Riverside

‘All Aboard!' Riverside Couple Has Largest Train Set in the State

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A couple in Riverside have spent decades creating a model train world inside and outside their home.

Roger and Faith Clarkson say that the idea for the train set started in the early 1980s in their garage.

Roger Clarkson decided that he wanted a hobby he could get passionate about, so he picked model trains.

"I noticed that children like them, and I love children," he said.

Fortunately, his wife was on board. The two had just gotten married at the time.

"I figured I'd join him or I'd lose him right?" Faith joked.

It didn't take long for Faith to develop a passion as well.

"The more I get into it, the more I loved it," Faith said.

But after filling up their 700-square-foot garage with the train layout, the Clarksons were forced to move outside.

After decades of hard work, they created one of the biggest private model railroads in the state.

Roger put together almost everything in the station, from laying 3,200 feet of track, to building waterfalls and structures. The details were so realistic that visitors felt as though they were a giant walking around a tiny town.

"We like to run about 15 or 16 trains at a time," Roger said.

Jim Wood, a model train operator, has been repairing model trains for the Clarksons for almost a decade. He says that when the Clarksons open their home to the public, thousands will show up.

"I personally enjoy watching them enjoy it," Wood said. "The thrill they get to see the trains running."

Roger and Faith have children from previous marriages, but none together. They say this model train world is like a child to them. It's something they built from their love for each other and a passion to make people smile, especially kids.

"When [the kids] leave, they're so happy, but some don't want to leave because they're so happy," Roger said. It's a feeling that's likely shared by everyone, no matter their age."

Contact Us