For over 25 years Van has been laying track on his land in the Great Basin. With 10 miles of track he just may now have the world’s largest estate railroad.
I (Dale) helped lay the first mile of track in 1996. Hard work but fun and interesting. Van’s goal was to build the railroad entirely from the train and track a=so that the land would be undisturbed. So that it really feels like heading out on the narrow gauge into the wilderness. Well, he did it! After the first mile of heading into the landscape, you understand that you are in fact on a railroad in the wilderness. No roads, no other tracks, no trails other than deer trails, you are in the middle of nowhere on a narrow-gauge train.
The gauge is 7 1/2 inches and most of the equipment is 2.5-inch scale or models of three-foot narrow gauge trains. The flagship is a huge model of Uinta 50, the articulated locomotive that ran on the Utah-Colorado border years ago. However, there are several other models of 1/8 scale steam and diesel locomotives.
Van’s railroad is never open to the public and he has asked us not to tell the location or his real name. He just wants to run his trains not to have meets or people over.