Module Info

RS Tower also includes the facility to attach modules to extend the layout at either or both ends, we expect mostly these will end up forming branch lines from the main layout but there is a potential for them to have main line running if provision of a suitable terminal or fiddle yard at the far end existed.

Modules may also appear at shows separately from the main layout, effectively some of them can be operated as a small layout at a show.

On these pages we will be defining our module specifications, and also providing more details of the modules we have available already – more info (including standards and specs) will be added as time passes.

Our basic module specs are developed from the existing design concepts used in Europe by the Fremo system, and also the variation used by modellers in the US known as Freemo.

Why have we designed our own module spec?

The existing ‘NMRA-spec’ modules we feel don’t promote realistic operation which is something that several folk in our group are interested in. The focus on building big multi-track ovals tends to result in long fixed formation trains running round and around, whilst we don’t think there’s anything wrong with that per-se we like to build layouts that are operable with some regard to the prototype. The “straight line multiples of 4′ and multiple track” specs can also be very constricting in terms of designing layouts that are pleasing aesthetically or that reflect specific prototype locations. I guess in short the old NMRA specs didn’t suit what we wanted from a 21st century layout design point of view.

So we took a look around and checked out work that other modellers were doing, we were already aware of a couple of California based freemo groups, Bay area based Northern California Free-mo and St Luis Obispo based Freemo SLO from our previous work on Rock Springs. Over in Germany a chap called Wolfgang Dudler is building a home layout partly based on Fremo modules that he also takes to shows.

The freedom in terms of design makes these modules very interesting and realistic to look at (although I don’t want to play down the great modelling those guys have done!). Looking at the specs though we didn’t feel either version matched our needs exactly, and as to the best of our knowledge nobody in the field of UK American modelling was using either of these specs we felt we could customise them to suit our needs.

A rough summary of our ‘tweaks’ would be:

  • US Freemo Specs for the track layouts (the European ones assume it will always be a branch line, whereas the US are built from the start to be capable of main line ops.)
  • Track runs to module ends rather than relying on ‘loose’ rails to bridge module joints as in the US specs.
  • Simpler DCC wiring.
  • Changes in track specs to have the ‘default’ main line track as the easy-to-obtain (in the UK) Peco code 83.

Enough of the background:

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