The Spring Creek Railroad
G Scale Model Railway
Conductor Jerry Barnes
Engineer Jerry Barnes



 
The following is just a small sample of the work Jerry has done
with the SCRR, The link below will take you to a page that shows all the projects has completed or is working on.
 

 
!!!Jerry makes the news again!!!
 

 
 

 
 
  Like many garden railroaders I got my start with a Lionel train set when I was 6. I kept it over the years and my kids even got to play with it, when they were young.  My dad moved around a lot in construction work and we sometimes took the train back to Oklahoma. I still remember waiting at the station for my aunt and uncle to come in on the Santa Fe streamliner, returning from the Philippines. Later, I used to ride the UP streamliner from the University of Wyoming to Ohio, when my parents moved there when I was in college, I even took Sylvia on the train one Christmas to meet my parents. All these experiences affected my ideas for my layout.
     About 17 years ago, I had a few issues of Garden Railroads Magazine (the B&W ones) when my wife thought it would be nice to have a small pond in the yard, I said fine if I could have a garden railroad, and the planning began.
        My first train buy was a Aristo-Craft FA1 A&B units. Little was available back then except for LGB and a few Aristo units. The magazine had many articles on building your own trains using Stomper mechanisms. I had to repaint the FA's in Union Pacific colors of course, lettered with Larry Larson graphics. No one made streamliner cars then so I made my own diner, coach and dome car.  I had an article on the dome car in the Aug 1995 issue of GR.
  This was my first layout, when I lived in town. It was about 130' of code 250 NS Garich Light Transport Track(now SVRR). I like the looks of code 250 with our trains, I feel they look too toy-like with the larger code of track-although it's sturdiness can be a factor in choosing it. I made a jig for my trestles and made the bents from redwood left over from my deck build, I later used them on my layout you see in this issue, they have held up well. When I moved out of town 14 years ago, it was only two miles, so I hauled many pickup loads of rock, track, bridges and plants out to our new place.
       The first summer we had a huge dump truck of dirt delivered. I mentioned it to a fellow teacher and a few days later her husband suddenly showed up with a front end loader and asked how we wanted to spread it out. My wife and I stood outside for a few minutes and quickly came up with a plan-so much for a well-planned layout! This became what is now the inner loop. We got the pond dug out that summer and had track and trains running by fall. We live just a few hundred feet from Spring Creek and that is how we named the railroad. It is roughly based on a 50's time era, running both passenger and freight trains, with a bit of whimsy thrown in on occasion, note the dinosaur and dragon figures.  I have a bit of narrow gauge that I run on the inner loop.
        Sylvia(my wife) takes care of the plans for the plants. I have been trained to weed properly most of the time, but the look of the layout is due to her good eye and gardening skills. We have tried many plants over the years and now have a fairly stable, filled in layout. Dwarf Alberta spruces do well here, we usually plant them in their pots, just trimming off the top edge of the pot. We have had good luck with Arborvitae's, keeping them pruned for trees. When we first started we planted some Yellow Acre sedum, it grew well, then got out of hand, I would advise not using it, unless you want just one ground cover. I fight to keep it out of our thyme and speedwell areas. It does grow well where nothing else would, so can be a last resort. We've found on thymes that some types of it will die back, we got some from High Country Gardens that has done real well and does not seem to do that.   We try to group the rock together by type/color. We have a lava rock section a limestone section, trying to avoid having several types in one area.
        We both really enjoy the pond, despite the headaches they can cause. We used a rubber roofing liner and it has held up well. Our Koi and goldfish all came from Walmart and have grown quite large. We did have to rebuild the waterfall this year, it was leaking on the tunnel underneath, and rotted it out, that worked out well, since I was able to make a new double tracked tunnel and separate the old inner loop from the new outer loop we put in 3 years ago, using SVRR track again for that.
        The outer loop is 135', the inner loop is 115', the whole layout is about 62' long and 24' wide at it's widest point. The outside loop has about 20' diameter curves, the inner about 16' curves. I have track power on the outer loop, my battery cars mostly run on the inner loop-most just have a simple on/off switch, some have remote control. I also made the covered bridge from scrap redwood  deck boards I found in my son's backyard of his new house. The gray bridge is made from blue styrofoam, scribed with a block pattern and painted with artist's acrylic colors, which have held up well.
        Most of my buildings are made of clay. I was the art teacher here for 32 years and making a clay building was one of the projects I taught for awhile in my clay unit. They hold up well outside-if fired to a cone 5 temperature. The Texaco station is a wood based building, the second that I've had with this design, the first one was not made with the best materials. It is based on one that I saw in a picture of Jack Verducci's layout in GR many years ago-thanks Jack!  The log cabin is my latest, from a Timberlines kit Sylvia got me for Christmas. It is a very well made kit with good directions. My farmhouse is my other wood building, it has been beat by the weather over the years and I love how it looks. I think I will have to try and stabilize it though. All buildings have lights, mostly on the outside, with our hard water clear windows get frosted over with lime quickly. The lights run off Malibu timers and their landscape wire. Quite a few Malibu lights shine on key elements of the layout at night.
  I will be the first to admit I am not a railroad historian, or an operations type railroader, I like to get the trains running then  sit and relax on the deck. I do like passenger trains, based on my past experiences. Mostly Union Pacific, I  have a good book on UP streamliners, that aided me in my passenger car builds and one on the Kearney and Black Hills railroad that was near here, that is where I got the inspiration to make my McKeen car and trailer. I used the same technique as on my dome car, bending plastic over a wood form in Sylvia's oven. You can see an article on it's build in the Aug 1997 issue of GR.
   For me, the making of buildings, bridges, cars and locomotives is more than 50% of the hobby . It seems I am always coming up with new ideas for items to make for the railroad, or improvements to make. I have a well equipped wood shop with table saw, band saw, sanders/etc.. My little Dremel table saw is one of my favorite tools. I also have a metal lathe I am learning to use.
   My locomotives consist of the FA units(battery/RC), a Aristo Pacific and Mckeen cars. My Robert's Lines Pioneer Zephyer is the jewel of my trains that I have bought. I also have a scratch built live steam shay, a Aristo-Craft live steam Mikado, a Climax A(had stomper mechanisms, now Hartland blocks) a Bachman shay that I got as a shell and put new trucks/roof/stack on.
        I've made many whimsical locomotives also , a rocket car based on a tin toy I got at a flea market, coaches for my UP Eggliner, a one cylinder shay from the one I cut off to make a two cylinder shay(still not done) and a double nose E-8 made from two E-8  noses.  Oh yes, my FA unit has an E-8 nose on it that I got from Marty Cozad, you may recall his article on making a B unit for his streamliner set. (date?)
    My latest build was my Challenger in 1/29th scale. I used two Pacific's for the mechanism and parts. The front drive does pivot-that was the hardest part to do. I have two Aristo smoke units in it, that was a tight fit. I also made the centipede tender for it. I worked from photos I took of 3985, it comes by here almost every year and has stopped here also. There is a Challenger in North Platte also(only other one left) and I took a lot of pictures of it also to aid me in my build.  UP"s #844 is my next planned locomotive, I also have a rotary snow blower in mind and a caboose.
        I've made some rolling stock from GR plans for my Shay and Climax to pull and scratch built some, including my streamliner cars. I like the old MDC cars quite a bit behind my Mikado, it seems to be closer to 1/32nd scale than 1/29th, I think. I also have a mix of Aristo and USA cars. All have metal wheels and Kadee couplers.
        My figures are a mix of ones I've made and bought online , including the Lemax Christmas figures that seem to work well for me. I also pick up some at toy stores, I'm always looking for items that will work on the railroad. Most of the die cast cars came from Walmart, but they don't seem to carry those anymore, not at our local store anyway.
I never thought I would spend so much time working on my garden railroad in my retirement years. When I first retired I neglected the rail road for my modeling of the gun trucks we used in my company in Vietnam. I had also planned on doing art work, but the railroad gradually took over most of my time and I'm having a blast with it.  I am a member of the Nebraska Club, the River City Railroaders and you can see me at Marty Cozad's big September meet in Nebraska CIty.
        You can see more of my layout on my web site:  http://thescrr.com/    Scroll down to the buttons on the side for other pictures and videos. At the bottom of the Spring Creek Railroad page you will see links to my Vietnam pictures and paintings, my jukebox page and pages on my building of Vietnam gun trucks and also one on my wood ship models.  On youTube my videos are under the name: gunjeep444

        I know many readers are not on computers or don't like them much but the  forums below are chock full of good information and you are doing yourself and your rail road a disservice if you are not getting on them to read and see pictures of other layouts. They are free to join, or you can just look around and read. Give it a try!

      My favorite web sites are:
Garden Railways:  http://www.trains.com/grw/

My Large Scale.com : http://www.mylargescale.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Large Scale Central
http://www.largescalecentral.com/

Railway at a Glance:
 Name:  Spring Creek Railroad
Size of Railroad:  Roughly 24' x 62'
Scale:  I have trains in 1:29, 1:20 and 1:32nd, I don't care much about scale.
Gauge: 45mm
Era: Circa 1950s
Theme:  Mainline RR, mostly passenger/freight. Some Narrow Gauge and branch/trolley line on the inner loop.
Age: 14 years
Motive Power:  Live Steam, track power and battery.
Length of Mainline: 135'  Inner loop is 115"
Minimum Mainline Radius: 9'
Maximum Gradient:  0%
Type of Track:  Code 250 SVRR
Structures: Scratch built from clay or wood. Pond shack is a purchased bird house building I modified.
Control System:  Aristo TE, RCS and manual.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
   Jerry lived in many different states as he grew up, his dad was a union pipe fitter and they moved around a lot. He went to 18 different schools before graduating from high school in Cheyenne, Wyo. He got his BA in Art at UW, where he met Sylvia and received his commission as a 2nd LT through their ROTC program. He spent two years in Germany and a year in Vietnam.  Afterwards he got his Masters in Art and a teaching certificate on the GI Bill,  then taught art in Nebraska for 32 years.  He is now retired with his wife Sylvia on 5 acres in the country. She ran a sign business out of the home and still cuts lettering for the railroad. Sylvia is chief plant/designer person of the railroad. They have 2 sons and 5 grand kids, I'm hoping one will find the railroad interesting as a hobby, some day.


 

This video clip shows a good view of the SCRR

If you wish to view other videos by Jerry Barnes Please click below


Jerry's Videos

 
Jerry and his wife Sylvia work together 
on the Spring Creek Railway which is 
at their home in Lexington, NE. USA
Jerry looks after the railway end of things and Sylvia is in charge of the landscaping and gardening It's easy to see that they 
make a great team.


Pictures that Jerry took during
his tour of duty in Vietnam

 
   Garden Railroading, often called 'G' gauge is usually done outside in ones garden. It is about twice the size of the old Lionel trains that most played with at one time or the other. It is 45 mm(1.75") between the rails. It is a very versatile gauge, since it works out to be 1:32nd scale for mainline trains, or 1:20 scale for narrow gauge trains. There are some
scales in between , the main one being 1/29th that Aristo Craft invented, it works better for mainline trains, and is a bit bigger looking outside than the 1/32nd. Many aging HO scale modelers are turning to it, since it is easier to see and handle.

   The track is made of aluminum, steel or brass, with plastic or wood ties. It stays outside all year long. Most structures are made to withstand the elements , some will bring in their buildings over the winter. The track and bridges stay outside, just like on real railroads!

    The trains are powered by track voltage, like the old Lionels, battery power or the fastest growing hobby,  Live Steam. You fill the boiler with water, the fuel is alcohol, butane or coal, oil the mechanism and  light it up. Once it has achieved operating pressure, off it goes, spurting out water and steam just like a real locomotive-which it is! The trains can be remote controlled, manually controlled or run with the transformer. Most people have a mix of those, or all three. Live steam can work out to be the cheapest, since it needs no sound system.

    The garden plants usually fall into the 'dwarf' category so the vegetation does not overwhelm the scale of the trains. You try to keep the plants by the track real small, then you can get a bit larger as you move away from the track. Dwarf trees are also used, or trees/shrubs that have been trimmed in a Bonsai fashion to mimic a real tree. Sedums, mosses and herbs are used as ground covers. It is usual for the wife to control the plants and the husband to take care of the trains. It can bring a couple closer, or not!

    A water feature is often part of the railroad, be it a pond, waterfall or a river. It adds another dimension to the hobby that most find is a perfect fit with the railroad. Raising the fish and the plants is quite enjoyable.

    It can be an affordable hobby, some of the lower priced locomotives can be obtained for less than $50.00. 
You can go up as high as your budget will allow, some limited run, brass locomotives can cost over $15,000. 
If you are handy with tools you can make a lot of your own buildings/cars/locomotives.  You can make a layout 
in a small space, or use your whole backyard. Some are done inside, but you need a big basement.

    It is a very versatile and enjoyable activity that you can bring all your interests and abilities into play to create
your own world, be it real, fanciful or a blend of the two. It is a fun family activity for dad, mom, grandparents 
and kids. There are many clubs you can visit and most in the hobby are happy to explain and show off their railroad to all comers.

There are many publications devoted to the hobby and it's various aspects. Garden Railroad Magazine is the biggest in the U.S., Steam in the Garden covers the live steam segment, Finescale Railroad is more into the photography end of the hobby. There are also various publications in England, France and Germany. Most have a list of clubs. You 
can see Jerry's links for the internet addresses of some of these and web sites devoted to the scale.

LGB was the first main G scale manufacturer, it is based in Germany, but recently went bankrupt. It's main market had become the United States, but was not making very many US style locomotives. Aristo Craft is now one of the largest companies, with it's 1/29th scale, concentrating on US locomotives, all are electric, but they are now branching out into live steam.. Bachman is focusing on 1/22nd narrow gauge scale and has improved it's quality and level of detail. USA Trains focuses on US mainline locomotives and cars, mostly in 1/29th scale,  but did bring out a Hudson and the Big Boy is coming out soon.. MTH just entered the market with a Union Pacific Challenger and now a Union Pacific Big Boy.  Aster is a company in Japan noted for it's live steam locomotives of incredible detail. They are usually offered as kits or assembled, some models are also electric. Aster uses 1/32nd scale and has an avid following, if you can afford it. Their prices go up to $5000 or so for a detailed locomotive. They are made in small runs and usually sell out fast. . Roundhouse, out of England is noted for it's live steam locomotives, mostly of English engines, but they run  and sell well. Small, specialized companies spring up occasionally, making obscure locomotives in batches of 25 or so, usually of good quality, most of these seem to be in the UK.
Jerry Barnes


 
The SCRR is comprised of many projects that Jerry carried out over the years. 
The link below will take you to a page listing most of these projects.
Winter on the SCRR


 
 

Jerry has said in the past that a garden railway stays outside in all kinds of weather.
This ice storm that hit Nebraska on Dec 20 2006 is a good example of what they have to withstand.


The big ice storm broke branches in every tree in Jerry's yard, including the willow by the railroad, luckily they missed the new trestle, may be damage to the rails that were on the blocks, but he will have to wait on that till later. 
Luckily, the branches missed the new covered bridge, Jerry breathed a sigh of relief over that! 

 
The Aristo Craft FA-1A&B units were what first got Jerry into garden railroading. 
He had to repaint the engines in UP colors. The streamliner cars were scratch built by him,
at that time no company made any. 
They evoked memories of his rides on the Union Pacific, when he was in
college at the University of Wyoming.
The first thing he put in for the railroad was the pond. It uses  rubber roofing as the liner. The waterfall has a tunnel going under it. They have koi and goldfish in the pond, they stay in year round. They keep the waterfall running all winter and 
have a small heater to make
sure a hole stays open to vent the gases out.
The fish go dormant, the pond is 30" deep,
so will not freeze all the way down.
Many garden railroaders become Koi fans and get
into raising exotic colors and patterns, many are
happy with goldfish though.
Here is an overall view of the railroad and pond. 
Jerry has about 120' of track but he has an 100' \
expansion planned.
   
   
Here is Jerry's Aristo Craft Live Steam Mikado pulling 
a freight train of Aristo and USA G scale cars. 
They are on my redwood trestle he made 
about 12 years ago
This picture is an overall view of the town. 
Most of the buildings are of clay and have lights that 
come on at night-mostly the street lights. Jerry has
found having the windows cut out and lights inside 
does not work very well.
 
 
You can see the dome car Jerry made on the back of the 
train. UP never had any that had a curved back, but he saw 
one on a Canadian passenger train and liked it 
You can read about its construction in 
Garden Railways Magazine, May-June 1991
The Texaco station is Jerry's other wood building and the
first he actually made about 12 years ago. It is showing the effects of age and being out a lot. A new one will be made 
this winter, probably of clay.
The farm is one of my few buildings made of wood
but a replacement is made of clay but is not put out yet
The main railroad station.
The cars are die cast Walmart buys
The main railroad station is also of fired clay, 
sitting on a concrete
base. The different colors were achieved by using 
different colors of clay. It is quite heavy!
The lights come on at night, there are no interior 
lights, since he did not cut any windows out,
just painted/molded them in. 
He used acrylic paints to give a glass illusion.
The smaller North train station is also high fired clay. 
Jerry also made these figures from clay. 
The vehicles are metal die casts.
The bank is a ceramic building made from 
high fired clay. Batman is looking it over
 
Jerry's rebuilt Bachman shay heads for the new 
covered bridge.
The live steam Mikado roars through the new covered 
bridge. That's REAL steam!
   
The Mikado rounding the new curve/trestle on
the south end of the layout.
Real steam again!
The new Zephyr is shown on the west expansion
that Jerry and Sylvia did last year.

 
View a video clip of Jerry's Mikado
making it's fist 
run of 
the 2007 season
View a video clip of Jerry's Shay
Clip 1
View a video clip of Jerry's Shay
Clip 2
View a video clip of Jerry's AristoStreamliner
Clip 1
View a video clip of Jerry's AristoStreamliner
Clip 2

 
Jerry's third article on building the shay made the cover 
of "STEAM and GARDEN" magazine
The shay showing a nice plume as it goes through the
tunnel on a cold day. Note the snow by the door.

 

    Jerry took this shot on Sept 22, 2008,  of the Union Pacific's Challenger steam engine coming into Cozad, NE 
for a scheduled maintenance stop. It was on it's way to Minnesota. UP hastwo big live steamers left, this one and #844. 
They keep them in the roundhouse in Cheyenne, WYO, they usually send them out once or twice a year.
This time the Challenger was pulling mostly maintenance cars that are assigned to it. The two tenders haul water/fuel.

You can read more about the steam trains on the UP web site:
http://www.uprr.com/aboutup/history/loco/locohs01.shtml



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Some of Jerry's Favorite Web Sites
Jerry's Jukebox
Jerry's Paintings that he did of things he saw while serving his tour of duty in Vietnam
Pictures that Jerry took during
his tour of duty in Vietnam
Jerry's Model Ships
My Large Scale dot Com
This site is probably the best
G scale site there is
Steam in the Garden Magazine
Lots of good steam info and people 
who know steam
Live Steam 1/29
A site that Don McKay started up 
devoted solely to the Aristo Craft 
Live Steam Mikado
Large Scale Tech Tips
This site was started by 
George Schreyer  years ago. 
Lots of good info there
Colorado Model Structures
Very reasonable priced buildings a 
building parts for your railroad.
Union Pacific Railroads
This web site has information on their 
two live steamers they still run and 
where they are going to on excursions.
You can follow them on line.
Vietnam Transportation Association
Vietnam Transportation Association
Good web site if you are interested in transportation in the Vietnam war
Modeling Vietnam Gun Trucks
This site will show you how Jerry has done his Gun Truck Models.
Building a Model Gun Trucks
Vietnam Gun Trucks
Heartland Military Museum
Museum at Lexington, NE on I-80. Devoted to vehicles
used by the military.
Always Jukin' Magazine
Site devoted to jukeboxes, 
many ads and stories
Fast Hits Music
If you are looking for that certain
45 for your jukebox, this is the
place to go to

 
 
 
John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
A                            picture tour of the 64 remaining Covered                            Bridges of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges 
of New Brunswick Canada
Visit Nova Scotia's Covered Bridges of                            the past
The Covered Bridges
of Nova Scotia Canada
Visit Lonnie Hedgepeth's Covered Bridge                            that is being built for his live steam                            train.
Visit Lonnie Hedgepeth's 
of Rocky Mount, North Carolina site.
He has used the plans provided on my web page and is building a Covered Bridge for his Live Steam train.
The building trades class at Darlington HS in Darlington, Wisconsin built this covered bridge for a local
business man
Julie's                            model covered bridge
Julie and her father Gary built a model bridge using the plans on my Covered Bridge site for a school project
Your Railway Pictures.com
A very complete site on Canadian Railways
Bridges, Stations, rolling stock and much more
John's Old Tractor Pictures

 
 
 
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