Monday, July 11, 2011

Newton, Iowa: Garden trains 
make a great 
hobby for some

Newton Daily News: Garden trains 
make a great 
hobby for some
Newton resident Walt Smith has created a Colorado mountain railroad scene in his backyard. The model railroad and seven other will be available for viewing this Saturday during the Central Iowa Garden Railroad Tour.
When most people think of a model train set, what they have in mind travels around the dining room table, or perhaps through a setup in the basement. For Newton resident Walt Smith and a handful of others throughout central Iowa, the trains are on a grander tableau, in their backyards.

The train enthusiasts are members of the Central Iowa Garden Railway Society, and this weekend their trains will be on display for the general public. Smith said he was influenced to start the hobby by Newton resident John Carl.

“I just have a passion for trains,” Smith said. “John talked me into building my train set about three years ago. Now it sprawls over my backyard.”

Smith’s theme is a Colorado mountain scene, utilizing Norway spruce, lilies, burning bush, and boxwood hedges and bushes. His trains are 1⁄20th scale, narrow gauge. Other train enthusiasts have created different eras for their trains and utilized different garden schemes, Smith said.

The Garden Railroad Tour will be held Saturday, July 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those taking the tour can start at any of the gardens on the tour. Stops include David Jones, 401 16th Ave., Grinnell; Jim and Marilyn Magnuson, 11698 Highway F62E, Sully; Iowa Corn Belt Railway, operated by John Carl, 325 E. 92nd St. N., Kellogg; Walt Smith, 1506 N. 7th Ave. W., in Newton; John and Pat Olsen, 361 NW 58th Place, Des Moines; and Mike and Renee Kidman, 3665 NW 98th Ave., Polk City. An additional inside layout will be on display at Kidman Tree Farm at the above location.

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