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, LLC, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s a crazy life I live,” he says. “But I love it!”
Mark has always been obsessed with trains, and it’s easy to hop on board with Mark’s train of thought: Love on Rails builds backyard railroads for the enjoyment of young and old alike.
“I’ve loved trains all my life,” Mark explains. While attending a rail festival several years ago, he learned of a club that operated 1/8th-scale ride-on trains. The club eventually decided to sell a circle track they no longer needed, and—you guessed it!—Mark wound up the proud owner of his own track.
Next, he had to decide what to do with it.
“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,” Mark 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.”
Project sizes range from a 60' diameter circle, to … well, the sky’s the limit, Mark explains. His own backyard track is partially on a trestle, goes over his pond, through a deck, and even has a functional railroad crossing signal.
Track rails are made from aluminum, and ties are made from a thick, hardened, weather-resistant plastic. Mark estimates that tracks built with these materials should last for at least 50 years (how’s that for going the distance?).
Then, once the tracks are in place, it’s up to clients whether they’d like to add a small-scale train or a simple hand cart. Either option is available through third-party vendors—and Mark is eager to help with that process, as well.
Picturing the need for an expansive property? Not so, says Mark.
“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.”
Mark explains that his biggest joy is in seeing client 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!”
Speaking of—the time is right, Mark suggests, to begin thinking about what Love on Rails can do for you. “Winter is the best time to get a free estimate so that work can begin as soon as the weather is conducive to working outside, usually April,” he shares. Clients are served on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier a client commits, the sooner Mark can schedule the project.
“I do what I do because I love it,” Mark 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.”
“In fact, I love it so much that I’ll give $500 off installation costs to anyone who mentions they saw this article in Loveland Lifestyle.”
He also appreciates noticing the joy that his work brings to so many in the community.
“The smiles are priceless,” Mark says. “Especially on adults!”
LoveOnRails.com | 513.305.8705
I do what I do because I love it ... I love building things, and I love railroads—now I get to build railroads, which merges my two loves into one mega-love!