PULLMAN, Wash. – Most of us have that cool neighbor that lives on our block – but one man in Pullman has taken things to a whole new level by building a train route all the way around his house.
Bob Brown said he has spent the last six years building the train tracks that circle all around his home.
"I was raised with small Lionel trains at home in the 60s and then you kind of grow out of it," Brown said, "You go on to college and life keeps you busy and you never get around to getting back to those hobbies."
Now life is not as busy anymore, so Brown had plenty of time to turn his love for trains into a hobby you can actually ride.
"It's just like a real train. When we cross it will blow the whistle and when we come through crossings and such," Brown said.
The 400-foot long track with a 20-foot electronically powered engine holds four people and travels at a leisurely three to four miles per hour. A perfect speed to take in the view.
There is even a tunnel – which was the first part of the project he built – that cuts through a hill that is next to his home.
"I built the tunnel and the tunnel was by itself and someone came by and asked if that was a train tunnel, and I said it will be," he said.
Two years later it was. Mapping out the tracks came next. Then after Bob picked out his engine and seats, all that was left was to add an engineer.
"I'm the engineer and then we usually have a caboose," Brown said. "It's something that can't operate itself."
Brown even put up railroad crossing signs.
The route begins in Brown's driveway, then it winds around blooming cherry and plum trees. Then it crosses over a trellis, built by Brown himself, that looks over their koi pond and landscaped yard.
"The whole object of this was to make it as easy and as fun as possible to built. And I enjoy this," Brown said. "Everybody looks at this and sees work. I had fun."
Brown said we all need a hobby to enjoy and keep us distracted from the "not so fun stuff." For Brown, that not so fun stuff was being diagnosed with kidney cancer last year. He is near the end of his chemo treatment, and his doctors tell him to stay active.
So, just like his train, he keeps moving forward.
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