Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Site with Sights--and Oversights

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, located in the heart of Scottsdale, AZ, was the site of Railfair 2012. And, sadly, the site of a significant oversight on my part.

A brief newspaper entry on the monthly Calendar of Events noted the date for this display of model railroads by clubs in the Scottsdale area.

As I walked around the temporary displays in the park, I was surprised by how elaborate the displays were that had been set up for the (only) two-day event.

Just considering the time to establish a solid base for the tracks on the layouts added a considerable amount of time to total set-up time for the club or individual.

Then figuring in the time to construct the backgrounds with the buildings and signs of life along the rail lines, I could see that the hobbyists were conscientious folks.

The addition of these familiar cartoon and Sesame Street characters added touches of humor to this display,

and the attention paid to detail, such as the time taken to find just the perfect color match for these styrofoam "red rocks," showed the variety of interests of the individual creators.

In the railyard in a corner of the park, I found a turntable, water tank, trestles, and a complete machine shop. Here was the first of the larger trains. I don't know the scale designation, but this locomotive of the Columbia River & Cave Creek Railroad was way too big to fit under the tree on Christmas morning.

In addition, the train shed's machine shop is the location for building and maintaining the park's Paradise and Pacific Railroad. The centerpiece of the park was built and operated as an exact 5/12 (5 inches equals one foot) reproduction of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad.

The Paradise and Pacific Railroad carries young and old passengers throughout the park on a one mile track. The railroad features three steam locomotives, two diesel engines, and several scale model cars.

Another train, though not in service on this day, also seemed ready to be pressed into service for similar rides around the park if it was needed.

"The beautifully carved and meticulously restored Scottsdale Charro Carousel was purchased by the Scottsdale Railroad and Mechanical Society with significant participation by the Scottsdale Charros, a local service group.

"Completed in 1950, it is registered with the National Carousel Association for the preservation of antique carousels.

"With 30 horses and 2 wheelchair chariots, it is a child's delight!" (

And to that child in all of us.

Leaving the park, I passed Magma Arizona #6 on display here since 2000. Completed in 1907, this locomotive was originally on the Arizona & New Mexico roster as number 26. The Magma Arizona Railroad had been constructed by the Magma Copper Company for their mining interests in Superior, AZ, and operated between 1915 and 1997 (

About my oversight: The park's 10,000 square foot model railroad building that houses four model railroad clubs, three layouts and a variety of exhibits and hands-on amenities--at least eight scales of trains, from the smallest Z-scale to the full-sized Roald Amundsen Presidential Pullman Car. GEEEZ.

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