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Backyard Railroads Deliver Fun at Every Turn

It’s easy to lose track of time at the helm of a small-scale railway, navigating twists and turns on a customized personal path. Mark Fenbers, owner of Love on Rails, wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fenbers has always been obsessed with trains, and it’s easy to hop on board with his train of thought: Love on Rails builds backyard railroads for the enjoyment of young and old alike.

“I’ve loved trains all my life,” Fenbers explains. 

While attending a rail festival several years ago, he learned of a club that operated one-eighth-scale ride-on trains. The club eventually decided to sell a circle track they no longer needed, and Fenbers wound up the proud owner of his own track. 

“My intention was to set it up for hire at church festivals, birthday parties, or other social events,” he remembers, noting that he quickly realized factors like insurance and storage complicated that plan.

“So,” Fenbers continues, “I decided to install the circle track in my own backyard. Over time, I added to the circle track, and now I have two loop routes laid out in my backyard, and a siding along the garage.”

After acquiring a small, pre-owned train, he was all set.

“Family, friends, and neighbors all lit up once they saw it,” he recalls. And then made note of its growing popularity. “More and more, people wanted to ride on it, and told me how they wished they had something like this in their own backyard. So, this is where my business idea was born.”

Fenbers’ project sizes range from a 60' diameter circle, to…well, the sky’s the limit. His own backyard track is partially on a trestle, goes over a pond, through a deck and even has a functional railroad crossing signal.

Picturing the need for an expansive property? Not so, says Fenbers.

“Many assume their backyard isn’t big enough for a ride-on train,” he says. “But, surprisingly, it can fit in much smaller spaces than most people realize. For example, my entire lot is just under a half acre, yet I have two routes of train tracks in my backyard—a backyard that also includes a swimming pool, a large deck, a pond and stream, a firepit with built-in seating benches and a shed for my mowers.”

Fenbers explains that his biggest joy is in seeing people’s reactions.

“When I built the large-scale railroad in my own backyard, or when clients bring people out to see my progress, their responses are over-the-top in positivity,” he smiles. “Even people who aren’t inherently fascinated with trains light up when seeing my work for the first time!”

“I do what I do because I love it,” Fenbers says. “I love building things, and I love railroads—now I get to build railroads, which merges my two loves into one mega-love! I look forward to working on these projects every day.”

He also appreciates the joy that his work brings to the community.

“The smiles are priceless,” says Fenbers. “Especially on adults!” | 513.305.8705

Check with your HOA and secure all proper building permits before starting any new project in your yard.

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