Saturday, May 31, 2003

Model train hobbyists make tracks outside


Garden railroading enthusiasts are open for a few visitors

By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Friends and family of Greater Cincinnati Garden Railway Society members can't complain about them hiding away in a dark basement with their hobby. Seven of them will take their hobby outdoors 1-6 p.m. June 8, opening to the public their elaborate railway layouts among the shrubs, trees and flowers.

The size of the trains used in garden railroading - the fastest growing model railroading hobby in the United States - is larger than conventional indoor model trains, and may be powered electrically, by battery or live steam, says Raymond Hughes, the group's tour director.

Some society members may move their tracks and trains into an existing flower or herb garden while others lay out the track design first and build the garden around the train. Many scale down their plants in size to provide a more realistic setting, working with herbs and miniatures, Hughes says.

One of the exhibits, Mike D. Frey's two-linelayout, "Gone to the Dogs," has been planted to represent Canadian landscapes with dwarf Alberta spruce, white pine, green and blue spruce, boxwood, poplars, mosses, lilies and phlox.

Another exhibit, called "Hall's Homegrown Railroad," has cars winding through cactus, hosta, day lilies, vegetables and water gardens.

Other setups include waterfalls, tunnels, ponds stocked with fish, tadpoles, frogs and water plants and waterfalls.

For maps and directions to the free railway gardens displays, contact Hughes at rhughes@one.net or 385-6599.

E-mail jkraft@enquirer.com



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