Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy

Train to run this weekend in Niwot


September 21, 2017

Photo by Curtis Jones Farms complete with equipment and workers are part of Jones’ model train display in his Niwot front yard. Jones will have the whole scene up and running this weekend.

Residents and visitors to Niwot this weekend will get a special treat if they swing by 8008 Pebble Road.

Curtis Jones will be running his G Scale model train in his front yard, an attraction that draws people from all over the area.

Named the John Galt Line after the character in Ayn Rand’s classic novel, Atlas Shrugged, Jones has 220 linear feet of track for the trains that are roughly the size of an adult forearm.

“I started doing this because we have a pond in the front yard and I decided that a fake P51 (fighter jet) needed to be crashed into the pond for a decoration,” Jones said. “My wife was not amused. So she bought me a beginner train set up. It was about 15 feet of track, basically a loop around a tree.

“I thought that wasn’t enough. I bought another 250 feet of additional track and started to do my thing. I laid the track down and did the landscaping. There were really two reasons, one I like trains and two I like creating scenes, my own little world.… There’s something about that that is fun.”

Jones did all of the landscaping for the scene with real plants. He now has two separate tracks with two trains (25 cars total) running independently.

“It’s not huge, but we have a lot of little details,” Jones said. “We have a bike race, probably 60 or 70 animals in there. I’ve got a campground in there, some rock climbers … all sorts of small details.”

As for the plants and landscaping, as a member of the Denver Garden Railway Society, Jones was featured in an article about incorporating an actual vegetable garden into the scene.

“Last year was great, but this year the rabbits and squirrels decided that they needed to invade the John Galt Line,” Jones said. “I haven’t called out the armed forces yet, but they invaded so the vegetable garden doesn’t look as good as it should. It still looks nice though, and it’s still fun.”

The tracks are outside all year, but Jones brings in the items that would wear through the winter. He has regular showings, but has been busy with work this year and hasn’t got it out as often as he did over the past few years.

The last time he had it running and invited the public, kids were invited to join in a scavenger hunt to see if they could find all of the items in the scene.

“This is what Niwot is about,” Jones said. “Most people know each other, and I think they treat each other well. It’s a unique place. There aren’t many places like this left.”

Photo by Curtis Jones This scene shows a campsite and a station for one of Jones’ tracks in his yard. In total he has over 200 feet of line that goes around various garden areas and plants.

He added that many people with similar setups will put them somewhere that the general public doesn’t see, not necessarily for that reason. Jones said that Niwot is a perfect place to have his track on display.

“Most people put them in their backyard but I did it in the front because I wanted other people to enjoy it,” Jones said. “Niwot is a good place for that. We’re not on a main street but a lot of people walk by and a lot of people like to look at it, ages two to 80. I’ve really enjoyed doing it and sharing it with people.

“There’s something about working on the train. The two things I do to clear my brain from work are bicycle rides — 100 to 150 miles a week when the weather is good — the other is the train. There is just something about creating and building that is indescribable. It’s rewarding to get things done and that other people get to enjoy it.

“And this is kind of a joke, but the John Galt Line is its own political entity so Boulder County has no control over it.”


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