Background for On30 & Fremo


According to Wikipedia, 0n30 is “… is the modelling of narrow gauge railways in O scale on HO (16.5 mm/0.65 in) gauge track in 1:48 scale ratio by American model railroaders”. The article goes on to mention 1:43.5 scale ratio, known as 0-16.5 by British and French model railroaders and 0e by 1:45 by Continental European model railroaders excluding France, but that isn’t 0n30; it’s 0-16.5 or 0e, and there is a distinction.

0n30 is exactly as Wikipedia describes it above in the opening statement from their article; railway modelling of 0 scale models on H0 gauge track, which is used to depict a full-scale line of anywhere between 2′ and 3′ but the scale equivalent is 30″ or 2’6″, of which there were few examples. The majority of prototype lines were at either end of the spectrum covered; 2′ in Maine and 3′ in Colorado, plus their environs.


Frem0n30 is an adaptation of FREMO standards to accommodate the narrow gauge scale known as 0n30. It is obviously helped massively by the fact that the gauge is the same!

The standards were first compiled by Kathy Millatt back in Jan 2012. Since then, a number of people have expressed an interest and begun to build modules. The Surrey & Sussex Black Sheep have used these as our base.

History of FREMO

FREMO stands for Freundeskreis Europäischer MOdellbahner, translated as Friendship of European Railway Modellers. In the USA there is another organisation, Free-Mo, for Free-form Modules. Both organisations, the European and the American, are absolutely independent, but joined by common goals.

FREMO aim to operate as close to prototype as possible. They use modules, to allow temporary set-up of large layouts requiring space which can’t be occupied or rented permanently. As no unprototypical circles are formed, the modules may have almost any size and shape. Only the faceplates need to meet some basic standards. This allows even the largest radii you can think of and stations may be built fully to scale.

The only limit is the amount of bench work, tracks and scenery you are prepared to build and carry around. But you don’t need to go that far. Modules allow starting with a small piece of layout to practise your skills.

FREMO members are from different countries: Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Czech Republic, Belgium and any more in ten other countries. In total there are more than 1100 members as of October 2007. As the FREMO was founded in Germany there is little surprise to find most members there. But the small groups like in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway and Czech Republic are very active.

Even when modelling the same prototype in the same scale, modules may look quite different. Just plain track, straight or curved, including features like semaphores, set of segments forming one big module, stations and yards from small to large. The only restriction is the standardized face plate, allowing to put together the modules in any sequence.

This definition and commentary has been copied from the  FREMO site and edited.

Free-mo was developed with the idea that a set of standards focusing mainly on module endplates would enable faithful modeling of prototype trackplans and operations in a modular environment. The length and track configuration of a Free-mo module set is up to the modeler. Free-mo takes the boredom out of running trains monotonously around a double or even a triple track mainline. With Free-mo, less is more.

Free-mo operates like a permanent or sectional layout but still retains its modularity. Free-mo layouts are operated with a single track mainline in a point to loop, loop to loop, or point to point. Layout sizes can vary to any size conceivable.

The Free-mo mainline is centered on a two foot end so modules can be inverted 180 degrees and still mate up to the adjacent module without modification to wiring or track. The Free-mo mainline also takes advantage of stronger industry support of code 83 rail.

Free-mo was developed with the idea that a set of standards focusing mainly on module endplates would enable faithful modeling of prototype trackplans and operations in a modular environment. The standards just mandate the ends where modules connect together, leaving the length and track configuration up to the modeler. This in turn yields extremely flexible standards that work! For example, if you want to build a module that is 5 feet 7 and 3/4 inches long with an angle of 19 degrees and a 2% grade, you can do it with Free-mo!

Free-mo enables the modeler’s creativity to shine through their modules. No longer are modelers confined to fixed-length modules of 4, 6, or 8 feet long. They may build a module to their own needs and dreams.

This definition and commentary has been copied the Free-Mo site and edited.