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 Extreme Railfan

X-treme Railfans Page

Being a railran comes in many shapes and sizes.  The typical railfan likes to watch trains, take pictures and perhaps model trains on a layout in their basement.  But other people take the hobby much farther - to the Extreme.  And, that's what this web page is all about ... linking you with examples of The Extreme Railfan.

Garden Model Railroad fans run through the bushes.  Garden model railroaders actually set up miniature railroads in their gardens at home and run trains between the bushes.  Click here to see an out-of-state example.

Operate Your Own Steam Locomotive.  The volunteers of the Steam Railroading Institute, based in Owosso, maintain and oeprate their own steam locomotive, one of the largest ever built in the United States.  It is sometimes dirty, grimy work, but the rewards are enormous.  The Little River Railroad in Coldwater is also an example.

Own Your Own Railroad Passenger Car.  Several hundred of people in the U.S. own their own private railroad cars, many of which were sold at reasonable prices as Amtgrak and VIA Rail replaced equipment in the 1980's and 1990's.  Click here to see the website of the American Association of Private Rail Car Owners.

Quarter-Gauge Railroads in Your Back "40".  Some people construct 1-2 foot gauge (between the rails) railroads on their property.  Many of these are quietly operated to avoid zoning restrictions and to keep the neighbors happy.  Perhaps the two best known operations are near Fairview - the AuSable Valley Railroad - which is operated by the Shrader family, and the Junction Valley Railroad near Frankenmuth.  Both routes make for an excellent day trip of fun for the entire family.

Riding the Rails by Speeder.  About 1,300 people nationwide own former railroad track inspection/maintenance cars which are called "Speeders".  Through their national organization - NARCOA - they sponsor trips on railroads throughout North America.

Watch Trains and Signals On Your Home computer.  Digital Railscanning is taking off.  With a bit of tinkering, an 800 Mhz scanner can be modified to receive digital signaling from railroad trackside control points on your computer.  then, through a downloaded conversion program, you can map these signals to a track diagram in your home.  Click here to read about it.