Bay Area Garden Railway Society

Is the Roving Garden Railway just a good idea?

07/21/2011 11:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

One of the cool aspects of meeting new garden railroaders is learning a few new tricks. The Roving Garden Railroad has attracted its share of innovative ideas, many of which have been implemented and displayed at our recent West Coast Regional Meet. One such innovation came from Tony Cullen whom I met at the San Leandro Historical Railway’s open house last year. Tony wanted to see the trailer and had his nephew drive him and his wheelchair down from Sacramento to one of our work parties. He was anxious to show us his invention, something I’d never seen before. The train was average, but all eyes fell on a little old railtruck hauling crates of squawking chickens, which scooted along on the tracks just in front of the loco, seeming propelled by magic. I wanted one. My version is a bargain Bachmann handcar, whose motor gears had been broken: on the rear bumper Eric Moe mounted a powerful magnet in reverse polarity to another one on the front of the loco. See photo. Now on the same loop two engines “share” the track, but only one needs to be powered. It’s fun to see the handcar drivers bobbing up and down trying desperately to outrun the engine, which always keeps a safe distance.

I can relate to those handcar drivers. Keeping the Roving Garden Railroad going has been a part time job for me. The second photo shows the work of many BAGRS members who have been great to work with, but now we need to show the trailer. It’s a huge responsibility and I need help, especially with some late summer/fall venues. Without more investment from BAGRS members, I’m sad to say, we’ll have to chalk it up to an interesting lesson in what our members don’t want to do with their time and find a buyer for it. The idea was to get the “word” out to the general community about our hobby. Maybe the time isn’t ripe for this venture, a good idea, which needs a more invested crew, more like a full-scale railroad with all the people necessary to make it function safely and still have fun. I’ve had many people give me ideas about what I should do. Do you have any ideas on what you can do?

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