American Freedom Train on the Blues

AFTFreezeFor most it’s a life dream to build a model railroad. For the past 25 years one of my rail buddies, Keith Schaber, has been building his Union Pacific Blue Mountain Division. Built on two levels, with operating signals and many sidings, a train will take a real 50-plus minutes to go from one end to the other and operating sessions call for several yard crews, many ‘locals’, and can handle all the ‘road crews’ that show up!

Keith did not build it alone. As the tradition here in the Monday night ’round robin’ group is all about going from layout-to-layout to help build or operate the model layout, whichever the owner decides for his assigned Monday. Thus, we all had a part in helping Keith build his amazing layout.

Six weeks ago we all came together for the final run. It was a hard decision to take down such an amazing work of art, and it is clear that you must “own the building your railroad is in”. Knowing it was coming down created motivation to film a train ‘over the hill’ and to document what would soon be, and now is, a memory. So I enlisted the help of my son, who for all of his life has been part of our N Scale group, and we set up a total of three cameras as the train rolled past. Although we have never done this before, the outcome was good. Later, I took my Great American Circus & Wild West Show as an ‘Extra East’, but that video is still being edited and will post sometime later.

You’ll see here the seven-minute version of my American Freedom Train west bound, on July 12, 2014, which was the last day of operations on the Blue Mountain Division. 

Posted in ,

Lowell Smith

A native of Portland, Oregon, Lowell Smith married his church choir sweetheart Barb in 1978. After a lifetime of rail-fanning, Lowell and Barb ventured out in 1992 to launch a new business in Portland, Oregon. Read more

Latest On The Track

What They Say:

Gordon and Dorothy

I have never been treated as graciously and in a manner more suited to a VIP in my life, as I was on our train trip.  It’s obvious how you’ve made your life a success story.  Looking around the train and seeing your friends I’m pretty sure they  were all made to feel very special by you, and your…


“You seem to be the shining light in an industry that’s seen a lot of change since the early 2000’s when I was last in the hobby”.

B. Kutch

Love your 3-rail O Scale Atlas Woodside Reefer series. Looking forward to future issues.

Ray F.

I just wanted you to know my O gauge Hood River Pears car came yesterday in perfect condition. This car is just beautiful I can’t wait for the next one to come out. Keep up the good work.

J. Arenas

Wow… You made my dream come true with the CK Holiday! I am a great admirer of your work.


I just received the “The Great Locomotive Chase” set from the Walt Disney Family Museum. Very nicely done!


Lowell, I received my Great Locomotive Chase set today. “THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.” Keep up the good work.


Lowell, thanks to you and your company SP&S modelers (myself included) are having a much easier time modeling the North Bank Road. Thank you for your hard work!

Rick S.

Every new release from your Signature Series gets me revved up for the rails.


I really am enjoying what you are producing, Lowell! Thanks for doing it. Jerry