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Prior Smoke Signals articles covered Big Canoe model train layouts located in basements or a room above the garage.   But did you know that Wildcat resident John Herzler has operated a backyard Garden railroad in his back yard for the past 18 years? “I believe that this is the only outdoor railroad in Big Canoe. It resides on a plot approximately 25 by 150 feet and includes two lakes, two operating waterfalls, 600 feet of stainless-steel track and thirteen turnouts”, said John.  Garden railroads are also known as G-Scale, which is based on a 1/22.5 scale.

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If you had driven along Highway 53 near Tate any time before 2015, you would have passed a weathered and worn train depot sitting beside the track at the crossing.  If you looked closely as you passed by the end of the building you probably wondered why the building was so close to the road …

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Tom English and his wife Carole are long-time residents of Big Canoe, moving here in 1998. Tom retired from his career as a data network engineer and analyst in 2002.  As with all the other Big Canoe model train hobbyists included in this series, he was exposed to trains as a youngster when …

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Jim Long retired the first time in 1969 when he was discharged after serving as a staff officer  assigned to a Hawk battalion in Schweinfurt, Germany for 18 months. After leaving the service he joined the Department of Housing & Urban Development and held a number of staff and management…

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Mike Martin, a Navy Vietnam Veteran, retired in 2006 from his position as Assistant Chief Counsel for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), where he supervised ATF attorneys throughout the Southeast. Mike and his wife Jeanie enjoyed hiking the mountains of North Geor…

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Like many people with model railroads, I received my first trains as a youth when my older brother and I received two American Flyer train sets for Christmas. One of the sets was a steam engine powered freight train and the other was a diesel engine passenger set with three locomotives. We b…

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If you live in Big Canoe you have a love for our mountains.  However, there is at least one of our residents who also loves the big mountains to the west -- the Rocky Mountains and the high peaks west of Denver, Colo.  Lee Schalon was a Naval aviator and later a Delta pilot, retiring as a Ca…

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Bill Gibson is one of several retired Delta pilots who live in Big Canoe.  Bill and his wife Susan moved to Big Canoe in 2002 and for many years has been active in the North Georgia Veterans Association and the Big Canoe Chapel. When Bill retired from Delta after nearly 31 years his interest…

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Join us for a tour of Big Canoe’s model train lines and the expert engineers who designed, developed and run them. With model railroad buff Cecil Schneider as our guide, Smoke Signals Weekly will visit seven model train enthusiasts, check out their layouts and find out what drives their pass…

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Rev. Len Walker, senior pastor at the Big Canoe Chapel, has one of several Lionel O-Scale train layouts in Big Canoe.  He started his layout in a room over his garage shortly after moving to Big Canoe in January 2012. This four-track layout was designed with a lower height than most layouts …