I have been pondering and thinking what area to base my Free-Mo modules on. After brainstorming and kept in mind that we needed scenery-run through modules. I also want to incorporate a gentle S-turn thru the modules and a siding or team track to park a few cars. To get some ideas, I scoured Google Earth Satellite images and followed the Santa Fe (BNSF) mains for prototypical areas to model. I followed the track north from Albuquerque based on Free-Mo single main concept, until I spotted a slight s-turn called Apache Canyon, north of Lamy NM that had potential. The tracks follow a narrowly cut canyon next to I-25 and has a bridge with a signal near by. That was one possibility, until I scanned west of Albuquerque on the Gallup Sub until I saw this nice north track s-curve diverge from the south track.
This is where the mains separate to combat the ruling east and west bound grades topping the continental divide east of Gallup New Mexico. East bound trains run on the north track (left hand running) and where the tracks merge back, east bound trains turn south then back east, giving a me the type of easement I want model and incorporate into my Free-Mo modules. I pulled out my Santa Fe Western Region Timetable #1, Gallup Subdivision, in effect May 21-1989, looked up the area for location names and elevations, and found the area in general was named Pegs, MP118.8.
Whether this is the exact location of the s-curve I want to model, it seemed a reasonable name for my modules given the timetable information. The next step was to measure my Explorer and found that I could get 2- 2’x6’ modules comfortably in the back with the rear half seat folded down. My original plan was to build two 6’ modules with an S-curve and siding. Even though I was basing my modules on a prototypical area that had 2 mains, the diverted mains would allow me to model the single main that contained the s-curve. I sketched in my siding-team track and extended it to the very end of the module. I realized the siding had that diverging look that I had seen in the Google Earth satellite scans of Pegs NM area. As I studied my plans more, I thought to myself if I could extend the siding to rejoin the s-curve main, I would have that 2 track main representing the diverging routes of the continental divide. I quickly measured my Explorer for 3 modules and found that I do have enough room for 3 modules giving a total of 18’ of running main line representing the diverging routes and also operational as a passing siding for opposing meets.
My design only represents the east end area of the merging-diverging mains known as Peg’s, but conveys my Free-Mo modeling idea of what I want to do. The modules can be used in two configurations given space limitations if need be. One is 12’ containing the s-curve and use the other main as a siding, or the other 6’ as a straight through run with a siding, or all 18’ put together. Following Santa Fe (BNSF) operating rules, the main containing the s-curve is designated as the eastbound-north track and the other main as the westbound south track and would operate the modules accordingly, unless one train overtakes another going the same direction.