Probably not. I would have to bet that most of you do not have a train in your garden. I do. I have a train in my garden. Garden railroads have been popular for a very long time. It’s one of the fastest growing parts of the model train hobby today.
Back before the dawn of time, let’s say around the 1860ish period, the model train hobby was in its infancy. As the full size railroad industry grew, the development of model railways closely paralleled the full size railways. Engine builders often built models to test theories to captivate a growing public. Primitive models were made mainly by craftsmen for themselves and were most often powered by steam. Since they were fairly large in scale they were used outdoors and it wasn’t long before manufacturers got the bright idea and figured out that there were a few dollars to be made in the toy train business. During World War II, the model train industry was pretty much stamped out. As World War II came along, life as was known before, was gone.
After the war plastics became the rage and in the ’40’s and ’50’s smaller trains dominated the landscape. After the war, people starting families didn’t have a lot of space and the gauge 0 became the most popular size. Basically, small, really small.
As time went on, and articles were written about the outdoor use of trains in the garden, in the mid-1970’s the flame was kindled. Live steam locomotives made a resurgence in Britain. Engines actually ran on fire and water. As the breed died out in the late 1950’s and 1960’s, the 1970’s brought a resurgence of small steamers. In the beginning they were temperamental. They either ran 90 miles an hour until fuel was exhausted, or they required the same constant attention as the full size engines needed.
There’s a Train in My Garden
As practiced today, garden railroading is much different than practiced 100 years ago. The influence can be traced to past train masters.
Maple Rock’s Railroad will be running and steam engines of the past will be on display.
Join us at Maple Rock Gardens. Meet the train masters of the Sacramento Valley Garden Railway Society.
- Meet the train masters
- See garden steam engines of the past
- Tour the garden
- Listen to live music
- Enjoy lunch from High-Hand Cafe and, of course,
- Enjoy the garden railroad.
- Free parking
Train Day this Saturday, September 9th at Maple Rock Gardens. Click here to purchase your tickets.
For directions to Maple Rock, click here.
P.S. Not to bring up Christmas before Halloween (Holy Cow, I can’t believe I’m doing it, but I am), mark your calendar — December 2, 2017, 6:00 p.m., we flip the switch and the lights come on.