|LAST RUN ON THE DAL VALLEY RAILROAD
OCTOBER 9, 2006
About 5 years ago, Tom expanded the railroad out into the back yard. Elevated portions were
built using 1/4 by 2 inch strips of PVC (photos on next page). At-ground trackage was laid on
crusher fines ballast. All outside track was Aristocraft stainless steel track connected with Split Jaw
rail clamps. Curves were wide, grades were gentle, so this railroad could handle long trains and ran
very smoothly. One route was well over 500 feet long, in which trains ran around the basement, out
through an opening, along the elevated portion, down to ground level, and back. We had several
nice get-togethers there in all kinds of weather. Over the last year or so, Tom didn't get much time
to work on the railroad. A highly invasive weed, Japanese Stilt Grass, took over the railroad,
covering Moss Mountain, track ballast with weed barrier, even the walkways. Meanwhile there
was some major damage due to deer.
But the final blow was the news that Tom had to sell the house. So the railroad had to come
down. A small group of us stopped by on a mild October afternoon to help Tom dismantle the
railroad, and I brought along my well-travelled Budd Car for one last run.
The Budd Car starts off on the last run on the Dal Valley Railroad. The rails were
overgrown but there were several spots where it could stretch its legs. The other
guys were starting to remove track, so the Budd Car didn't have much time to
The Budd Car peeks out behind Ken as he works on the track.
Cliff and Ken are unscrewing some tight screws on the rail clamps at the
This is how the ballast eroded in the spot just beyond Cliff in the above photo.
The Dal Valley Railroad was started ten years ago as a large basement layout named for
Tom's favorite breed of dog, Dalmatian. The layout was built at 68 inch height, easy enough to
duck under, yet high enough to enable the rooms to be used for other forms of recreation.