Welcome aboard, we will discuss garden trains, new ideas, old ideas, deal with a few train eating lizards and other fun stuff in this blog.  I am a long time designer and builder of model railroads of all sizes and for the last 18 years have been mostly dedicated to large scale trains, especially outdoors.  I would love to hear any comments you have and ideas for subjects to be covered. 

First of all I would like to bring-up the fate of a garden railroad very dear to me.  The railroad is the “Old HIckory” located at Rockome Gardens near Arcola, Illinois.  I designed and built this railroad for Rockome beginning  in 1993 and finishing the project in 1995.  For a few years it was kept up and ran very well.  However as the park changed ownership a few time over the years the Old Hickory fell in to hard time.   People tried to operate the railroad’s three loops with out proper repair and maintainance  with less than serviceable equipment.  At the end of 2010 the park was purchased by its present owner.  This owner is dedicated to restoring Rockome Gardens to the beautiful and popular Amish theme park it was twenty years ago.  The Old Hickory is a major part of this restoration.  I have volunteered my time and what limited resources to the rebirth of this great garden railroad.  Once one of the largest in the Midwest and a real show piece for Rockome.  We have completed almost enough to begin operating one loop of the railroad on Friday, May 20th.  We are forming a free club that will operate the railroad and complete the restoration and future expansion.  We need volunteers despritatly.  If you live within the area of central Illinois and would like to help with the operation, and restoration of this great garden railroad please contact me by email, jim_ruef@yahoo.com or by phone 217-317-3009 for more information.  I have included some before and after pictures of the work going on.

Watch for more on garden trains on this blog.  Please send your comments, we look forward to hearing from you.