Just updated MAY 2020:  Check out Larry's Pics of Real Trains

Lionel GN F3 Daylight
Larry With Amtrak Cascades Seahawks CAB Poppy Hudson displays his Polar Express Ticket Ryan and 'Steam Cloud
More of Larry's Trains More Real Trains Andy's Trains

Amtrak Cascades at Olympia-Lacey; March 2020 Amtrak Cascades Siemens Charger trainset at Olympia-Lacey Centennial Station in Washington state, March 2020. The late-model engines pull or push passenger cars manufactured by Talgo of Spain, which now has a Wisconsin plant that manufactured some later model Cascades train cars. The engine was purchased by the state of Washington. Trainsets are owned by Oregon and Washington and operated by Amtrak.

 Larry on a former Army switch engine that operated at Joint Base Lewis McChord.
Sounder to NFC Championship, Jan. 19, 2014
Larry at Mount Baker Linki
Photos by Robin Ganders
Above, Larry boarding Sounder special game-day train at Lakewood Transit Station bound for NFC Championship Game next to Seattle's King Street Station, Jan. 19, 2014. Seattle Seahawks defeated San Francisco 49ers 23-17 at Century Link Field to earn a trip to the Super Bowl. Larry boarding Link light rail for Seahawks exhibition game on Sept. 3, 2015.
Below, Larry's shift partner at Centennial Station, Barbara Howard. The Olympa-Lacey station, built with community donations, has become the state's 4th busiest station and has been 100 percent operated by volunteers for 27 years.  The building closely resembles a Plasticville station sold for model train layouts across the country.

Welcome To Folks Interested
In Northwest O-Gauge Model Railroading

This is a great hobby and I like to share some of the fun with you. My name is Larry Ganders and I live in Olympia, Washington, USA. Email me by clicking here:
Larry Ganders E-mail  

Anthony, March 2020  White Fish 2019

Left, my neighbor, Anthony in March 2020. Right, photo from the statue outside the Amtrak Station in White Fish, Montana, where we took the Empire Builder in 2019. Below, Granddaughter Poppy, 15 months old, with the classic 275-watt Lionel ZW transformer (Produced from 1948 to 1966)  May, 2017. Also, granddaughter Skye operating a G-Gauge Lionel Christmas train and Anthony being the overpass to the Southern Pacific Daylight. 

Poppy and Dinosaur Train

Grandson Hunter Thomas visit to Hood River, Ore; July 2, 2006
Grandson Hunter Poster commemorating Thomas The Tank Engine visit to Hood River, Ore.on July 2, 2006

 Amtrak Coast Starlight from Los Angeles to Seattle pulls into Centennial Station in Olympia in March 2020.

Larry is a hobbyist Enjoying Northwest

Roadnames in O-Gauge Three-Rail

Larry's First Train, Lionel Santa Fe switcher
Larry's first model engine was a Lionel Santa Fe NW2 switcherr made by Lionel in 1962. This was the General Mills-owned era of Lionel Trains. While a low-end switcher, it is relatively rare and sought by collectors.
Larry specializes in Northwest road names such as Great Northern, SP&S, Northern Pacific, Milwaukee Road, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, Burlington Northern, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, and so forth. He models for the steam-to-diesel conversion years, about 1955 to 1965.

Fred Hecker

 He has modeled in O-Gauge since a youngster, tutored and inspired by the Spokane Valley Hometown Hardware Owner Fred Hecker, with a store on East Sprague Avenue. Fred had a basement Lionel steam layout in his home near Comstock Park - across from Larry's home


Mabton & Yakima Valley

Larry spent his very early life around some of the great Northwest rail lines. He watched the Northern Pacific steamers with bells ringing, switching at Mabton in the Yakima Valley.

 Wishram & The Columbia Gorge

He saw and rode the SP&S 4-6-6-4 Challenger at Wishram and watched trains lumbering through the Columbia Gorge on both Oregon and Washington sides of the river.  A favorite camping spot is Maryhill State Park with views of the main BNSF line on one side of the river and the Union Pacific on the south bank. A Great Northern Baldwin P-2 Mountain steam engine (GN# 2507) is displayed at nearby Wishram due to the efforts of Klickitat County. Larry remembers when the 4-8-2 P-2, repainted to SP&S (Spokane, Portland, and Seattle) markings, was displayed during the 1960s at Maryhill State Park. The engine was purchased from GN as a gift to the county from SP&S. It was removed from the park for unsuccessful restoration efforts in Pasco before BNSF brought it back to the county for display at Wishram.


Hangman Valley & Spokane

He heard the haunting horns of the great Burlington Northern and Union Pacific diesels running along the cliffs of the Hangman Valley to Latah Junction near Spokane.

As an elementary school student in Spokane, he rode the orange Great Northern Empire Builder cars pulled by an F3, his favorite consist.


Great Northern Station, Spokane

(Also used by SP&S)
Havermale Island
Circa 1971

Sketch by Wes Moline, Courtesy Bill Moline, Spokane

Pasco & the Columbia Basin

As a newspaper reporter, he wrote and photographed the last of the hobos at the Pasco, Wash. hump yards. 

Olympia & South Puget Sound

He now is a volunteer at Centennial Station, southeast of Olympia Wash., and south of Lacey along the Yelm Highway. This is where the Amtrak Cascades (EMD F59 locomotive)Talgo train between Portland or Eugene, Ore. and Seattle or Vancouver, B.C. stops multiple times every day.  It is the only station that serves the state capital and was the first  Amtrak station in the United States staffed completely by volunteers. It is now the fourth busiest station in Washington state. The horn of the the Coast Starlight can easily be heard from his home as it also makes a twice-daily Olympia stop on its passenger route between Seattle and Los Angeles. The main track also carries freight trains under both Union Pacific and Burlington Northern flags. It is the same track that carries the rumbling Genesis engines and other trains by Safeco Field during a Seattle Mariners game.   

MTH, Lionel, and QSIndustries

Larry's operating layout utilizes features of the Mike's Train House (MTH) Digital Command System (DCS).  He  has QSI and conventional locomotives as well.  

Larry at Centennial Station Olympia-Lacey Amtrak Station

Larry working at Washington's all-volunteer Olympia-Lacey "Centennial" Station, March 2020


Engine 251 CAB Unit, 2020

Left, original poster commemorating the opening of Centennial Station in 1993,
built with community grants and donations. Right, Amtrak engine 251 in the poster is photographed 27 years later as a Control and Baggage Car (CAB) on a Cascades Talgo trainset at the same Centennial Station.


Categories of Larry's Collection

Amtrak and Sounder
Modern Passenger Service

MTH P42 Genesis

Sounder 904, F59PHI

Amtrak Genesis
GE P42
Wave Scheme

Amtrak 469
F59PHI Diesel
Northwest Colors


Superliner Cars

The Burlington Northern Family

BNSF SD 40-2

Dash 8 from Mike's Train House

BN Santa Fe

GP 38-2
Boeing, Everett

Burlington Northern
GE Dash 8

Western Fruit Express NP FT Diesel NP 080 Steamer

Burlington Northern
Western Fruit Express
Northern Pacific
FT Diesel

NP O-8-0


Dome Car

Burlington Northern Lumber Car BNSF Box Car Burlington Northern Box Car Burlington Northern Cylindrical Hopper Car by Atlas Santa Fe Switcher
Burlington Northern
Lumber Car

Burlington Northern
Santa Fe Boxcar

Burlington Northern
BN 6-Bay
Cylindrical Hopper
Santa Fe
NW2 EMD Switcher

NP Ice Car BN Atlas Caboose
Northern Pacific
Ice Car

Burlington Northern

Spokane, Portland & Seattle Railway
BN Family Member

SP&S 910

SP&S No. 868

SP&S Caboose

SP&S Brown Boxcar

SP&S Green Box Car

Spokane, Portland and Seattle Oil Burner
4-6-6-4 Z-8 Challenger

SP&S #868
Alco FA-2

Extended Vision



Great Northern
BN Family Member
GN 412A, EMD FT Diesel

GN 080 Switcher

GN 2-8-8-2 R2 "Chesepeake" Steam Engine

GN No.7 Switch Engine S2

GN 400 EMD SD45

GN 412A
Western Star

Great Northern

Great Northern R-2
2-8-8-2 Articulated
Mallet (Chesapeake)
Great Northern
S2 Switcher

Great Northern
EMD SD45 Hustle Muscle

GN GP-20, Blue Scheme GN E-8 Long No. 525 Lionel Great Northern F3

Great Northern Blue Scheme

Great Northern
E-8 Long
# 525

Blue Scheme Switcher

Great Northern
Alco RS-3

Great Northern

Great Northern Crane Tender Car GN 1725 GN Mikado 3205, Alco

Great Northern
Crane Tender

Great Northern
Crane Car

Great Northern
Hudson  Engine

GN Alco Mikado
GN Cow-Calf

GN RDC GN Trailer Carrier GN Rotary Plow GN Jordan Snow Plow GN Rocky Box Car

Great Northern
Rail Diesel

Great Northern
Trailer Carrier
Rail Car

Great Northern
Snow Plow

Great Northern
Snow Plow

Great Northern
Rocky Goat
Box Car

GN Tank Car GN Side Window Caboose

Great Northern

Great Northern

Milwaukee Road

Milwaukee E-8, MTH


Milwaukee Road
E-8 Diesel

Milwaukee Road

Milwaukee Road
Hiawatha Steam

Milwaukee Road
Maintenance Truck Car

Turkey Car (QSI System)


Milwaukee Road
Turkey Carrier

Milwaukee Road
Coil Car

Milwaukee Road
Hiawatha Observation

Milwaukee Road

Southern Pacific
GS4 Daylight 4447 SP Observation Car

Southern Pacific
GS4 #4447

Southern Pacific

Northwest Logging
Weyerhaeuser Shay



The Union Pacific Collection


UP Northern 826

City of LA, E-8

UP Box Car


M-10000 "Tin Worm"
Electro-Motive Diesel

UP Alco 826
FEF Northern

E-3 Passenger
City of Los Angeles

Box Car

UP Caboose

Union Pacific Searchlight Rail Car

UP Passenger Dome Car

UP Extended Vision
Caboose 9706


"Searchlight Car"

UP Passenger
Dome Car

Obervation Car

UP NW2 Switcher with Proto 2

UP SW-9 Switch Engine With Proto 1

UP Cattle Car

EMD Switcher
Cab 1085

Cab 1834

UP Cattle
QSI Sound

Old Lionel Toy Trains

Lionel 2046, originally owned by Karl Boehmke

Lionel 2026 Prairie

NYC F3 by Lionel

Lionel 224E

2657 Lionel Tinplate Caboose

 Lionel Lines 2046 4-6-4 Hudson Steamer
Made in 1950

Lionel 2026
Prairie Steamer
Circa 1949

New York Central F-3 Early Lionel AA Diesel
Made 1949-54

Lionel Lines 224E
2-6-2 Steamer
Made in USA 1938-1940

Lionel Tinplate
2657 Caboose

Lionel Cattle Loader and Car

Lionel Cattle Car, Pre-World War II

Automated Milk Car by Lionel

Sunoco Tank Car No. 6465 by Lionel

3652 Car

Lionel Cattle
Car and Loader

Lionel Cattle

Lionel Milk
Automated Car No. 3472

Lionel Sunoco
Tank Car No. 6465

Lionel Barrel
Dump Gondola 3652

Suisse Schlitz Box Car Washington State Grain Car


Car, Milwaukee

Rainier Beer Woodside Refrigerator Car, Seattle

Olympia Brewing Company, Tumwater

State of Washington
Grain Car

  Hand Car Armour Hog Car W/QSI Chevron Tank Car Bobber Caboose Car

Fruit Express
UP and SP



Chevron Tank

Great Northern

Diabolical Nose Art Suburban Propane Car Hooker Chemicals, Tacoma

World War II
Nose Art Tribute

Propane Car


Carpet Training

 The Coast Starlight
General Electric Genesis P42 Diesel

 My newest model train, acquired in March 2020, is this Genesis P42 engine the locomotive currently on The Coast Starlight and The Empire Builder. It is made by Mike's Train House and equipped with the Proto 3 system.



Sounder Commuter Train
F59PHI Streamlined Electro-Motive Diesel

 My train room carpet loops feature this commuter train between Lakewood, WA and Seattle, an MTH with PS2 modeled after the streamlined diesel F59PH and matching passenger cars, the prototype trainset built by Bombardier of Canada (now owned in 2020 by Alstrom of France.) Right photo shows the iPad wireless control for the Proto 2 engine.


Easter Sunday, 2011

Bob's New York Central:
Early Lionel F-3 Diesel

 In between permanent layouts, Larry has taken to "carpet training" for the last several years. He is pictured with the late Bob Plotts running a vintage model diesel engine purchased by Bob in the 1950s.  We miss Bob, a huge fan of all types of transportation.

The New York Central F-3 was among the first two types of model diesel engine manufactured by Lionel trains beginning in 1949. It came out shortly after General Motors built the first real 1,500-horsepower F-3 engines between 1945 and 1949. The F-3s were used for both passenger and freight trains. Bob's locomotive is one of the original Lionel 2333-20 models manufactured in both NYC and Santa Fe until 1950.  Bob estimates that he purchased it in 1954 in Spokane, so it is at least a 57-year-old toy train. With a little lubrication and maintenance, it still zooms around the track like it did when Bob was a lad. And the "A" unit still carries a D Battery that makes the horn blow, a horn technology that reportedly gave Lionel fits during development in the 1940s. Lionel must have perfected it, because this model still blows its horn on command today.

Bob also had a Lionel 2026 "Prairie" steamer (2-6-2 Wheel Configuration, circa 1948-49, designed for 027 track) when he was young and kept it the rest of his life. It was displayed in his living room at the time of his death.

(Photo by Roseanne Plotts.)

Bob's Lionel 2333-20, Vintage 1950 Model

Lionel 2026, Bob Plotts

Top, The New York Central F-7.

Below it is the 1948-49 Lionel Prairie Steamer as photographed by Larry in 2014.

Scale railroading colleague Andrew Rohrback helps Larry carpet train a vintage 224E Lionel steamer. Check out his layout.

Nothing runs like a deere!*

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