The train is roughly 1/20th the size of an early 1970’s Southern Pacific train that once ran through Silverton and neighboring towns throughout the Willamette Valley. The feature consists of 120 feet of circular track, looping the 1970’s Southern Pacific diesel style engine complete with two box cars, two flat cars and a caboose, around a mountain and through hedges. Dwarf conifers and other small plants are set in place along the route, their size and species intentionally coordinated with the train’s G-scale proportions. The goal is to show how to use limited garden space and appeal to children.
The Oregon Garden’s horticultural team designed the vegetation and plantings for this innovative exhibit, while the Pacific Crossings Railroad Club of Salem and the Rose City Garden Railway Society of Portland donated funds to purchase the train and accessories, and designed the layout. The project took about a year and a half to complete and has become a favorite feature for kids of all ages, most of whom can’t resist waiting for the train to toot its way out of the arborvitae tunnel emblazoned with an iconic golden spike.
Powered by a low-voltage electric track, all the train’s components are weather safe, and it is generally in operation between 10 am and 3 pm daily.
If you’re interested in supporting the work in the train garden, please visit the Network for Good to make a donation.