Honey, can I build a garden railway in the back yard ?

maxi-model

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This just popped up on my YouTube feed. Apologies if it's been doing the rounds over the years and you have seen it. Not only is it a BIG railroad but they have some quite impressive stock storage facilities.


I'll go back to watching it now. Max
 

Paul M

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But just think of the track cleaning
 
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dunnyrail

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Greg Elmassian

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Been there, but it has been sold and I think part of it is gone...

At it's peak it was quite impressive...

He started track powered, but then someone convinced him to go battery, and during the convention, all the batteries went flat and he had to go back to track power.

Beautiful trackwork... talked to him at length... was one of the first adopters of the Airwire accessory controllers for remote turnout operation, he had a guy sitting at a panel of pneumatic toggle switches and he would call him on a walkie-talkie to throw switches... several very funny stories I could tell.

Greg
 

Greg Elmassian

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Too many words, suffice it to say I helped solve some problems and give some solutions to a person who might have felt he "knew it all".

I will give one funny story.

So he is down on his layout, and under pressure during the open house for the National Garden Railroad Convention there in Phoenix.

He is barking orders by walki-talkie (ok radio) to his employee in a structure at one end of the railroad. It was not going well, turnouts were not getting thrown properly and he was getting upset.

I wandered over to the elevated "nook" in the structure where the employee was. First of all English was not his native language, and it was clear his boss intimidated him. He had a huge array of toggle switches, just numbered, not on a schematic of the layout or anything helpful.

Two things were immediately obvious, he was panicked but also his boss was releasing the push to talk button WAY before he was done giving the verbal command. And each command was in the format set turnout # to diverging/straight (I don't remember the exact words). This guy was sweating bullets and was way too afraid to backtalk his boss.

So, he was releasing the PTT button before the entire command and most importantly the direction and in many cases even the turnout number was transmitted. That combined with no way to relate the turnout number to where it was on the layout was a perfect cause for disaster. I did volunteer to try to explain the situation to his boss.

I went back down to the layout, and gently informed the "master" that he was letting go of the talk button before the entire command was delivered. I actually had to demonstrate it to him the next several times, and finally it got through, but not too many minutes later he was under pressure again, and it started happening again.

It would not have been so comical except it was a person that did indeed believe he knew it all.

The last image in my mind of my visit was him losing control of an AirWire loco as it headed full speed into a tunnel back into the garage... I did not have the heart to see what happened.

There were several other funny interactions where I actually did help, but after I was sort of dismissed as some goofy train guy who had no clue what he was talking about... anyway this was a funny time, and an impressive layout that never really performed to it's potential in my opinion. There was to be a massive expansion, but he got divorced and lost his businesses as I understand, so the home with the railroad was sold.

Greg
 

Paul M

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I know most people can only dream of having such a layout, but when it comes down to it, would any actually enjoy having it? It must take hours of maintenance, even battery powered, and having to employ people to run it with you creates its own problems.
 
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maxi-model

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I know most people can only dream of having such a layout, but when it comes down to it, would any actually enjoy having it? It must take hours of maintenance, even battery powered, and having to employ people to run it with you creates its own problems.

The thought went through my mind too. But then again look at the toys one sees on display everyday from those with very substantial levels of disposable income. I doubt the late Sir William McAlpine did Fawley Hill all on his own. Nor did Adrian Shooter in all probability with the Beeches Light Railway. There is a private 7 1/4 inch line not far from me and that has quite a few unpaid volunteers helping to operate it. Not exactly apples with apples I know.

Just to give an idea of the size of this thing 4 acres - Harrods departement store site sits on 4 acres of prime London real estate. Max
 

PhilP

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I would guess, the owner never had to consider "how much"?

People to help (possibly some "paid staff") who would not jump at the chance to 'play' on a big layout?

Why do it?
Because you can, and it gives you pleasure.. Why else do anything?
 

Hal Farsed

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Too many words,
<snip>
</snip>
There were several other funny interactions where I actually did help, but after I was sort of dismissed as some goofy train guy who had no clue what he was talking about... anyway this was a funny time, and an impressive layout that never really performed to it's potential in my opinion. There was to be a massive expansion, but he got divorced and lost his businesses as I understand, so the home with the railroad was sold.

Greg
Sounds like a nice chap.
 

Madman

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Too many words, suffice it to say I helped solve some problems and give some solutions to a person who might have felt he "knew it all".

I will give one funny story.

So he is down on his layout, and under pressure during the open house for the National Garden Railroad Convention there in Phoenix.

He is barking orders by walki-talkie (ok radio) to his employee in a structure at one end of the railroad. It was not going well, turnouts were not getting thrown properly and he was getting upset.

I wandered over to the elevated "nook" in the structure where the employee was. First of all English was not his native language, and it was clear his boss intimidated him. He had a huge array of toggle switches, just numbered, not on a schematic of the layout or anything helpful.

Two things were immediately obvious, he was panicked but also his boss was releasing the push to talk button WAY before he was done giving the verbal command. And each command was in the format set turnout # to diverging/straight (I don't remember the exact words). This guy was sweating bullets and was way too afraid to backtalk his boss.

So, he was releasing the PTT button before the entire command and most importantly the direction and in many cases even the turnout number was transmitted. That combined with no way to relate the turnout number to where it was on the layout was a perfect cause for disaster. I did volunteer to try to explain the situation to his boss.

I went back down to the layout, and gently informed the "master" that he was letting go of the talk button before the entire command was delivered. I actually had to demonstrate it to him the next several times, and finally it got through, but not too many minutes later he was under pressure again, and it started happening again.

It would not have been so comical except it was a person that did indeed believe he knew it all.

The last image in my mind of my visit was him losing control of an AirWire loco as it headed full speed into a tunnel back into the garage... I did not have the heart to see what happened.

There were several other funny interactions where I actually did help, but after I was sort of dismissed as some goofy train guy who had no clue what he was talking about... anyway this was a funny time, and an impressive layout that never really performed to it's potential in my opinion. There was to be a massive expansion, but he got divorced and lost his businesses as I understand, so the home with the railroad was sold.

Greg
There's always that guy who knows it all. What he didn't know was that the cliff was closer than he knew.....:wasntme:
 

Paul M

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The thought went through my mind too. But then again look at the toys one sees on display everyday from those with very substantial levels of disposable income. I doubt the late Sir William McAlpine did Fawley Hill all on his own. Nor did Adrian Shooter in all probability with the Beeches Light Railway. There is a private 7 1/4 inch line not far from me and that has quite a few unpaid volunteers helping to operate it. Not exactly apples with apples I know.

Just to give an idea of the size of this thing 4 acres - Harrods departement store site sits on 4 acres of prime London real estate. Max
Well it would certainly keep you fit
 

Greg Elmassian

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Yes, the trackwork was impressive, the curves perfectly even, the parallel tracks in the yards just perfect. My friend commented on this, and I guessed that the owner used lasers to line thing up, the owner, Dennis, was nearby and said, yep!

It was a beautiful railroad, and there was a planned expansion, north of the existing railroad, you can see it.

if you look, you will see that the layout is NOT 4 acres, but there is 4 acres where it was going to expand to:


dennis.PNG

So the expansion at the top right was never finished. The trains were set up in the building in the bottom center and came out to the layout through a tunnel to the right.

You can also see a loop to the left of the building that goes out to the driveway, looks like they have a loop set up there for maybe steam locos.

I don't know who owns this now.

Greg
 

maxi-model

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Sorry Greg, I can only go on the information out there Palo Verde & Southwestern Railroad ….. Twenty six minutes of YouTube heaven | Hobo Laments Perhaps you should contact this guy and get him to correct his old blog so corrupt information does not creep in to us mere mortals' light hearted posts.

Still a pretty impressive layout, even if it did not work to it's full potential, and nevermind if it involved others' work to build and run it - there is a lot of that about to varying degrees. Sad to hear he broke up with his wife and lost his businesses and home. Irrespective of his demeanour, as percieved by some. Wealthy successful and compedetive self made (I assume) people are rarely the nicest of individuals in my experience, at least they rarely wate ones time. That's probably how they got to where they are anyhow.

And if anybody might also decide to think otherwise Hsrrods IS on a 4 acre site. It's well documented and worked there for 10 years. The management were very proud of that fact

And on the subject of impressive LS railways that showcase the stunning work by many individuals might I direct you here. Still very much a going concern and growing. And long may it continue. Kent & North Wales Light Railway Max
 
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Greg Elmassian

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The satellite picture is right there. I don't care if information from years ago from the former owner is wrong, it's old history. Just because one guy says it was 4 acres does not make true. I believe the satellite picture, and the fact I have been there, the site is 4 acres, the layout, NOT.

All I am doing is giving correct information today for us. If you cannot see for yourself what the situation is, it's your issue, that picture is from google maps

Did you notice that post you refer to was from 2013?

It was a great railroad, no current information on it's current state or plans since the sale to the new owner.

Greg
 

Greg Elmassian

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At one time, he was buying so much equipment, he had a guy employed full time just to add Kadee couplers. Having met the man myself, I spent a fair amount of time talking to him, and funny enough when he was agonizing over the "remote" operation of his switches, I told him about the new AirWire product called the "activator" (as I remember it) to allow remote control of the turnouts by his Airwire remote...

He started to give me a "drubbing down", and then said, wait, what's your name again? And when I told him, he said... "ohh, you are the guy I am supposed to talk to".... from that point on I was treated as a peer "expert".... hmmm....

He did indeed have everything top drawer, except I still question the change to battery after all the perfect trackwork and electrical wiring. I think that he was not exposed to the superior consisting controls DCC offered him, and indeed he was technically in the desert, so he could have more dust and dirt on the rails. When he did run track power (all the batteries died trying to run all day) it did indeed run flawlessly, a testament to the quality he demanded.

This is the staging building... with extensions out to the driveway to allow long trains to be made up. The tunnel east to the layout can just be seen in the far right.

You can see the restaurant style food racks that held the trains, normally the locos, he had several of everything, including Big Boys.

dennis1.jpg
 

FatherMcD

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If google earth is to be believed, it is GONE!
 

Greg Elmassian

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Well it is on older google maps, and it is on google earth pro, but missing on a current google map.

If you have google earth pro it still shows, and google earth pro often lags the more common google maps...

Address is 1929 North 24th St, Mesa, AZ is the address

missing here:

this is google earth (not earth pro)

Oh well, did not think it was long for the world, I noticed a lot of his train stuff for sale:

here's the facebook page warning they don't know what the new owner will do:

Tac posted this in 2019 showing a loco for sale from Dennis:

Again a great layout, but looks like it's now gone... which those of us who knew the layout, visited it, and talked to the owner have been anticipating for some time.

Greg
 
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Gavin Sowry

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It would not have been so comical except it was a person that did indeed believe he knew it all.
In NZ, we have saying/thing, called Tall Poppy Syndrome, somewhat akin to what you have described....... I've seen this in the model railway field.
I often relate the story from a time I was exhibiting at a show, and this Flash Harry wanders by, trying to impress these two Dolly Birds he had in tow......
'Oh, and these guys use Shinohara track, its a special fine scale one, but expensive. And that loco is an F7, they didn't have any of those in NZ. And, S scale is a lot bigger than that'
I was showing an NZR layout, in Sn3½, with hand laid track (correct sleeper size/space, and rail code). The loco was an English Electric cab unit, one of a series of 42 that we had. I think one of the sheilas saw me rolling my eyes. I stayed silent, as I don't want to dent his ego :angel: