A year or so ago I visited a friend’s house. It had been a few months between visits and imagine my amazement and wonder when I discovered that he had installed a train in his backyard. It was gorgeous. It wound its way around the entire yard, was embedded into the patio, and had a wireless remote control. The moment I saw it I know that HO Scale was not the only train for me. I had always imagined bigger trains but had never seen one up close. Since seeing the train on Main Street in the Storybook shop, I had thought a train going around the ceiling of a room would be cool. I had also seen videos of trains in gardens but never imagined just how cool one could be in person. This was the day that my quest began to build a railway in my own garden.
At the time though I lived in a condo that didn’t really have a backyard… it had a patio. Earlier this year my living situation changed and I suddenly found myself with an awesome backyard. From the moment I laid eyes on it I knew that there WOULD be a train in it. Immediately train stuff went to the top of my wish list for my upcoming birthday (June 5th) and I started to dream of what a garden railway could look like in the yard.
They say to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. This is exactly what happened with the first part of my foray into building my railway. For my birthday I was given a money to start work on what would become Mr. DAPs’ Railway. Suddenly I found myself pivoting from just dreaming about a garden train to actually the reality of building a garden train. It was a bit overwhelming.
First things first, I started researching exactly what I would need and want for my railway. I decided to go with a G-Guage/G-Scale railway, just like my friend had. That was the easy decision. The next decision was figuring out what track to go with. There were a TON of options. In the end I based my decision on quality of track along with the quality of a starter set I could get that would also be compatible. I chose to go with a PIKO starter set and also get some extra track that was made by LGB. PIKO was actually founded in 1949 in East Germany and its G-Scale products are built in Sonneberg, Germany today. LGB was originally a German company based that was founded in Nuremberg in 1968. It is now owned by Märklin and its products are built in Hungary.
After some research online, I decided it was time to make my way to an actual store where I could purchase a PIKO starter kit and then some extra track. For this, I went to Milepost 38 Toy Trains which bills itself as “Southern California’s Largest Big Train Store.” Before it was purchased by Arnie’s Model Trains, I had purchased some HO-Scale train stuff at their old location (they are now in Westminster, CA). I made my way to the store and found the staff to be knowledgable and helpful. I also discovered that they sold used G-Scale trains and accessories as well… which was awesome.
After agonizing over making the right decisions, I decided on which train I would be taking home along with some extra track. This is a bit funny as I already knew what I wanted but still… making the actual purchase was a big deal and I wanted to make sure I had it right. I walked away with a Santa Fe three-car train starter set by PIKO. This also included a four foot-circle of track. I also purchased some used LGB straight and curved track to make for a more interesting journey for the future train. They also had incredible deals on this track.
Train and track in hand, it was time to return to the backyard and continue with the planning and creation of the new train. However, I’m going to save the next phase for next time! I hope you are enjoying reading about the process of creating Mr. DAPs’ Railway. In the future we might add some resources so that you can also create your own garden train. Let me know what you think!
Make it a GREAT day!
- Mr. DAPs
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