard for mainline track.
Q: Ok, I like the Free-mo concept and I want
to participate, but what are the requirements?
A: To put it quite simply, you have to be
willing to build a module. It can be a small module and
for the first one you build, a smaller one is
encouraged. In addition, you must have your own Digitrax
Throttle. The more throttles available, the more people
Q: Why do we have to use Digitrax DCC?
A: Because it is the national standard. In
order for us to hook up with other groups throughout the
United States, we need the same control system. Also,
the benefits of the Digitrax LocoNet are far more
advanced than other manufacturers DCC Systems. (This is
Q: Why is the height of the track 50"
from the floor?
A: Since Free-mo focuses on operations, the
50" height allows for the average person an eye-level
view, which is more appealing than a helicopter view. In
order for younger children to view the layout, the
parent must lift them up and therefore have "control"
over them, which eliminates a catastrophe.
Q: Why are you so strict about the standards?
A: One thing you need to keep in mind, I nor
anyone in this group set the standards in the first
place. We have added to them due to past problems
encountered, but I have seen what happens when they are
not met. You spend hours of precious time doing and
re-doing what should have been done from the start.
Again this creates frustration and now we aren't
operating. Endplates that aren't square, track which
isn't perpendicular to the endplate, switches with
electrical problems, and track that is not laid
correctly leads to a recipe for disaster. Any module
constructed which is apart of this group must be
inspected before it's allowed to participate in a
set-up. Our rule of thumb is no scenery until it's
inspected so if you have to re-do trackwork, you are not
destroying hours of ballasting.
Q: I've made up my mind I want to do this, so
how do I start?
A: First of all, SLOW DOWN TURBO! Before you
cut one piece of lumber, you had better draw up a plan
for the module. There are several ways to do this.
Programs such as 3rd Planit and Model Railroad Software
will allow you to draw trackplans, track radius, etc.
For those so inclined, CAD Software and Microsoft Visio
will work. Even a piece of blank paper. Often you will
find what you had in mind may not work, and it's easier
to catch it in the pre-planning stage than after it was
constructed. Please click
here and read
the section on Appendix 1: Planning. Once you have
answered all of those questions, you are ready to start.