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Oklahoma Free-Mo Guidelines

Okalahoma Free-mo Guiding Principles and Rules to Live By


Oklahoma Free-mo is different than most modular railroad clubs, thus our membership policy is different.  It is structured to promote a particular modeling philosophy; that is, operations and modeling should seek to emulate the prototype.  The Free-mo organization is characterized by its very non-traditional structure. There are no club officers or club dues. The organization owns no modules, radios, throttles and/or other equipment. Apropos, the membership guidelines shift membership policy away from one that is wholly contingent upon dues and module ownership. Instead, the guidelines articulate a membership policy which seek to ensure that a higher standard of modeling is maintained, that modeling and operations are prototypic, and that these objectives do not result via an unfair burden upon of a few.

Oklahoma Free-mo seeks members who share in our philosophy. We welcome and encourage new members of all skill levels. Although each person imports different strengths to the hobby, we want our unity to arise from our shared objectives.  Membership is a tiered system, in which prospective members become guest operators, operators and members. We believe that a tiered membership serves both the perspective members and the association in various ways. First, it reinforces the policy that group membership is not only a function of module ownership. It is a function of an adherence to guidelines as they conjoin with a philosophy for prototypical modeling. In this way, a person who has bought modules from a club member hasn’t necessarily bought club membership. Second, given that members hip requires standardized equipment, a DCC throttle, and a module, the tiered membership system gives an operator a sense of ownership within the group as one makes progress to meet all the guidelines of full membership.

There are general guidelines which apply to all levels of membership, including guest operators. These general guidelines are:

  1. Each person who operates on the layout must own Digitrax or Digitrax compatible throttle. In the case of guest operators, the guest’s host provides a throttle if the guest does not have his/her own. In the case of operators, the operator must make arrangements PRIOR to the show to use a throttle.
  2. All locomotives are required to be DCC equipped to operate on the layout. See DCC Addresses below for more information.
  3. The locomotives and rolling stock that are on the layout are not accessible to anyone operating on the layout. Locomotives and rolling stock shall only be operated by the owner or someone that the owner designates.
  4. All locomotives and rolling stock must be prototypic in nature and must be operated in the appropriate prototypic fashion.
  5. General guidelines regarding pooled equipment:
    1. Only upon the consent of the equipment’s owner may rolling stock be pooled.
    2. Once pooled, pooled equipment is not accessible to any operator within the club. Only those who contribute pooled equipment and those authorized by the “pool group” may operate pooled equipment.
    3. All rolling stock in pool service must have owner identification marks.

Guest Operator:

  1. Guest operator is a limited status reserved for people investigating the layout for the first or second time.
  2. Guest operators are supervised by a host member. The host member insures that the general guidelines are met by the guest operator in operation.
  3. Guest operators may operate their own equipments as long as it meets club standards. Guest operators or prospective members will be allowed to operate on a layout.


  1. Operator is a status reserved to prospective members who have the endorsement of a sponsoring member.
  2. Operator is a status intended for individuals who are actively progressing to full membership.
  3. Operators may run trains on the layout if on one of the following conditions:
    1. The operator assists in set-up and/or take down phases.
    2. The operator contributes a module to the club.
  4. Operators espouse prototypical operating and modeling practices.
  5. Operators are expected to progress towards Member status; those who fail to do so within a year will loose group privileges.
  6. Sponsoring Members’ responsibilities vis-à-vis Operators:
    1. Serve as a mentor or coach to operators.
    2. Assert themselves as the primary contact and first resource for any questions and concerns.
    3. Instruct in DCC use, specifically Digitrax throttles and equipment.
    4. Instruct in operating procedures and protocols.
    5. Assist in the construction of the module and insure that it meets all standards before the first set-up date.

Operators attain member status upon the following:

  1. Members must meet the approval of group members. In this way, if there are operators who do not embrace the philosophy of Free-mo, or if an operator has an abrasive and authoritarian nature to the extent that his/her membership is a source of contention for other members, that operator will be excluded from Utah Free-mo.
  2. Members must conform to the club practices as established in the General, Guest Operator and Operator guidelines.

Furthermore, Members must:

  1. Be DCC proficient and demonstrate proficiency as an operator.
  2. Be familiar with basic operating practices.
  3. Build a module.
  4. Have an FRS radio.
  5. Have a Digitrax throttle.
  6. Have locomotives that are DCC equipped and appropriate rolling stock.

Those members who fail to comply with the rules and standards of the group outlined above and in the group's Policies and Standards (below) may not be allowed to operate until their module and/or equipment is brought into compliance. Those who abuse the group’s membership policy, or probationary members who do meet the requirements for full membership in a timely manner (generally within a year) may loose group privileges.


    1. Run Chief
      1. Volunteers to be the official representative of the group for a specific show or set-up.
      2. Coordinates participation of module owners and plans the layout.
      3. Makes layout plan available to participants prior to set-up and supervises as the set-up as needed.
      4. At the discretion of the Run Chief, responsibilities may be delegated as needed.
    2. All modules must be tested and checked to insure the meet Free-Mo standards before they will be considered for display in a show. This shall be the responsibility of the individual module owner with the exception of new modules built by Associate Members which should be checked by their mentor/sponsor.
    3. Completion of Modules:
      To participate in the layout, modules must meet ALL standards for interface and operation. Additionally, modules should meet the following guidelines prior to participation in public shows.
      1. No bare wood. Module must be painted standard color.
      2. Basic scenery and ballast in place.
      3. Skirts in place.
      4. Frogs on turnouts are to be wired and live.
      5. New modules should be tested before entering a show.
    4. Operation of the layout at shows will be coordinated through the Run Chief or a Dispatcher if needed.
    5. A roster of all members' motive power and DCC addresses to be used on the club layout shall be maintained by the run chief. This roster shall include the following: Owner's name, owner's identification mark, locomotive type, color, road name, road number, and DCC address.
    6. DCC Addresses used are available on a first come first serve basis. No two locomotives with the same address may be on the layout at the same time. Address 03 shall not be used by any club member as a permanent address. Address 00 shall be used for testing non DCC equipped locomotives only. Locomotives without decoders shall not be removed from the layout immediately after their testing is complete.
    7. Members with modules in a show must make arrangements to get their modules to the show at the time agreed upon and be there for set up and tear down, unless other arrangements have been made. Members who do not have modules in a show should assist in the set up and tear down of the layout.
    8. Members are responsible for their own module skirts & rope stands (one stand per 4'of straight module or two per comer module.


    1. The group will use and fully adhere to the published Free-mo standards.  These are available at  
    2. Scenery should be realistic. It is understood that model railroad scenery is a much compressed version of the real world, but care should be taken to see that scenic exaggerations be kept to a minimum. All colors used for rock, water, uses and shrubbery, etc. should be realistic. Dirt, ground cover, track ballast, etc. should not look out of scale.
    3. Structures, vehicles, figures and details should be realistic in appearance, consistent with the time period and location modeled, and in good taste.
      1. All wheel sets shall conform to NMRA standard S-4. A Type 1, Mark IV NMRA HO Standards Gauge shall be used to determine proper wheel set conformance.
      2. It is recommended that car weight should conform to NMRA recommended practice RP 20. 1. The optimum car weight (W) shall be an initial weight of one (1) ounce plus additional weight of one-half (½) ounce per inch of car body length (L). Formula: W =3D 1 + (0.5L). This standard shall be applied to all unpowered rolling stock with a tolerance of plus or minus ½ ounce.
      3. Kadee or compatible couplers shall be the standard coupler. Coupler and trip pin height shall match those respective heights on a Kadee HO Coupler Height Gauge. All couplers shall have sufficient lateral movement within their coupler pockets to permit smooth train operation on curves.
      4. All rolling stock shall carry an owner's identification mark on the underside of the car body. Such marks are to be affixed in a permanent manner.
      5. Rolling stock and loads should be chosen based on: time period modeled, realism and quality. Rolling stock and loads should be painted and weathered as needed. Rolling stock and loads be in good taste and appear realistic, those that are designed as toys or not of the proper scale or design should not be displayed.

Revised – November 2007

© Oklahoma Free-MO 2007