The Bay Area Garden Railroad Society and South County Railroaders hosted their annual Garden Railroad Tour on Saturday.
The tour this year included 10 railways running though backyards in Hollister, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and the Salinas area. Admission to the tour was a non-perishable food item to be donated to St. Joseph’s Family Center or the Community Food Bank of San Benito County, or cash or check donation to the agencies.
In Hollister, the Stump family again participated in the tour at their Donald Drive home. The Rocky Hills Railroad runs through their yard with a logging loop and a mainline for freight and passenger service based on the look of railways in the 1930s and ’40s. Other locations included six locations in Gilroy, two in Morgan Hill, one in Prunedale and one in Castroville.
In the guidebook distributed this year, the garden railroad enthusiasts shared information about their backyards. The plants used in the displays are real and the railroaders look for fine-leafed plants that will look in scale to the miniature trains. The cost to start a railroad can be as little as $3 to $10 per foot for track, with engines starting at $200 and going up to $6,000 for museum-quality live steam locomotives. The structures used in the display can be built from kits or from scratch. The railways can be as small as 20×20 foot to designs that take up an entire backyard.
For more information on starting a garden railway, visit www.bagrs.org.