Backyard Railroads: World's Longest Model Train

A DVD documentary of an unusual garden-railway event
Backyard Railroads: World's Longest Model Train
Backyard Railroads: World's Longest Model Train
Marc Horovitz

DVD review

Backyard Railroads: World's Longest
Model Train
Movie-Mix Productions
282 Kerry Drive
Santa Clara CA 95050
Running time: 75 minutes
Price: $12.95
Web site:
This is an interesting program about an attempt to break the Guinness world record for the longest model train. The attempt was made on a large, private garden railway in Scottsdale, Arizona-the Dynamite, Rio Verde & Eastern. The railway was built for its owner by Rick Cartwright, a commercial builder. The first part of the program consists of Rick talking about the construction of the railway. This is interesting, despite the self-promotional overtones, just because of the large scope of the project. The mainline length is 1,250 feet.

The remainder of the program has to do with the attempt on the record. It's Rick Cartwright's baby and he narrates what takes place. Once the concept was agreed upon by the railroad's owner, Rick started enlisting the help of others. This ultimately grew into a long list of volunteers, contributors of money, trains, batteries, R/C gear, and more. The train itself had to be nearly the entire length of the railway to qualify. It then had to travel one and a third laps of the line to break the existing record (set with HO-scale trains).

What I found most interesting about this tape was not the attempt itself, but the thinking and planning that went into it. Twenty-two engineers would be involved, running what amounted to several trains coupled together. Thus, the final train would have locomotives interspersed throughout its length at regular intervals. You can't just hook together a train a quarter of a mile long, stick some engines on the front, and expect it to go. There are a lot of problems that must be solved, and that's what this program explores.

Several attempts were made over the course of three days in 2008. We see bits of many of them. Between day two and three, we get a ride on the line, with the camera placed on a car ahead of the engine. Then we are shown the final day's attempt. Sadly, it failed, but many lessons were learned.

This is a documentary of an unusual garden-railway event. Although the Guinness record was not broken, most likely what is shown here is the longest train ever run in the garden. The video is well photographed, edited, and produced. If you're looking for an hour (plus) of entertainment, this is one to consider.


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