Profile Preview: A passion for trains

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scott Moldenhauer has taken his love for model trains and built small scale replica set-ups in his basement and outside his home. -- Eric Johnson/

Even avid model train collectors think Scott Moldenhauer is crazy about trains.

“They consider me the nut,” he said. “I’m the one … you can tell it to your wife that you know someone who’s more addicted than you or spends more money.”

Since he was a boy, Moldenhauer has collected model trains, and he’s graduated to having his own rideable railroad: the Red Rock and Northern Railroad.

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Right now, he has a 1,200 foot loop, and he’s working on a 1,200 foot addition on the north side of his property. He already had nine switches on the loop, and an estimated 60 tons of rock. Once you start, the sky is the limit.

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said. “A person can be taken with it.”

Not only does he have a rideable train outside, he’s also building a g-scale track — also called garden scale — outside.

The g-scale model can run on electric and steam, also known as garden trains. Some of his model trains function on butane and water like a real steam engine. He has a sixty foot loop outside for the model trains.

While it’s not the most expensive model train, Moldenhauer said it’s not a cheap hobby. However, he said it’s affordable, as some engines are available for as little as $200. High scale model engines can range as high as $10,000.

“They’re kind of collectibles, but they run like watches,” he said.

Moldenhauer said he has a productive nature, and enjoys keeping busy. He’s planted trees and bushes around his outdoor tracks. He also is making model building and model trees from scratch for his indoor g-scale track.

Moldenhauer is thinking about starting a club for people to bring their own model trains to run on his outdoor large-scale track. He said model trains can be a way to promote something good.

“A model railroad is a good way to bring neat things to people, which always reminds me of what I tried to do in a clumsy job — try to promote something good,” he said.