Northern California Free-mo
Updated November 17, 2023
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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)
Ed Sutorik at (Berkeley)

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Event Schedule

National Train Show
Long Beach, CA
August 9-11, 2024
Participation cancelled

Fall BarnBQ
Aptos, CA
September 19-23, 2024
Contact: Gary Green,

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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 Participation in our group requires approval from a group moderator. If you wish to join the group, contact Gary Green at (Aptos) or Ed Sutorik at (Berkeley)

Gary Green's Trackwork Handbook includes many of the lessons we've learned over the more than 20 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 in which we've participated:
(720p, full screen recommended)

Aptos BarnBQ, August 31-September 2, 2019
Includes a brief look back to 1999

Bakersfield event March 8-10, 2019

Aptos BarnBQ, September 1-3, 2018

NorCalF's event June 1-3, 2018 in Clovis, CA

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

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

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

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

NorCalF's layout at the 2015 Colfax Railroad Days

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

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

A 2013 National Train Day event in San Luis Obispo.

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

Snapshots of the 2011 National Train Show layout.

On the left side menu at:

NorCalF: The Early Days

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