Freemo a Family Affair /Big Valley Alberta

Modules, campers & tents began to arrive on Thursday evening.  My family set up the tent trailer as I returned to Calgary for the Green River module set in Calgary, a trip of some 120km (80miles) we were ready to unload first thing Friday morning.  The modules were unloaded & uncased by 10:00 a.m. track cleaning & roughing in was the order of the morning, as the late arrivals where uncased & incorporated into the layout.  The local Lions Club dropped off the community barb-q grill, lunch & layout construction, we had trains moving on the layout before midnight. 480+ ft of benchwork with over thirty owners, plus the Calgary Free-Mo group's yard.  

This setup is a highlight of the Free-Mo movement as my entire family looks forward to getting onto a massive layout with their trains. The variety of modules, the different scenery from desert to prairie, foothill to mountain all different scenes were represented, the layout certainly gave the impression of traveling from somewhere to somewhere. As i run high priority mainline trains my train speeds are a little faster than most, it still would take me thirty minutes to run the length of the layout & return. My wife who likes her Heisler and Shay logging trains takes about one & a half hours to run out & return.  My youngest daughter takes her mid sixties Union Pacific mixed freight out during the hours of the steam excursion train crowd.  The Free-Mo Layout is a draw for the steam excursion train crowd at the end of the line.  Throttles are shared with wide eyed youngsters who can't believe that they are running a train on this huge layout. Then after the steam train leaves the barb-q is fired up, salads & deserts are put out & a great meal is shared amongst the exhibitors.  Long train night ensues, one member of the Calgary Group tests the trackwork with a monster 151 car coal train.   Sunday morning and the "Fair Weather Pancake Breakfast" is put on to feed the exhibitors. Again the steam train arrives with another group of wide eyed youngsters & awe struck adults, at the size of the layout & ease of operating. The Calgary Free-Mo Group that organizes this yearly event are to be commended, my family really enjoys the camaraderie of the group & the laidback low pressure method of displaying our modules & trains.   


Lorne Rouleau