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Garden Railroad Tour

by Ralph S. Wilcox

Hot Springs Village is a gated community in South Central Arkansas and is the largest gated community in the United States. It is over 26,000 acres and has over 3,000 residents. It was begun in 1970 and is now celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.
The Greater Hot Springs Garden Railway Society tour and open house was April 17, 2010 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour was free and visitors could start at any location. Maps were available at each layout. Six layouts were on this year’s tour. Directional signs and cross bucks showed the route.

Bob and Carole Schappek
The R and C Junction Railway borders on the
south side of Lake Balboa. Modern passenger and freight trains cross a trestle and bridge over a pond, running through a tunnel under a large waterfall and beside a river before returning through a train shed which stores numerous pieces of rolling stock.
Working cable cars cross over the pond. The layout includes many buildings, including a greenhouse.

Gene and Joann Tenney
Old Route 66 is the theme of this railroad with buildings constructed from photographs taken along old Route 66. Passenger and freight trains run over 300 feet of track through the town of Tenneyville, over numerous long trestles and bridges,
among a variety of plants and flowers.

Gerald and Kathy Norman
The Norman Railroad has five loops and 850 feet of track winding through the trees and plants beside the Norman’s home and Tee Box #2 on Pinta/Isabella Golf Course. Several different trains run through bridges, tunnels, waterfalls, beside a stream and past sports games, a beach scene, cotton fields, orchards and a large cement castle with many surrounding buildings and people in the courtyard.

Lee Hess
The M and M Junction Railroad includes extensive stone work highlighting “Niagara Falls”. Trestles and double deck train bridge span the “Niagara River.” Two large loops of track take trains over the river, through a tunnel, past a farm, a greenhouse and Walt Disney World. A trolley crosses over the Niagara River, allowing passengers a view of
Niagara Falls.

Ted and Liz Elzerman
The Tall Tree Railroad includes both a covered and a girder bridge between two raised beds with a mountain waterfall, fish pond and a wide variety of plants. Passenger and freight trains of the Denver
Rio Grand and Western as well as a late 1800s rail bus will be running.
A trolley car line connects to a loop servicing the Hershey Chocolate factory which employs a herd of bears living on a nearby mountain.

Larry and Shirley Smith
Tarabitha Springs is an early 20th Century
Pennsylvania German farming community near the base of Laurel Ridge in the Allegheny Mountains.
Pennsylvania Railroad passenger trains connect residents with Pittsburgh to the west and Altoona to the east. A weekly train brings logs to the town’s only industry, Snyder Lumber Co.
Passing over Reitz Run, a trolley will pick you up at the train station and deliver you to Tarabitha Springs’ only hotel. The trolley then circles through town past the German Backerei and the Amish Village Furniture Shop.

More photos can be seen in 
Big Train Operator issue #139, Spring 2011

That damn railroad you're talkin' about ain't gettin' any easier! - Lyle Gorch: The Wild Bunch, (1969)


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