Stony Trail Railway

Model Railroading - a dream come true for a little boy!

Model Railroading – a dream come true for a little boy!

He arrived home from yet another Model Railroad Show.  Although his heavy-lidded eyes revealed the weariness of his long day, he was energized.  He was full of stories.  He still had that sunny glint of new adventure in his eyes as if he had recaptured some of his youthful exuberance.  He became an indefatigable story-teller.   He chuckled to himself as his own Huckleberry-like tales of the railway display interactions with young and old unfolded.  He was animated and lively.  He relived the moments of the day as I watched him in contemplation.

I can see it every single time my husband, Steve, finishes another weekend model railroad show.  He and his railway enthusiastic club friends set up huge displays of model railroad trains with miniature worlds of village layouts, people, animals, trees and all the paraphernalia that make it look real and life-like.  It seems like far too much work to me, toting it all from one place to another and then back again.

Yet, he always appears so uplifted and rejuvenated after these gatherings.

I had to pause and think about that.

It seems having a hobby that you are passionate about reduces stress and provides a true sense of accomplishment.  Spending time with people, sharing your passion, engaging in an experience that deeply interests you, all generate a sense of gratification on an emotional level.  This can only lead to a healthy heart.

Model railroading keeps you active as it requires you to get into motion, getting all those trains in and out of the house and set up again at the auditorium.  He remains in good spirits, laughing and chatting and on and on which, on an emotional level, prevents depression, which is closely associated with cardiovascular disease. 

Not only does your emotional state raise risk for heart disease, but if you already have the condition, stress, anxiety and depression may become hurdles to making time to exercise, cooking healthy meals and complying with all the great advice you have learned.

Furthermore studies have shown that those who do volunteer work have better cardiovascular health.  Those who find gratification in tasks associated with helping others, feeling useful and having a significant life, have fewer negative thoughts that affect one’s health.

These model railroad club members have set up displays for churches and nursing homes, more frequently around the holidays.  I cannot tell you the number of stories this generates among the nursing home residents when they see and hear the model trains.  Childhood memories and narratives blossom like tulips in the springtime.

Clubs, in general foster human relationships that lead to heart healthy.  Dedicating a portion of your life to friends and family and others is fundamental to keeping mind and body in harmony.

Integrating this passion and increased physical activity, along with human relationships, reaps the reward of improved physical health, preventing possible heart related diseases and increases mental well-being.

According to a 2010 study in Heart Vessels that tracked men and women in the early stages of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) for two to three years “those with hobbies had less arterial narrowing and fewer symptoms of heart disease than those who had no hobbies.”

My husband is a big-time model railroad buff.  While stress and emotional distress may be destructive to your heart, the sight of a model railroad and train trekking along the steel tracks brings him true peace.  Tinkering with old engines, making them new again and seeing the locomotives back “on track” brings a pure sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.  Time passes so quickly with track laying, rock casting, model construction, airbrushing and perfecting building structures for train layouts.

With that foundation laid, I want to share Steve’s story of Stony Trail Railway.  It is his passion and love of old locomotives.  It is his method of heart disease prevention.   May it bring you some small sense of joy and serenity.

Stony Trail Railway 2010 4Stony Trail Railway is a circling pathway of stainless steel track upon a nineteen-inch high free-standing wall, crowned with a rugged 12-inch wide concrete cap.   The trail is flanked by a background of oak trees and elms and bordered by a hedge of vibrant lilacs.

Stony Trail Railway 2010 5

Nearby you can see an old water pump, a worn, wooden redwood picnic table, and a well-used twine rope suspended from the branch of an aged and weathered tree.  Grandkids climb the unwavering rope and sway to and fro in the afternoon breezes.

Rope Swinging 1 Rope 5  Rope 2 Rope 3 Rope 4








Stony Trail Railway is unique and customized by Doug of Circle M Nursery from Chippewa Falls, WI who spent countless hours to achieve the results necessary to perfect G-scale train navigation. Both Doug and the railway engineer, Steve went through a myriad of thoughts and scenarios to achieve the railway.

Stony Trail Railway 2010 6

Trains tunnel through towers of perfectly laid bricks, passing by onlookers sitting nearby in a separate garden and patio area.

There it goes!

There it goes!

“Choo-choo” and “Here it comes – ALL ABOARD” echo in the air. Grandkids, pretending they are the engineers, climb up on the pillars and bend over to see the trains enter and leave the tunnels, sending their treats circling around until they can have their next bite!

Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing

Stony Trail Railway typifies the best of eras past and present, representing small town USA.  Flagstone steppers in a bordering garden area, lead to the 20 foot diameter railway and will be connected by three distinct bridges, decked by six vintage towers, each five feet in height.  Additional labor went into the cutting and assembly of the towers.  Pipes were laid for electrical in the lighted towers.

A patio and garden area lie to its north, where all can partake in the delights from the kitchen area or just sit and “rest a spell” while trains pass by.

Roast me a marshmallow please.

Roast me a marshmallow please.

The garden area displays the beauty of nature’s finest colors, some of which include:  day lily Stella doro, blue chip juniper, Iris Siberian Caesar’s brother, day lily pardon me, catmint little titch and globemaster alliums.


A weeping caragana tree accents tranquility of the area.  Yet, my all-time favorite will always remain the globe alliums.


Stony Trail Railway was a compromise between two people, who each wanted something different in a new patio creation.  The passionate Garden Railroader envisioned a scenic garden railway with buildings and plants and engines tracking this way and that.

His wife was seeking peace and tranquility – a serene environment where she could sit in the sun and enjoys the day with friends and family – a place that did not require pulling weed after weed after weed.


They needed to mutually agree on this last foolish endeavor before they settled into a world with no weekly pay check – that yet untold chapter that is known as retirement.

Thus… Stony Trail Railway was born…

Stony Trail Railway is the beginning of a dream.  It is a work in progress.  It will unfold over the years, leaving a trail of memories.  We can build a water tower on stilts above the track.  There has to be a small town named Stony Trail!  We want a village store.   We want a farm land setting too.  It will all come to being.  It will all be built from scratch, like the pioneers of our country.

It is a place to create fond memories; a place to relive times past –a gathering up of joy and fun and action with the sights and sounds of good old-fashioned times.

It is a place of being and an even deeper well-being.

We call it Stony Trail Railway.

Stony Trail Railway

Stony Trail Railway

Please share your passion.  What energizes you?  How do you find peace and tranquility in your day?  How do you relieve stress?

12 Comments on “Stony Trail Railway”

  1. There is a child in all of us and mine loves dolls,especially seeing antique ones with beautiful eyes,bisque heads and old clothes. However, Seeing those beautiful flowers makes me want to run to the closest nursery and spend my month’s budget on new flowers. The old farmer in me comes out every spring and I can’t wait to get dirt under my polished fingernails. That truly is a stress reliever as a sign in my Ida Mae garden says ” Nothing bugs me in my garden” . I think each of my 5 grandchildren have played with those trains. Thank you Sharon and Steve.

    • Thank you, Ida Mae. We have shared some good times and made some memories around those trains. PICK ME UP on your way to the flower shop! I am anxious to get out and experience the joys of summer as well.

  2. Very interesting how your backyard was created. LOVE!!!!! You have many special memories created in that backyard!!!! HOW special!!!!

    • Thank you, Theresa. So what is your stress relieving hobby? I am fairly certain I know the answer to that question. I know how you find peace in your life. Have a great week ahead.

  3. Great story, Sharon. What a beautiful back yard escape. You know my stress relieving hobbies (my horses and critters). It didn’t escape my scrutiny that the boys had a miniature barn, fenced “pastures” and horses. Might need to take those boys for a field trip to my house, though I know there’s always lots of fun and fantacies at Grandma’s! You’re amazing!!!

    • What a grand idea! And you must bring your grandkids here to play trains too! We will have to figure out a way to make it fit your crazy schedule! Thanks so much for responding.

  4. Sharon_another awe inspiring+uplifting post! My twin +I inherited a small Canadian train set from my dad who passed while we were three years old. It had a headlight that,(to our delight), lit up in the dark. I think it MAY still be in my mom’s house in Scotland. We used to put Indian toy soldiers on the track as a punishment if the Natives “beat” the U.S. cavalry in our many staged fights in the battles of the Old West.
    Studies have also shown hobbies like these are an aid to the “inside world” of autistic and handicapped children.(MY brother Raymond has a basic set for his two boys.) The rocker NEIL YOUNG has two extremely handicapped kids and has nationally fostered this brilliant hobby for special needs kids.(Bravo for Mr.Young!)
    Much love and joy-oh and keep trainspotting.(Ask the Wee man about this!:)
    ps Sorry I missed last week’s comment_I got really busy!

  5. Better late than never!! Your hobby-train blog was perfect….I know how Steve’s eyes light up when you mention trains. Gives him a perfect getaway from life’s stressors and gives you a fantastic and beautiful back yard. Enjoy him and it.

    • Ahhhhhh… it is so good to hear from you Lainer… hope all is going well in your world. You are right, “Steve’s eyes do light up” when trains are the topic of discussion! Everyone needs a hobby, a get-away, a way to de-stress. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  6. I love it! I can just picture Steve and those grandsons out there. Did they get all the instructions of do’s and don’ts? Wow! what a great hobby to share! and what a peaceful tranquil environment you’ve created in your backyard. thanks for sharing. next visit we have coffee out there

    • I can hardly wait for your visit! I think the weather is finally becoming more summer-like. We can sit and talk for hours.
      Thanks Sarah!

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