Northern California Free-mo
About Us             Events           Resources            Photos

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.

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Event Schedule

SoCal Free-mo Layout: Costa Mesa, CA
at the Great Train Expo
January29-31, 2016
For information, contact Gerry Bill at

NorCal/SoCal Free-mo Layout: West Covina, CA
at the Santa Fe (SFRH&MS) Mini-Meet
February 5-8, 2016
For information, contact Gary Green at

Central California Free-mo Layout: Bakersfield, CA
at the Golden Empire Historical and Modeling Society Train Show
March 11-13, 2016
For information, contact Michael Larson at

NorCal Free-mo Layout: Clovis, CA

May 13-15, 2016
Details TBD
For information, contact Dan Risdon at

Aptos BarnBQ: Aptos, CA
September 3-5, 2016
At the Aptos Barn
For information, contact Gary Green 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 standard including information
for modelers as well as developers is now available.

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

At the 2011 National Train Show, we used these guidelines

for the layout. We would probably use these guidelines for
any large layout that we sponsor in the future.
NTS 2011 Guidelines

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

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 Santa Fe convention in Fresno, CA.

NorCalF's layout at the Colfax Railroad Days

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