Thank you for your interest in the Columbus Garden Railway Society Free Self-guided Garden Railways Tour
Sept. 7, 2014
The legend on the map corresponds with the numbered railroad descriptions below. Roll over any marker on the map and the railroad name will be shown. Left click on any marker and the railroad name and driving directions will pop up. You can customize the map by deselection railroads on the legend and their marker will be removed from the map.
click here for driving directions
List of 2014 participating Railroads
#1 The Sutter Park Lumber Raiload
The Sutter Park Lumber Railroad runs four trains at one time. There are two point-to-point lines and a double dog bone. There is about 250 feet of track. This fully landscaped RR is based on a logging railroad and has
a pond with waterfall and scratch-built buildings. New this year is the Carnival line which is fully animated. Mixed in with all the landscaping are many different scenes with a touch of fantasy.
The Abler's garden railroad is modeled after central Wisconsin farmland.
"Puddlefort" is the nickname of the village near Richard's hometown which was served by the Chicago & North Western RR.
The garden contains numerous dwarf, miniature and small-scale plants, including dwarf conifers, shrubs and deciduous trees, herbs, ferns, ground covers, sedum, sempervivum, annuals, rock-garden plants, and other perennials, as well as some Norway spruce being trained unwillingly to be bonsai trees.
A trolley line serves Puddlefort village.
The Recycled, Odds, Ends & Leftovers Railroad is a fictitious railroad heading south out of Xenia, Ohio.
The line will go through Russellville in Brown Co., servicing the sawmill and feed & grain store owned by Joe Myers.
The line will terminate at Cherry Fork in Adams Co., bringing farming equipment and supplies to the Farm Bureau Company. The line offers spectacular views to the passengers.
The rolling hills of southern Ohio provide opportunities for bridges and trestles over valleys and over White Oak Creek and Cherry Fork Falls. White Oak Creek begins its journey at Cherry Fork Falls and winds its way to its end at White Oak Falls.
The railroad was begun in 2008 and features an elevated line and a ground line.
Disney-themed buildings are situated throughout the railroad which runs 200 feet of track.
A replica of the Disneyland main entrance building is the focal point of the lower-level track route.
A colorful locomotive pulls rail cars on each level.
Ground covers are the featured plants.
#5 The Ross Herron Memorial Railroad
The Ross Herron Memorial Railroad, named in honor of Jim Kimmel's grandfather, was started in 1996.
It has been revised and enhanced 3 or 4 times since and currently consists of 250 feet of track, laid out in 3 loops, one of which is a reversing trolley line. Jim's use of EPL circuitry and read switches allow 5 trains to run alternately.
All buildings are scratch-built by Jim and are reminiscent of small town Ohio scenes like those you can find in Wooster and New Philadelphia, where the Kimmels grew up.
Replicas of local Westerville buildings like Bob Evans and Bel Lago (formerly the Hoover Grille) also inhabit the railroad. The layout has a 3 tiered waterfall, a variety of dwarf conifers, thymes, sedums and flowering annuals to provide color and interest. Jim's artistic trimming of the miniature trees gives an uncanny look of reality to the railroad.
The Sweet Hollow RR has been under (serious!) construction since 2010. Just under 200 ft of track runs past a farm, around, and tunneling through a mountain. New plantings of dwarf evergreens fill the garden space. Two loops run with track power, attempting to convert to battery power.
The railroad runs an Amtrak ICE Train, a Western Maryland freight train, and an early American steam engine. There’s also a replica of the Gettysburg train station.
The Easton Express Railway is a 1100 square foot railroad built in 2005 and features three independent train operation on multiple levels. A twelve foot long double track arch bridge anchors the railway with hills, tunnels, waterfall, and structures. Trains operate 12 hours a day seven days a week.
#8 The Back in Time Railroad
The Back in Time Railroad was started in the spring of 2012 and continues to be a work in progress. A new Pennsylvania RR train travels through a tunnel and over two bridges as it makes its way past a talking toad, singing birds, gnomes and a lighthouse with waterfall. Included in the layout are a large pond with a new waterfall and two smaller ponds, a small village with many shops, a car wash and garage, a campground and a large farm. Many 50’s & 60’s vehicles and lifelike figures add to the scene.
Landscaping has been upgraded with the addition of more dwarf conifers, alpine plants, boxwoods, sedum, arborvitae, grasses and ground covers. The layout contains other perennial miniature plants and blooming annuals.
An Emmet Kelley Jr. circus train surrounds the miniature circus which includes a big top tent with performers and audience, a menagerie tent with wild animals and cage wagons, a banner line and various circus wagons including a calliope wagon with real music. A smaller round tent with performers finishes out the circus. Adjacent to the circus is a carnival including numerous rides, game booths and refreshment stands.
The Crawford Valley Railroad meanders around a waterfall, stream, and a large pond. At the turn of the century, fashionably dressed folk go about their daily lives in Lily Pad Junction waiting for the train at the depot, shopping in the general store, listening to the banjo pickers in the gazebo, and tending to their farm animals.
See the overshot water wheel at the historic grist mill and the Little River Sawmill served by the Crawford Valley RR Shay engines. Perhaps the bullfrog will sing for you.
As usual Thomas will be wandering through the mums and this year Percy will be joining him. The mature landscaping has a wide variety of sedum, thyme, dwarf conifers and perennial favorites.
The Garden Road Railroad has four multilevel main lines which encircle and weave through an established garden. The theme is the 1890s out-west, rural America. Construction began in 2011. The railroad features over 400 feet of track, a large mountain with two tunnels, a small lake with a working grist-mill water wheel, a large Buddha, and several types of bridges. Track power controls the sound-equipped trains.
The railroad also has large rock- and flower gardens. The gardens are heavily planted with dwarf conifers, sempervivums, hostas, deciduous shrubs and trees, herbs, ferns, ground covers, sedums, annuals, rock-garden plants, and other perennials, as well as some Norway spruce and boxwoods being trained as bonsai trees. A small village, freight depot, and Amish farm complete the layout.
The Grand Rapids & Reeds Lake Railroad is a reconstruction of a garden railroad originally begun in 1997. The railroad has four loops of track on a raised bed. The surface of the railroad is crushed limestone for ease of maintenance. Train operations are favored over gardening.
The theme is the imagined area around Reeds Lake in the suburb of East Grand Rapids, Michigan at the turn of the 19th century. Structures on the railroad are reflective of those which may have been in existence there at that time. Reeds Lake is constructed of blue marbles which require no maintenance and look great in winter too. Some of the structures surrounding the lake have boat docks.
One of the four track loops has an operating overhead catenary system to support streetcar operation. The other track loops are mostly level to support live-steam locomotives.
The MacKay Mills RR began in 1996 as two loops totaling 200 feet that were soon interconnected and a reversing wye with lay-up spur added. Numerous additions since then have brought the total length to some 630 feet, comprised of ten separate layouts. These additions include two small loops, a point-to-point layout with reversing loops, and six different back-and-forth reversing lines. The reversing lines include both steam and catenary electric cog railways; the latter is entirely overhead, as is one of the small loops. There are three tunnels, two bridges, two viaducts, and one trestle in the layouts. There are also over 50 buildings and 150 people to add character. Four pools with water lilies or other aquatic plants include a large namesake mill and a waterfall. The railroad is heavily planted with many dwarf conifers and rock garden plants. There are collections of several different types of sempervivums and hostas, also micro-mini roses, plus numerous varieties of other perennial and annual plants. The garden is handicapped accessible from the rear alley.
The F&S Railroad, begun in 1998, is a detailed layout of over 450 feet of track consisting of three ground level tracks and two elevated tracks. Added attractions include a freight section and a busy town with a passenger station, hotel, basketball court and a metro park. The natural park has a lookout tower and some wild animals. Chickens, cows, pigs and horses inhabit the farm and stable.
In the midst of it all is a carpeted sitting area with a wooden frame and shingled roof covering. Inside are two benches, ceramic creatures, a working wishing well and other decorations, including a wind chime. Nearby is a small fish pond with cascading fountain.
Giving definition to the layout as a garden railroad are a variety of bushes, trees, and flowers such as yews, pines, daylilies, mums, clematis, dianthus, and sedum.
#14 This is a new railroad under construction on a sloped lot. There are about 300 feet of brass track. There are three ovals; the
locomotives will be track powered
#15 The Sunburst Minneapolis & Southern II RR
The recently constructed Sunburst Minneapolis & Southern II consists of a raised bed, 20 ft. x 35 ft.,
with a pond and waterfall. The mostly-trestled bi-level track is divided by upright railroad ties and
Colorado sandstone. Featured plantings include dwarf Japanese maples, succulents, and a variety
of evergreens. All trains are BNSF or Great Northern logo and will include passenger and freight.
#16 The Kiousville-Palestine-Warnersville Railroad
Our railroad is named The KPW Line, the Kiousville-Palestine-Warnersville Railroad which we started in 2006. It is about 600 feet, with two main lines that
encircle two ponds and a sunken patio and a third loop around a lighthouse that sits over a underground lake (septic tank). There’s also a trolley that
runs down the middle of the street where the town will be constructed once the depression is over. We have an inside trains storage yard. We run
steam and diesel engines and a railbus. We also have a rock garden and four flower gardens that the trains run through. We use track power for the
locomotives - all of which are radio-controlled.
The Scioto River Valley Garden Railroad was begun in the spring of 2013 and is a work in progress. This raised-bed railroad is on the grounds of a retirement community. The railroad has over 300 feet of track and has a water garden with fish, a waterfall, and a wooden bridge across a pond. There are several buildings and three spur lines to an industrial area. There are currently more than 20 different varieties of plants in the ground with more to come.
#18 The Squirrel Valley Railroad
The Railroad consists of six different configurations with over 300 feet of track. There is a small pond with a waterfall, cattails and water lillies. It also has frogs and fish and a single-track bridge.
The railroad has numerous perennials,
ground covers, annuals, and conifers. For the orchard there are various miniature tomatoes and peppers.
Then there is this railroad's trademark so to say; I feed the squirrels corn and needless to say they have to bury some of it and it comes up all over the railroad. Sometimes I have to pull the corn because it is to close to the track. It took us several years to get a picture of the squirrels climbing the corn stalks to eat the corn. They blend in with the dry corn stalks.
Some sights along the tracks include a sawmill, Amish farm, and a circus tent and accessories. There are several towns with stations, freight sheds and figures and animals.
There is a 60 foot trolley line mounted on top of the privacy fence. On the patio is a half whiskey barrel with a castle in it and an oval of track mounted on the barrel.
The railroad is not modeled after any theme in particular; it is strictly a whimsical railroad.
The Petersen's Puckerville Railroad is based on a rural and small town setting reminiscent of the 1960's.The garden design has two levels. The top level has 80 feet of track, two ponds, a stream and a waterfall. There are a number of bridges, a wooden trestle over one of the ponds, a covered bridge over the stream, and several concrete bridges for roadways . The lower level has 40 feet of track, pond and is a mining line.
There are 50 handmade figures of adults, children and pets. Many of the figures resemble family members that help personalize the railroad setting.
Some of the scratch built structures are the farm house, barn, A&W Root Beer Stand, Light House, Red Owl Grocery, Puckerville Feed Mill, Pete's Garage, and Grandpa's Log Cabin.
The garden is planted with Artemisia, Spirea, Potentilla, Dwarf Cypress, Boxwood and a large number of herbs, ground covers and mosses.
#20 The Runaway Railroad
The Runaway Railroad was founded in 2000, and as it grew to its present size of 1/4 acre with 1/4 mile of track, we realized it had gotten completely out of hand, hence its name. There are 14 distinct areas, and are best visited in numeric order so as not to miss any areas or backtrack. When walking along the footpaths, be sure to look in all directions; there is much to see. Many accessories were brought back from our world travels. We can run 12 trains: 6 DC on separate loops, including 1 around the tree with Thomas; 6 AC on a 440' loop from route 66 over the bridges to Deadwood.
1. The Settlement (2000) is a collection of log cabins.
2. Olde Towne (2000) is an 1850s town.
3. Lakeside (2002) is a 1950s town. Special features include statues of Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne outside the theater, a subway entrance, a one man band, Gail & Jerry in their Columbus Garden Railway Society shirts, teenagers about to be arrested, an abalone shell grotto, and a dog fountain .
4. City Zoo (2007) is an old fashioned zoo with the animals in cages.
5. The Indian Village (2000) has the train traveling through a barrage of arrows, and braves in canoes.
6. Rancho Alto (2003) is an Amish Farm. Special features include the surveyors on the causeway, and a cross from Ireland over the tunnel entrance.
7. German Village (2004) is a collection of wattle and timbered houses. Special features include a beer barrel tap, a campground, a working cable car with Christ the Redeemer statue from Rio de Janeiro, and a "Jeepney" from the Philippines.
8. Jeffersonville (2004) is a city with a large park containing an animated performance of The Nutcracker, a working oil well, road sleds from Madeira, a subway entrance, a "flamingoed" house, and a balcony from Peru.
9. Fantasy Land (2009) is a small loop where Thomas runs around a castle filled with storybook characters.
10. Route 66 (2007) was inspired by a trip on the Mother Road. special features include a house from Corregidor, a tiki bar from Aruba, a whirling dervish from India, a Maori on a walkabout from Australia, a warrior from New Zealand, a working carnival, the Wigwam Motel, a garden railroad in a park with an Iwo Jima statue, an operating boat, tango dancers from Buenos Aires, statues on the train station from Greece, a 24 foot long train shed, a carved tree stump, and a street car.
11. The Trestle (2003). This double trestle was made by Jerry. It passes a park (2011) containing ancient world treasures including Greek and Roman buildings and sculptures, and Easter Island statues.
12. Disney world (2011) is non-operational, but has quite a few figures and topiary trees.
13. The Bridges (2007), which are labeled, are replicas of real bridges.
14. Deadwood (2007) was modeled after the TV show. It includes a burned out
ghost town, petrified wood from the Petrified Forest, a gunfight with PeteKelly (an Australian outlaw), a carriage from the Philippines, a prisoner from Devil's Island, and a dancer from Columbia