The Tucson Garden Railway Society hosts its 16th annual “Rails In The Garden Tour” this coming weekend, March 2nd & 3rd 10AM to 4PM. This is fun for the whole family.
For 2019 there are 9 garden railways. This year’s layouts are spread out throughout Tucson and you can visit all venues as often as you wish. The self-guided tour is free but donations are welcome and go to the Community Food Bank.
IN 2013, I visited one of the venues at the home of John Carmichael. John has been a sculptor of sun dials for over 20 years, but he is new to garden railroads. In his front yard is a labyrinth of rails, bridges, tunnels, depots and other features among a variety of cacti, primarily cholla and prickly pear. Laid end to end, John’s railroad is longer than a football field. His trains are “G” gauge, which is much larger than the more familiar “HO” scale. John explained that the model trains have to be larger for outdoor operations so that small objects, such as a leaf or pebble, won’t derail them.
One has to be a serious railroad hobbyist to develop and operate one of these garden railways. I could not help asking John what I would have to budget to replicate something like his layout in my own gardens. He explained that the layout I was watching took him 14 months of near-full-time effort, including design time. He also told me that I should budget at least $10,000. WOW! Given the precision & complexity of this garden railway, I was surprised that it wasn’t more.
The Tucson Garden Railway Society will be collecting donations (cash or check only) for the Community Food Bank.
Click HERE for a maps and directions of each garden railway on the tour.