Free-mo Endings

Before you ask, I am not giving up Free-mo! This month we are going to take a look at designs for Free-mo ends. These will be very small, short modules that will be the end of the line instead of just a drop-off where the last module ends.

View of end module from above.
End module pictured from below.
View from rear of end module.

Lately, I have had to do a few setups either by myself of with a very limited number of people. With a limited number of modules the layout is setup for more switching and transfer runs than running full size trains. The switching layout is still fun to operate but since we do not have return loops, the end is just an unfinished stub without purpose. I would like to spruce up this look with a couple small end caps that will give a more professional look and maybe provide a couple small matching industries besides.

Exploded view from above.

The end module is designed at 24 inches wide and only 12 inches long. The design has a round fascia. I did this so that there are no sharp edges to catch on and it invites you to walk around it. The weight is kept at a minimum by using 3/4 inch plywood only for the face and the single spine. Circles are cut into the spine to help keep the weight down. The fascia is 1/4 inch “bendable” plywood. To keep the shape I will use 1/4 underlayment at the top and bottom cut into a semi-circle. Deep clamps will be required during setups to reach inside the frame. The top will have a 1/2″ pink foam top bonded to the upper layer of underlayment. I am still debating what options to use for legs. I will test without and adjust from there. I think just one should work and I will clap it from underneath if required.

Exploded view from below.

At only 12 inches deep, the industry should only handle one car at a time. This is not the most prototypical arrangement but with a little imagination we can achieve the feel of a true industry. Possible small married industries could include a simple gravel pit with a single excavator and then the other end module would have a small cement works. It would not be necessary to have the full gravel pit or the full cement works. just the load and unload portions would do. Another possibility is a small grain elevator and a bakery .If the module was expanded a few more inches a medium-sized turntable could be fit into module. Although this is not usually done in the more modern age, it was actually a common practice in the early steam days.

End view with curved plywood removed.

Other possible scenic effects (without an industry) include abandoned right of way to the point of small trees growing through the tracks just beyond the bumper or other stopping mechanism. A hill with a tunnel that goes nowhere (I have seen this done by others). The number of tragic ways the rails end is only limited to your imagination.

One additional use for these module ends will be for displaying models. When both units are clamped together they will make a very small but nice display area for rolling stock and locomotives. I could even make a small middle module just to give a little running room.

#modelrailroad #modelrailways #train #modeltrains #freemo

Author: Marshall Stull

3 thoughts on “Free-mo Endings

  1. Well, this is an interesting idea. You can’t get much smaller than the tail end of a line or siding. Hmmmm, might have to give it a try.

  2. Here’s some of my ideas:

    A road and/or abandoned grade crossing.
    Track damaged by a storm.
    Newly constructed building.

    You could even make it into a coal trestle in the steam era or other unloading structure for the diesel age.

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