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Christmas 2005 at the Arizona Big Train Operators ABTO

Again this year several members of the ABTO had an open house to showcase their home layouts and Christmas decorations all to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Arizona. I was only able to visit 2 of them this year.

Like last year, the people at ABTO are terrific people. They open their homes for all to see their months of love and labor all for fun and a good cause. I am hoping to make the open houses in April to get some daytime pictures. Even with the new high power flash I now have pictures do not capture the WOW factor of these layouts.

So I hope you enjoy an my thanks to Rodney & Janet Benner and Dan Hoag for opening their homes and chatting with me.

Rodney & Janet Benner's Red Rock Railroad

Guy's Rodney has it made. No only does Janet put up with Rodney's love of trains, she loves them too. The trains running in the living room through the kitchen are hers. She asked for them at Christmas. Items on the Red Rock of interest are the blinking radio tower lights on one of the mountains, the prison and an engine house on fire that smokes.


The prison

A bit hard to see but the tower lights blink.

2 shots of the engine house smoking.

Janet's railroad

Dan Hoag's Layout

I hate to say it but I never did get the name of Dan's layout. To say wow is an understatement. Virtually his entire backyard hold 3 loops all interconnected and has the capacity to have operation sessions. Something he hopes to do this year. Water falls and lakes abound. He has 2 working railroad crossing signals. There is a tram that goes from the front of the layout up to a mountain in the back over 6 feet tall. 2 loop tracks that run above his covered patio. Dan's engines all run off battery power so no track cleaning. He leaves everything out all the time. Engines get hidden in tunnels or under bridges to keep then safe. Dan installed 2 very large awnings like you see at playgrounds now to allow for year round operation. Check out the big bridge where some youths are testing their courage bungee jumping.


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