Illini Railroad Club Building Freemo

I had the pleasure of visiting the Illini Railroad Club in Newmark Civil Engineering Lab on the University of Illinois campus for their first ops session of the semester

IRC is rebuilding this junction into a four quadrant configuration

With a little over two months to the Lincoln Square Train Show on March 25 and 26, it may still be a work in progress by then. That flexibility to build and show at the same time is one of the features of Freemo, a modular standard that allows for great flexibility in setting up what shows up at Freemo meets.

Yard on some of the new SORF-funded modules

The IRC formerly had a layout in a recently remodeled residence hall, but has headed in a different more modern direction by switching to Freemo. SORF (student activity fee funding) has paid for several module kits that are now part of the group you see here.

You can connect with the IRC via Facebook:;!!DZ3fjg!7Ho92RFr1uxl41D2ofIUYU8n4Vh7jVY5mBTL53OQWlxZdY1CfNlRD13vXPJVz9e638ClWr9tq_zgWKLiWwNFu5sjuQ$

Starting at noon on Saturday, March 25, the train show will be sponsoring an opportunity to set up and operate on your FreeMo module(s). The IRC will have their modules already set-up as a starter group, then we’ll expand into the space the Saturday Market leaves open when they leave at noon. Come join us! More Show info here:

Cornfield 9, May 19-21, 2023: Freemo Meet in McLean, IL

Dates for the 9th iteration of Freemo in McLean, IL – Cornfield 9 – were recently announced as May 19, 20, & 21, 2023.

Pic of the set-up at a previous Cornfield meet in McLean IL

Freemo is a modular layout standard that specifies the end connectors, but otherwise leaves the modeler a free hand to shape their modules how they see fit. Locally, the Illini Railroad Club has shifted to Freemo following loss of their previous layout space to a dorm remodel. They would ordinarily be at Cornfield 9 in May, but since that date this year is after school is out it will limit their participation. However, the IRC will bring many of their Freemo modules to set up on operational display at the Urbana Lincoln Square Train Show on March 25 & 26, 2023.

On May 19-21, 2023, Cornfield 9 will be hosted again by Tom Ludlam of McLean Depot in a local McLean school gymnasium seen in the pic above. This continues to be a free event. You may contact Tom now for more info, with full details coming in March.

McLean Depot
266 E Dixie Rd
PO Box 266
McLean IL 61754
M-F 10-6
Sat 10-5

Here’s a few more pics of the kind of great modeling that will be on display in May at the next Cornfield Meet.

Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL
Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL
Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL
Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL
Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL
Cornfield Freemo Meet, McLean, IL

February Train Shows: Pacific, MO, Feb. 18 and East Peoria, IL Feb. 19

You’ll put a few miles on the car over a single weekend, but two great shows coming up in mid-February. On Saturday, February 18 in Pacific, MO, the Pacific Eagles Train Show holds its single-day run.

Pacific, MO Train Shows, February 18

Back on this side of the Big Muddy the next day is the Peoria and Pekin Train Fair on Sunday, February 19.

Peoria and Pekin Train Show, February 19

If you have any info on other nearby Midwest train shows in February, please post it up here.

March 2023 Train Shows: St. Louis, MO, March 11; Springfield, IL, March 12; and Urbana, IL, March 25-26

March 2023 brings a pretty full schedule packed into two weekends. On March 11, the Boeing Employees Railroad Club will hold their first Railroad Swap Meet of 2023 in St. Louis, MO.

Boeing Employees Swap Meet, St. Louis, March 11

The next day in Springfield, IL is the Springfield Railroad Society’s Train Fair on Sunday, March 12.

Springfield (IL) Railroad Society Train Fair, March 12, 2023

The last weekend in March is Urbana, Illinois turn to shine with what we like to call the friendliest train show in the region. It’s March 25 and 26, 2023 and we hope to see you there. Here’s a direct link to the shown webpage where you can find registration and contact information:

I’ll have the latest version of our flyer uop soon here..

January Train Shows: St. Charles, MO, Jan.7; Mattoon, IL, Jan. 21-22; and La Crosse, WI, Jan. 28

Train shows are back in a big way for 2023. The first weekend in January has the St. Charles Model Railroad Club’s Trainfair 2023 in the town of the same name in Missouri on January 7.

Trainfair 2023 in St. Charles, MO

Later in the month and in Illinois Terminal Division’s area is the Mattoon, IL show at Cross County Mall on January 21-22.

Cross County Mall Train Show, Mattoon, IL Jan. 21 & 22

Traveling some again, on January 28 is the La Crosse, WI Great Tri-State Rail Sale.

Great Tri-State Rail Sale, La Crosse, WI, Jan. 28

If you have any more train show info for January 2023, please post it up here.

2023 Urbana Train Show, March 25 & 26, Postcards Are Out!

After massaging the revised mailing list into Mail Merge, we can now relatively easily update and print the train show mailing list. The “save the date” reminder post card went out Monday. I received mine today. Those on the mailing list, plus ITD members, should receive a neon yellow card soon.

If you don’t receive a card, but wish to be on the reminder list, send a brief note to me, , and I’ll add you to the list. There will be a mailing with the vendor and display layout applications going out at New Year’s as the next mailing

You can also reach us every Wednesday on Zoom at 819 5434 5485, code 088555.

RR Days in Monticello: A Good Time Was Had by All

Live steam at Railroad Days in Monticello, Illinois.
The workers are short and the steam trains are not very big, but they keep running round and round at Monticello Railway Museum’s 2022 Railroad Days on Sept. 17-18.
The Midwest Live Steamer’s brought their scale trains out to run alongside the Museum’s 1:1 steamers.

ITD Member Ernie Noa is the local organizer for the live steamers and provided this video
Ernie also captured a pic of yours truly holding down the ITD table featuring audience operation on one of Bob Miller’s modules.

Another goal beyond helping ensure crowd safety around the live steam was promoting ITD’s 2023 Lincoln Square Train Show next March 25 & 26

ITD Meeting and Helping Live Steam during Railroad Days @ Monticello Railway Museum, Sept 17 & 18

ITD member Ernie Noa brings his live steam buddies from across the Midwest to run at the Monticello Railway Museums Railroad Days on Sept. 17 & 18. As we have in years past, ITD will be helping the live steamers with assisting public interaction and ensuring safety for engineers and the public alike.

We’ll have one of the Bob Miller handlaid modules there for the public to also operate on and will also be publicizing the 2023 Lincoln Square Train Show, March 25 & 26.

Due to the usual second Saturday of the month being a major conflict for holding our meeting this month – even before Buzz Swett passed away and provided an even more compelling reason to not meet then except in support of him and his family at the services – we also will be holding the monthly meeting at Monticello. We also hope to make it available via Zoom using the usual monthly meeting number and code on Saturday at 1pm.

So join us live, in person of via the wonders of the internet,

RIP: Long-time ITD Director Augustus “Buzz” Swett Passes

It is with heavy heart that I note the passing of Buzz Swett , long-time ITD member and director, at the age of 77. Services are today, Saturday, Sept. 10 in Cisco, IL at the Cisco United Methodist Church. Visitation is 10am-noon with a Memorial Service at noon.

Buzz was an Air Force veteran, as well as a model railroader. He will be missed by family and friends. Memorably, he was present when the B-36 landed at Chanute AFB, where it was on display for more than three decades before the based closed. Later in service, Buzz served on base in the Titan missile maintenance program and was the base Sovietologist prior to his retirement.

Chief Clerk/Paymaster Allen Byrne Wins NMRA President’s Award for Division Service in MWR

It’s with great satisfaction that I get to write this brief article on Allen Byrne, ITD’s longtime Chief Clerk and Paymaster, winning the NMRA President’s Award for Division Service. This award is presented annually to one member in each Region who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help a division maintain service to members and other duties that make them an exceptional representative of what service to our organization represents.

Allen riding on the live steam in Decatur during a ITD visit a few years back

While I have been Superintendent for many years. Allen’s service as an officer extends all the way back to the revival of what was formerly know as the “Southern Illinois Division.” The SID had been inactive for many years when we revived what we renamed the Illinois Terminal Division in 2005. Without Allen’s steady hand on our records and finances, ITD would not exist. Without his further extending his efforts to do the paperwork associated with being a non-profit, it’s quite possible we wouldn’t be sponsoring the annual Lincoln Square Train Show.

It’s hard for me to find words that express my personal appreciation for Allen’s reliable help when I need to call on him at various times. He has always come through to make what needs to happen, happen. I urge every member to personally express your appreciation to Allen when you get a chance to congratulate him on earning this award. Thanks, Allen, you are someone I know I can count on to do all the detail work needed to serve our membership. It is much appreciated!