Lynn & Joanne Denison

The Rose Rock and Crystal City Railroad (Now Dismantled)

A Featured Layout on the 2008 Four Club Tour Hosted by the Indiana Large Scale Railroaders Club

The dream of a garden railroad began in 1990, but due to being a United Methodist Pastor, my wife and I moved on the average of every 7-8 years. I gradually began to make purchases and dream. Finally, upon retirement in 2002, I finalized the design. Construction began in early 2003.

There is an almost constant ascending or descending 2% grade on the 350 feet of single, mainline track. In addition, there are 65 feet of siding plus 65 feet of streetcar line and an operating coal mine on this railroad. There are over scenic garden 200 bonsai style, trimmed trees.

There are two cities – Rose Rock (at zero elevation) and Crystal City (at 1.5 feet of elevation). There are 3 trestles, 4 girder plate bridges, 1 Howell Truss Bridge, 2 seven-foot tunnels and a small pond with waterfalls. Three steam locomotives and one streetcar make up the power on this railroad.

The mainline is divided up into nine separate “blocks” and designed to operate as a “Cab Control” operation. I am presently experimenting and developing an apple orchard (Cotoneaster plant) and an orange grove (Pyracantha bush). Seven buildings are solar lit.

2011 – Check Lynn’s progress since 2008 in the second section below.

2012 – Lynn retired his railroad in one of the most unusual methods ever. See bottom of page.

Above: A picture of the webmaster taking the photo below. Jeff Carter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

David Palmeter Photo

An Excellent Opening to the Layout Open House Season 2011
Indiana Large Scale Railroaders Club

Photos by David Palmeter

As you can see from the pictures above, Lynn had a very well presented garden layout for the 2008 Four Club Tour. But since almost all garden railroads are considered a work in progress, Lynn has continued to make improvements on the The Rose Rock and Crystal City Railroad. Interestingly, one of the major changes was the conversion of Crystal City into an apple orchard:

Lynn has also greatly expanding the working coal-mine-to-coal-unloader operation. Below is the coal mine where the hoppers are loaded:


And below is the coal unloading station. Lynn demonstrates the “laying on of hands” divine intervention technique if the coal is a bit recalcitrant:


Lynn demonstrates another technique, “making peace with the waters”, so he stays dry while working around the waterfall and pond:


The hand-tied bamboo trestle below was built by Lynn with bamboo grown and donated by Dr. Kaz Miyagi (shown in the second photo down with Lynn and Joanne’s son Chris). Dr. Miyagi has contributed many of the plants and has helped Lynn with pruning, shaping and maintaining the spectacular array of scale plants:


The scene in front of the church below must be one near to Lynn’s heart:

Above and below are scenes that clearly show just how well Lynn captures the human side and the realistic feel of garden railroading:

Below – we were honored to have Geoff Schwartz’ guest from the Bahamas, David Nicholls with us. David said he was not aware of any garden railroads in the Bahamas. We will have to get a group together next January and February to go down there and start one:



Great job Lynn and Joanne, the layout looks great and the cookies were terrific!

  As noted at the top of the page, Lynn has decided that maintaining his railroad is no longer within his physical capabilities. He chose a very unusual way to begin the dismantling process.

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1 thought on “Lynn & Joanne Denison”

  1. Lynn – You certainly had 9 grand years of enjoyment out of your great garden railroad. (Only way to really enjoy it is to actually build one, right?)  I always enjoyed visiting yor RR, that's for sure.  Just found out about your clever video (2/12/'13) last night at David P. house and watched it this A.M.   Very creative "Big Bang" ending. You as well as Ron Loudermilk covered the final train run very well. Thanks for sharing!  – Bud Hunter

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