Northern California Free-mo
Updated August 18, 2018
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About Us

Northern California Free-mo (NorCalF) is an informal group of like-minded modelers experienced in the various model railroading disciplines. We aspire to a high standard of modeling ranging from cabinetry skills for module framing, to preparation and operation of highly detailed engines and rolling stock. There is no organizational structure, meetings or dues. All decisions about setups and group recommendations are made by consensus. Setups occur as space and time are available, typically 2 to 4 times per year.
For information, contact:
Gary Green at (Aptos)
Dan Risdon at (Roseville)
Ed Sutorik at (Berkeley)

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Event Schedule

Aptos BarnBQ XVIII: Aptos, CA

September 1-3, 2018
At the Aptos Barn
For information, contact Gary Green at

Mountain States RPM and Free-mo: Evanston, WY
Free-mo: September 6-9, 2018
This is a "pay-to-play" event
For information, contact Mike Nelson at
RPM: September 8, 2018
There will be a nominal fee
For information, contact Blaine Hadfield at

Bakersfield (GEHAMS) Train Show: Bakersfield, CA
March 9-10, 2019 (setup on the 8th)
At the Kern County Fairgrounds
This is a "pay-to-play" event
For information, contact Michael Larson at

National Train Show: Salt Lake City, UT
July 11-14, 2019
At the Mountain America Exposition Center, Sandy, UT
(About 12 miles from Little America Hotel)

For information, contact Gerry Bill at

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Reference Resources

NorCalF has prepared a document that clarifies and enhances the general Free-mo standards for the specific needs and goals of NorCalF.

NorCalF Guidelines
The Free-mo Standard

We have also prepared a document that describes our DCC practices.
NorCalF DCC Standards

We communicate with each other using a Yahoo! Group. Participation in the group requires approval from a group moderator. A link is provided on the site for requesting a subscription. NorCalF Yahoo! Group

Gary Green's Trackwork Handbook includes many of the lessons we've learned over the more than 15 years that we've been building Free-mo modules.

Sample construction plans and recommendations that we have found to work very well can be found on this page: Appendix 1: Planning

The Modular Signaling System (MSS) standard including information for modelers as well as developers is now available.

Bridge rail recommendations developed by Gary Green have proven to be helpful in avoiding derailments.

Gregg Fuhriman's Occupancy Bus Utility Board 3 (OBUB-3) is now available.

At the 2011 National Train Show, we used these NTS 2011 Guidelines for the layout. We would probably use similar guidelines for any large layout that we sponsor in the future.

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Photos and snapshots of many of the layouts we've participated in can be found at the following locations.

NorCalF: The Early Days

On the left side menu at:

Snapshots of the 2011 National Train Show layout.

A San Bernardino layout at the time of the 2013 RPM meet in the station.

A 2013 National Train Day event in San Luis Obispo.

Michael Larson photos of 2014 layout in the San Bernardino station.

NorCalF's layout at the 2014 Santa Fe convention in Fresno, CA.

NorCalF's layout at the 2015 Colfax Railroad Days

NorCalF/SoCalF layout at the 2016 SFRH&MS mini-meet, West Covina, CA

NorCalF's event May 13-15, 2016 in Clovis, CA

NorCalF/SoCalF layout at the 2017 SFRH&MS mini-meet, West Covina, CA

NorCalF's event June 2-4, 2017 in Clovis, CA

Several of Harry Wong's galleries.

A number of Bob Schrempp's galleries.

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For comments, corrections, and additional information, contact Gary Green at