Tom and his toy

Tom's Trains

I've had a thing for trains and model railroads for years. I seem to go through phases... sometimes I don't have any trains.... sometimes, I am deep into designing and building a railroad. Like most everybody, I started with HO scale, but in the last 25 years I've been most interested in Z scale and G scale. Z is the smallest commercial produced scale while G scale is one of the largest.  My latest "money pit" is "garden" railroading is G scale w/radio controlled, battery operated engines.  This page includes info on my GardenRR that I play with in the summer, and my Z scale and modules I display with a local club in the fall and winter months.

The Garden Railroad

Z Scale Page

I am also into Z scale.  I belong to the Northwest Pacific Z Scalers here in the Seattle area.  I have built two modules (see the slide shows and movie on Z Scale page) which we show from time-to-time.  I also have a couple of portable Noch layouts that I take to shows when we aren't showing the modules.

I live just south of Seattle. I belong to the Puget Sound Garden Railway Society, the Boeing Employee's Model Railroad Club. I have displayed my garden layout during the West Coast Regional Meet July 1997, the 17th National Garden Railway Convention in 2001, and at the 2010 Nationals here in Seattle in 2010.  I also hosted 2012 and 2015 PSGRS monthly meetings at my house.

Tom's MRR Movies, VR Photos, & Slide Shows


 QT Movie of passing train (1.4mb)

Press photo to see my train passing the station (760k).  (Click to get the free viewer)


Jump on board! Press photo to see movie (800k). (Click to get the free viewer)


 QTVR G Scale


This is a QuickTimeVR 360 deg. panorama. This photo was taken in August 2003 with a Nikon 5000 and a OneShot360 lens. Click photo to load, then click and move mouse on photo to view.   It is only about 250kb in size but you need a QT viewer on your computer. (Click to get the free viewer)


1998...180k .jpg panorama stitched from 4 digital camera pictures.

My Garden Layout

I keep the switches covered when not in use with plastic boxes. My layout was started in the spring of 1996, so much of the gardening is still to be done. While I can't run two trains at the same time, I did installed an automatic controller to allow two trains to alternate around the layout using a passing siding on the left of this photo by the station. I use LGB 1700 series sensors on the track and magnets on the locos. I cleared the ground and put plastic weed barrier down first, then put pea gravel down. I then used 2X4's to contain the rock and put ground cover, stepping stones (for roadway) and bark over the rest.



 LGB 040 Bash

Bashing the LGB 040

I do a lot of "bashing" or modifying RTR and kits. Here is the 040 LGB steam engine that comes with the starter kits. These can be had for around $50-$100 and can be bashed and weathered to make a fun weekend project. Here is a new 040, which had a red cab, which I took off and replaced it with a cab from a Dalton loco. I run it with an Aristocraft sound tender. I am in the process of weathering the pair and putting Colorado & Southern decals on them



Tom's Garden RR ver 03/30/2016.  Tom Gilchrist.  For updates, suggestions, and corrections, please contact Tom .