Big Railroad Garage Sale in Monticello, July 16 & 17

In conjunction with the > Monticello Railway Museum < and this Saturday’s > Donut Train <, the Illinois Terminal Division is participating in the Museum’s Garage Sale this weekend, Saturday July 16 (11am-5pm) and Sunday, July 17 (10am-5pm). The sale will be held at the VFW Hall/Wabash Center at 108 E. Livingston in downtown Monticello. Wabash Center is across the parking lot just south of the downtown train station.

The Museum has an immense offering of railroadania, books, magazines, and other RR-related items. Proceeds will go toward supporting the Museum’s historical preservation work.

ITD has a nice collection of model railroad equipment and supplies, both donated items and things surplus to some of our members, which like the Museum’s stuff, is priced to move. Proceeds will support ITD’s promotion of the hobby, as well as the annual Lincoln Square Train Show in Urbana >(next year’s show will be March 25 & 26, 2023.)<

We have lots of items in HO, plus some N scale. Most of the cars are equipped with Kadee couplers and are priced in the $3 to $5 range. There are a couple of nice HO Atlas S-2 switchers (Santa Fe and Boston & Maine) in like new condition @ $40, as well as a N Kato SD45 ($50). In an sense, pretty run of the mill stuff, but with encouraging prices.

There are some items that are rather unusual or demonstrate some exceptional skill. These include four HO standard gauge freight cars scratchbuilt ($20 each) by the late Bob Miller (on the right in the pic above), similar to his HOn3 narrowgauge cars that we were running on his HOn3 module at this year’s Lincoln Square Show.

If you are into narrowgauge (or N), there are several modules he built with handlaid track available. One is an HOn3 Timesaver-based switching module ($100) with about a dozen turnouts, all handlaid.

Pic of part of the HOn3 module

Another is a HOn30/N scale ($100), also with Bob’s signature flowing trackwork. Both are complete with hand throws for the turnouts and are wired, so you can take them home and start running trains right away.

There are also several other “blank canvasses” of panels of various widths and 80″ long, along with wall brackets to make mounting them easily on walls.

There’s even an original Moto-Tool ($10)

Want something to build that is a little more ambitious, but still fitting in a reasonable amount of room? We are also offering a nearly complete set of module framework ($100) that bolts together to form a layout that is about 10′ x 10′. It is composed of 4 corner sections and 3 side sections.

The fourth side section is what Bob built the HOn3 module on that we show at the train show. To complete the framework to make a continuous run all that would be needed would be to reconstruct it as a complete square would be to replicate one of the other side sections. Adjustable legs and all hardware are included and everything is numbered to make assembly easy. The sections are about 16″ wide, so this framework is suitable for everything from N to Z up through HO, plus may work for a narrowgauge or traction layout in larger scales.

Drop by and see what’s on offer. There are some great deals and plenty of railroad enthusiast discussion that will cost you nothing. And you will be contributing to a good cause.

Cornfield Free-mo Report

Back in April 2022, the 7th Cornfield Free-Mo Meet was held in McLean, IL. Organized loosely by Tom Ludlam, these meets happen in the gym of a local school. I’d heard of them happening, which they generally do in the spring and fall, but this was my first visit. UPDATE: The fall 2022 Cornfield Free-Mo meet will be October 7th to 9th. I brought back a bunch of pics of the April meet and meant to post these some time back, then our cat died and it took some catching up to get back around to this. Enjoy!

The first two pics give an over all view of this meet’s layou
Free-Mo provides an end-connection and power control standard that allows for variations in how the modules are arranged

Here’s the track diagram of this meet’s layout.

One end had a fair-sized yard

There were several junctions present that could provide alternative arrangements in future meets

Kimble’s Viaduct was pretty impressive

Another view of Kimble’s Viaduct
You can almost feel the cool breezes from those pines

A Midwest RR downtown

Free-Mo module construction relied on a basic design of plywood, with foam filler to lighten things
This layout was built on one level, except for Kimble’s Viaduct, but Free-Mo allows for grades, too

After passing through the large yard that started the pics here, the line terminates in this triple staging loop

Work goes on as people operate. Free-Mo is a satisfying combination of display, camaraderie, trading tips and advice and operations while hanging out with others who share4 a passion for model railroading.

The Cornfield Free-Mo group has a Facebook page at:

Like many social functions, there has been some uncertainty due to the pandemic, but the Cornfield Free-Mo meet will most like happen next this fall in late September/early October. For further info, check in with the Facebook group or contact Tom at McLean Depot:

All Steamed Up at Al’s

Ernie Noa traveled a little further west to meet up with a number of other Midwest Live Steamers at his friend Al’s place recently. Ernie passed along a couple of Youtube videos to share with everyone.

The first is composed of various still images and available at:

Stills from steaming at Al’s by Ernie Noa

Here’s video featuring lots of cool pacing shots by Ernie:

Video of live steam running at Al’s

Thanks for sharing, Ernie!

Thanks for a Great Train Show!

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the many who helped put on this year’s Lincoln Square Train Show. Public attendance was significant, despite our being a bit short on vendor attendance. We’re certainly looking for more vendors for next year’s show, which will be March 25 and 26, 2023.

Hundred year-old+ Illini Railroad Club’s Free-mo modules
Ernie Noa video of Midwest Live Steamer’s layout

We had a great turnout of display layouts, including several for which this was the first public show. People stayed busy building during the pandemic and it showed.

Financially, we’re in good shape for next year. Due to table sales being down somewhat, this was a good result. Once expenses were accounted for, we broke even and preserved our $500~ cushion of seed money to put on next year’s show. We are particularly looking for one or more multi-table vendors carrying new and currently carried model train equipment and supplies in HO and N. Info on next years show can be found at our Show page, found at

Here are some more pics from the 2022 show. First of all, the Illinois Terminal Division tables, where the make-and-take organized by Assistant Superintendent Larry Tschopp was almost constantly busy with new modelers trying their hand at building a car.

Building some kits

Want to join the fun or need help with your model railroad dreams? We be thrilled to have you as a member!

I brought my HOn3 4×8 for it’s first showing, along with the HOn3 handlaid module built by late member Bob Miller.

Thanks to Ernie Noa for the last three pics!

Here are some more of the many layouts seen at the 2022 show.

Jon Crawford’s layout in a guitar case

Brian Huang’s switching layout
Crawford County modular group layout

Another N-scale layout.

C-U @ 2022 Train Show @ Lincoln Square March 26 & 27

After two years off, this weekend, Saturday March 26 and Sunday March 27, sees the return of the Lincoln Square Train Show to downtown Urbana, Hours are 8am to 5pm on Saturday and 11am to 4 pm on Sunday. Public admission is FREE and there is plenty of free parking at Lincoln Square.

Railroad enthusiasts, both prototype and model, will find plenty to enjoy at this weekend’s train show. Several historical societies will attend, along with the Monticello Railway Museum. The museum will also be running its ever popular kid’s train.“““““`

ITD exhibit at 2019 Train Show featuring Thomas Northway’s Tuscola Beltway

There will be vendors of various types and scales of model trains, along with layouts that you can see trains run on, and in some case you can even operate on. Among the returning favorites is the live steam group, who operate on large scale track, plus the Midwest Central N scale layout and a 4’x8′ layout based on Tuscola. New layouts this year include an O scale switching layout, a N scale T-Track layout, and a layout built into a guitar case. Also appearing for the first time will be a couple of HOn3 narrowgauge layouts, including one with beautiful handlaid track done by the late ITD member Bob Miller.

We look forward to seeing you there. If you’d like to get more involved with anything you see or just want to know more about it, stop by the Illinois Terminal Division exhibit and say hi!

A note about masks. Although there is still signage up at the mall entrances about masks being required in Lincoln Square, that no longer is the case for public areas of the mall as of March 1 when state masking guidelines were relaxed. Please note that individual tenants may set their own requirements in their spaces and a few continue to require masks.

Decatur Train Show, April 23 and 24

Decatur’s Spring Train Show will be Saturday April 23 and Sunday April 24, 2022, Saturday 10am to 4 pm and Sunday 11am to 4pm, at the Decatur Civic Center (corner of Eldorado and Franklin in Decatur.) Adult admission is $5 with kids 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult.

Tables are $40/each. Set-up is available also on April 22. Contact Rob at or at 217-461-2319 for more info. Deadline for table reservations is April 15th.

Masks Optional – Get Those Tables Now!

If you as a vendor found yourself undecided about attending the March 26 and 27 Lincoln Square Train Show in Urbana, Illinois because of the mask requirements, please note that masks are now optional following the relaxation of state masking requirements on March 1. There will be only a very limited number of tables available after we submit our requirements to the table vendor at the end of this week.

Please call 217-344-5609 or contact us via if you still need tables to let us know your paid registration is in the mail. Reports from other recent shows indicate the public will be enthusiastically crowding in, but if you’re not present you will be missing these sales.

It’s On! 2022 Lincoln Square Train Show, March 26-27!

Lincoln Square Train Show registrations forms are out

Ms R says "Don't miss out! Get those Vendor registration forms back ASAP! This may be a sell-out!
The train show mailing ready to go to the post office, where they went into the mail system today. You should see them arrive soon if you’re on the mailing list. If not, these materials will be posted linked to the Show page elsewhere on this site.

While we’re running a little late, the Lincoln Square Train Show registration forms went in the mail at the post office. They should begin arriving during the coming week.

An important update is that the train show will have a soft opening at 8am on Saturday, March 26, two hours earlier than usual. This is to facilitate everyone getting in while The Land Connection’s Winter Market operates from 8am to noon in the High Court area of the mall.

Saturday, the train show continues until 5pm, then on Sunday, March 27 it runs from 11am to 4pm.

You’ll see multiple layouts in operation, including a fan favorite live steam operation. We also hope to have the Monticello Railway Museum’s ride-on kid’s railway back again, which will complement nicely that the Saturday Market because that is the day that TLC is having its kid’s day at the market on Saturday morning.

Then there will be lots of vendors, where you may find that special car or locomotive, along with numerous railroad historical societies, who offer documentation and research opportunities to help you find those favorite parts you need to build great models with.

For more info, visit our Lincoln Square Train Show page for the latest info at

Ernie Sends Some Videos

Ernie Noa, one of the Division’s members who is into live steam, has been building a HO layout in his basement. He has sent a couple of videos, one of a brass NYC steamer and the other of a built and running MDC Shay. Enjoy!