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Taking Model Trains to a Grand Level

The Piedmont Garden Railway Society – Taking Model Trains to a Grand Level

By Mark Levin, story & photography

Most people have had a train set in their lives at some time or other. For some, it’s a fun toy for two or three years. Eventually the locomotives, cars and tracks become dusty and forgotten. And then there are members of the Piedmont Garden Railway Society. To these folks, trains are a passion. It might be a hobby they’ve only recently acquired in retirement and for others, it has been a hobby for decades. If members weren’t born with railroading in their blood, it’s there now. And where else but in the shadows of the famed Saluda Grade, tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, is a train layout that defines what a garden railway is all about.

Garden railways are “G” scale trains with track being standard at 1 ¾ inches distance between the rails. Different scale trains can run on the same track. Most kids who get a train set as a gift have the “HO” scale or slightly larger “O” scale made by Lionel. It is almost a rite of passage to have owned a small layout with HO scale equipment. Now supersize that many times over and you have the “G” scale version. These locomotives and accompanying cars are large. A locomotive can be two feet long and weigh several pounds.

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