SWCeS Student Slated Second Youngest Member of Local Model Railroading Club

The Durango and Silverton Railroad lies at the heart of downtown Durango and draws thousands of railroad and steam engine enthusiasts' a year. There's something exciting about traveling via one of this countries founding modes of transportation, twisting through the mountains, pine and aspen forests and along river banks and cliff sides that might have a person clinching the railing for dear life. Glimpsing majestic views of mountains and panoramic scenes of meadows and rivers that cannot be seen from any highway or road in the area. All while being pulled by what feels like a living, breathing machine.  
Trains have long sense held passion for many people, young and old alike. Though with new, faster more efficient and sleeker modes of transportation and inventions of more attention grabbing mechanisms at our fingertips, the steam engine train enthusiast seems to be a dying breed. However, as our very own Aidan Crouch shares with us, there are a few young folks coming back to this founding form of transportation and inspiring new interest in railroading. Here is his story.

I am the current president of the Durango Model Railroading Club (the DMRC), a local group of 10-20 people who love all things model trains. We meet around once a month to learn more about model railroading, operate trains on each others’ layouts (scale model railroad systems), or just do fun, train related activities together; the most recent event was a hike along the grade of a railroad that ran from Durango up to Perins City (behind Perins peak) between 1900 and 1930.


I am currently constructing my own layout down in an insulated room in our barn. I’m working on a 4ft by 8ft piece of triangular piece of plywood. I’m modeling in n-scale (1:160 scale), so a Diesel engine is about 3.5in long and 1in tall. Right now I’m in the process of carving and stacking insulating foam sheets to form hills and depressions in the landscape. After that I’ll move on to securing the track to the ground, wiring it to conduct the electricity that will power the trains, adding ground cover (grass), foliage, and model trees/water/rocks, and finally model roads, building, and other small details to complete the model. 


At 16 years old I am the second youngest member of the DMRC. Aside from three guys around my age, the rest of the group are in their fifties or sixties. A common lament among members is that model railroading as a hobby seems to be dying out. As the current enthusiasts grow older, it seems fewer young people are taking up the mantle than ever before. This is the result of several factors, including the monetary expense of building layouts, the time commitment required, and a decrease in attention span in younger generations. 

Image of model railroad with modeled landscaping

Modular section of a joint layout project based out of the Bayfield fire station (HO scale).


Image of model train landscape with ranch, trees and outbuildings.

Close-up view of my 4ft tract section (N-scale).


Image of model train tracks being prepared for installation.

Modular section of a joint layout project based out of the Bayfield fire station (HO scale).


Image of model train rail yard tracks being prepared for installation.

Railyard section of my layout.


Image of model train landscaping foam board being prepared.

Carved out section of foam sheets on my layout (for rail yard).


Old photo of first train ride.

Photo of the first train ride down the Durango—Perins City railroad (taken in the early 1900s).


Image of old stone wall from original town of Perins, CO where train use to run.

Partially crumbled wall of a house in Perins City (behind Perins Peak).


Image of old train parts.

1920s era metal components of the Durango—Perins City railroad.


If anyone is interested in learning more about model railroading or interested in joining the DMRC or attending an upcoming event, please contact Aidan at [email protected] for more details.