Sept. 5 column: Garden railroads

Here is a link to my column in Sunday’s edition of The Spokesman-Review: Short-line Railroads. It is a feature story about two Spokane couples — Tony and Theresa Goatz and Mike and Maggie Williams – who have garden railroads. I thought it would be fun for folks to read about this unusual type of gardening that blends their enjoyment of gardening and model trains. I really enjoyed getting to visit their gardens and can see how addictive it is to watch the trains as they circle the tracks.

If you have always been a train enthusiast and enjoy gardening, you should consider checking out The Inland Northwest Garden Railroad Society.

Chuck Inlow is the president of INGRS and has this to say about the club:

“Our club was officially started in January 1994 by the hard work of four families living in the Coeur d’ Alene/Spokane area. We wanted to form a club where people with like interests in garden railroading could get together and have fun in sharing this great hobby with one another and the public.

“We meet on a monthly basis on the third Saturday of every month at a member’s home, with the exception of December. Our meetings usually start at 11 a.m. and include a potluck lunch, a short meeting, a raffle, lots of train-running on the host’s layout, and of course fellowship with each other. Currently, we have around 40 family members in our club, although they all don’t show up at every meeting.

“Our membership dues are $20 per year for the entire family and a one-time $5 fee for each name tag. There are lots of benefits to becoming a member:
• Fellowship (meetings)
• Friendship (meeting new people)
• Helping Hands (railroad building)
• Learning (modeling skills)
• Fun (playing with trains)
• Web site (full access)
• Newsletter
• Clothing (hats and shirts)

“Anyone interested in visiting one of our meetings or information about our club can visit our web site at and leave their information in our guest book and our web site administrator will get in touch with them.”

Update as of 9/11/11: I just noticed ini today’s edition of The Spokesman-Review that they have included more photos of the Williams’ and Goatz’s garden railroads at