Model Railroading: The Wayzata Depot Garden Layout

Model Railroading: The Wayzata Depot Garden Layout

An outdoor model railroad you can visit in Wayzata, MN

G-scale is perfect for model railroading outdoors.  In this article, I discuss one such outdoor train layout set up –fittingly enough- on the grounds of a former railroad station which not only is still in its original location but is a prime spot for watching the prototype go by in the form of thundering unit coal trains, grain trains, general commodities, passenger specials, and other awesome displays of modern railroading.

During James J. Hill days 2006, a temporary G-scale garden railroad was set up on the south side of the grounds of the former Great Northern Railway station nestled along Lake Minnetonka in Wayzata, Minnesota.  Little did I know that on the east side of the grounds there would arise in 2010 a permanent outdoor G-scale pike would be built!

Sure enough, the Minnesota Garden Railway Society partnered with the Lake Minnetonka Garden Society, the Wayzata Historical Society, and the City of Wayzata to build a permanent outdoor display showcasing the best in big scale model railroading and gardening.

Girded by a cement block base, two loops of track encircle the layout which features everything from an engine house, water tank, and coal tipple to scenic trestles, a town … even a small station named “Toonerville” (where big main line trains pass, not trolley’s!) as well as a faithful replica of –you guessed it- the Wayzata depot, located on the layout’s north side facing the Wayzata subdivision of the BNSF Railway.

On summer weekends, members tend to their trains as they roll around the pike to the delight of kids –and train fans- of all ages.

Where are the trains stored when the layout is not in operation, you ask?  Why, unside the old waiting room of the depot, of course, which is now used by the WHS; a classy place to store the miniature replicas of the likes that thunder by outside in 1:1 scale.