Phipps Conservatory has debuted a first in the botanical world this fall: a Garden Railroad with N-scale model trains.
N-scale models are 160 times smaller than actual trains, the third-smallest scale of model trains. Phipps’ two N-scale trains will have engines about six inches long, with one depicting an historic 1880s locomotive and another representing a modern train.
Phipps Director of Horticulture Margie Radebaugh says one challenge is managing a living landscape at such tiny scales.
“You’d use ... things like almost tree seedlings, sedums, baby tears, baby mosses, things that have very small leaves.”
Radebaugh says the entire landscape will be alive, with tree forms six to eight inches tall.
Phipps’ Garden Railroad exhibit also features three larger G-scale trains: a Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train, a freight train running crops through farmland, and a logging train rolling through a forest.
The Garden Railroad runs through March 13.