© Lisa Shara; Published in North State Parent, November 2014
Mike Evans says the beginning of his fascination with model trains began when he was about 4 years old and he “inherited” his older brother’s Lionel train set. Now an active member of the Shasta Garden Railway Society (SGRS), Mike attempts to describe just how addicting model railroading can be, laughingly describing it as “a viral infection.” Trains played a memorable role in his childhood. He recalls his dad’s weekly train commutes, leaving Redding, CA, on Sunday nights to get to his to job in Oakland, and returning home Friday nights. And then there were the special days of January, when, after the majority of the neighborhood kids had received model trains for Christmas, they would come over, bringing their tracks and trains, and “we would run trains throughout the entire house, playing for hours and hours.”
Mike sees that same enthusiasm now in youth participating with SGRS. “We have two teen members who are absolutely addicted, and a former member who began with us as young boy who is now a professional locomotive engineer with Burlington Northern. That was his dream after he became involved with model trains.”
Shasta Garden Railway Society members meet monthly at each others’ homes in Butte, Glenn, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity Counties. Members each typically have their own large-scale garden railway back-yard set up, but anyone interested in model railroading can join the fun. All ages are welcome, and family participation is encouraged. Additionally, SGRS has a portable train layout that recreates the logging and mining railroads of the area. It’s 14’ by 26’ and has dual tracks with a yard area where members’ models are displayed. There are also buildings, trees, people and more that bring the display to life. Look for it at events, or call to have it brought to yours. For more information visit www.shastagrs.com online or call (530) 365-2079.