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The Wolverine Garden Railway History
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The Wolverine Garden Railway History


September 5, 2002

I got the bug for large scale trains this past June when I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, IL. They have a large scale display, the Jr. Railroad, with 11 operating trains around recreations of 40 historical landmarks. I had been contemplating where and how to have a train set up in my house, but could not come up with a location that wasn't already in use that I could take over without causing major strife. Once I saw the Jr. Railroad my path became clear, I would have to build one in the back yard. After getting WAF (wife approval factor), I could begin planning. So I have been spending the last few months researching and developing a track plan. I am currently working the track plan using RR-Track. Once I have completed a first draft I will display it here.

December 1, 2002

The Christmas Division of the WGR went into operation today. The office Christmas tree was erected and the track set up underneath. I expanded the 4' circle that came with the starter set with two 2' straight pieces to make a 4' x 6' oval. It was well received by the kids (including the grown up kids). Here's a couple of pictures. Two minor operating glitches have been encountered. The rubber from the traction wheels for the Rogers locomotive wore off rather quickly onto the rails causing power pickup problems. It was probably due to the fact that the train had been in box for a long time and the traction tires had aged prematurely. Once the outer layer of rubber wore off no new deposits were left on the rails. The rails were cleaned and operation has been fine since. New traction tires will have to ordered.

The second operating problem is that the Aristo 5400 power supply included in the Rogers starter set cannot power the Rogers engine with the three Sierra passenger cars. The overload protection cuts the power when the engine starts going at more than a crawl. So the train operates with only two passenger cars. I have ordered Aristo ball bearing wheel sets (29132B) to replace the existing wheels that use the carbon brushes for power pickup for the Sierra Cars. I hope this will reduce the drag enough to use the 5400 power pack for the Christmas train. If not, I will have to get a larger power supply.

2002 Acquisitions
2002 Construction


February 1, 2003

Planning has begun on an overhead railway for the office. After Santa delivered the hand car for Christmas. I was asked how I was going to run the hand car and the Christmas train both under the tree. I was contemplating running two loops under the tree. My wife then suggested putting in an overhead track in the office to run the hand car on during the holidays. I was sold! So I have begun looking into the possibilities. It will just be a simple loop around the office with a total length of about 45'. This will give me something to work on to give me more time to do landscaping outside in preparation for the WGR. I've started a new page to document the construction of the WGR - Overhead Division.

July 31, 2003

The WGR - Overhead Division is now operating. The rail was laid last week and the inaugural run completed. The kids of all ages enjoyed watching it run.

December 1, 2003

I've decided on where to have the Christmas Lil' Critter set run. I will have it run on the overhead line in the office with the Rogers train under the tree. The Christmas hand car will be moved to the top of the entertainment center in the family room, and will be run as a back-and-forth line using an Aristocraft reversing unit.

Here's a picture of the Lil' Critter train over the Christmas Tree.
Christmas Lil' Critter Train

2003 Acquisitions
2003 Construction


Very little was accomplished this year with the WGR. A few acquisitions and the construction of a back-and-forth track for the Christmas handcar.

2004 Acquisitions
2004 Construction


Lots of planning have happened this year. I spent most of my time working with the RR-Track software to rework the layout.

2005 Acquisitions
2005 Construction


After three years of planning and dreaming I was able to start on contruction of the WGR outside. It's been slow going but construction is finally happening.

2006 Acquisitions
2006 Construction


A new division of the WGR was created. The Halloween Division was start with the acquisition of a LGB Peanuts gondola car themed after the television special "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I have created a separate web page to document this new portion of the WGR.

I made good progress on the construction of the WGR in the crawlspace of the house this year. I should be able to finish the road bed soon.

2007 Acquisitions
2007 Construction


I was able to work on the crawlspace portion of the WGR for a few months this year. I didn't get the roadbed done yet. Once pool season hit this summer construction was halted. In the fall I was training for my 4th marathon, so that took up my weekends until the end of the year.

2008 Acquisitions
2008 Construction


I'm continuing on the road bed.

2009 Acquisitions
2009 Construction

This page last updated March 27, 2009

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