Last month I talked a little about narrow gauge but also mentioned my 1.5” backyard ride-on. Officially it’s called “Live Steam” even though I don’t have any steam to speak of. I usually open it up to the neighborhood once a year and the kids have a blast riding it! I have a blast operating it. Sometimes even after the last kid has ridden I’ll still do a couple more laps on my own.
Over the years I’ve talked to Mike Hansen (among others) at trains shows about this special sized trains. You see, so many people love trains but most don’t have time to make it their full-time hobby. Riding a scale (or mostly to scale) small train is a fun experience and, in a way, an opportunity to expose more people to model railroading. I know of at least four homes in Utah County that have ride-on trains in their yards and as much as we like to share them with others, it’s usually pretty limited in the number of rides that can be given.
Mike’s dream has been to have a museum and/or park where the trains could be run more frequently. It seemed for awhile a place was found in Orem but that fell through. Then the City of Saratoga Springs was going to make a park where a ride-on train could run through it but the plans were turned down. It was a huge disappointment. I heard one fellow say, “Don’t give up hope yet!”
Seemingly, out of the blue, I got the following email a short time ago:
Utah Live Steamers & the Salt Lake and Utah Railroad Historical Society is excited to announce WE HAVE A PLACE WE CAN NOW CALL HOME YEAH!!!
After 8 years of waiting, The City of Saratoga Springs has approved and awarded the bids to begin construction of Shay Park, beginning mid June 2015 and ending November 2015. I hope we can have trains running by the summer-fall of 2016, there will be two loops of track, loop 1- will be aprox 1,000′ loop 2 will have 1,500′ plus two sidings, and in time a third loop is planned in a few years adding another 2,000′ plus.
Needless to say I’m very excited and happy, I as well as others have wanted a train park in Utah Valley since childhood.
Dreams do come true they just take time.
When I can figure out how to add photos to the club website and the artist drawing, I will post them, what the park site looks like and what it will become.
So please stand by the Adventure begins.
Thank you all for your support and patience.
This is great news! I know there are a couple of places the public can ride up North. I’ve been to them and seen how much fun the local people have. Now we can have a similar experience near where I live! If you want to help out or just want to be on Mike’s email list, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The website http://uvls.org will be updated in the near future.
What has all of this to do with the AP Program? Well, I’ll tell you! For me, I’ve always said the AP Program makes me a better modeler. One of the things that when you sign your name applying for a certificate is that you promise to help others with the knowledge you’ve gained. Indirectly, I suppose, as we share this hobby with all we meet is a way for us to help others learn about how wonderful this hobby is. Parks like this one we hope will have a great impact on the community and possibly more modelers joining our clubs and then more people to share our skills and knowledge with. Thus helping everyone so we can enjoy the journey together!