The RiverBend and Southwest Florida Railroad
Nestled in the palm trees and tropical landscaping near the River Clubhouse is the RiverBend and Southwest Florida Railroad. This is a private railroad club with 10 members. The G gauge railroad has a scale of 1:20 modeling narrow gauge trains. Fans show up on Saturday mornings to enjoy the trains and have a wonderful breakfast offered at the River Club House. The railroad has become a drawing card for the resort.
The outdoor railroad began at its current location in 2008 and in the past five years has grown from a small project into a booming success. On Saturday mornings it is not uncommon to see between 200 and 300 people watching the trains operate. Operations start by 9 am and run until the railroad crews get tired!
The village or town on the railroad was funded by people who had business or fond memories of houses in their past. Currently the railroad has about 110 structures with no more planned as room for storage has run out. All of the buildings were built here in the park by three dedicated members.
The track switches are pneumatic and are powered by an air compressor and is controlled by the dispatcher at a panel next to the track. The railroad has a 35’ long hand built trestle that contains 777 hand cut cedar boards. It stands 13” tall and has 55 bents. There is also a 7’ long tunnel covered with rock and plants to enhance the railroad. Currently there is about 1200’ of track with more to be added. The trains are battery powered and remote controlled. The trains are exact replicas of those that operated throughout Colorado and eastern California from the 1880’s to the 1960’s. Some of the trains still survive and operate on tourist railroads in Colorado and New Mexico.
Operations on the railroad start about the third week of November and run until the end of March each season.