Railway Pages Index

Sonja`s Cowtown Train
The Real Garden Railway

A Fantasy Train in a Whimsical World
Where Cows are the Top of the Food Chain

The Setting
In the Principality of Cowtonia, it is always summer, the grass is always green, and the trains always run on time. Cowtown citizens shop till they drop at Grandma Mooses General Store. In Moo West’s Saloon, a piano plays honky-tonk tunes for Bull Cassidy and Cowlamity Jane. At the other end of town, a choir practices at St Nicowlas Moonited Church, under the watchful eye of Rev Hiram Bull.



Rudolf Bullentino and Gloria Bovine are courting in the park, while rival Bull Rogers pretends not to notice. Bronco Bully, Billy the Calf, and Mother’s Little Rascow play tag at the fishpond. At the Cowtown Train Station, more bovines wait patiently, as Cowtonians are wont to do, placidly watching the train pass..

Ah, it’s so peaceful, so romantic, so soothing, so un-real – which, of course is the beauty of the thing! No prototypical operation, no rivets to count, no scale to observe – j ust plain fun.

The Train
The Real Garden Railway is a delightful model of a market garden on rails. It sits nestled on its own 6 by 9 foot grass carpet anywhere it pleases – at home, at shows, or someone’s backyard. It’s the only railway model to win 1st Runner-Up in a contest for which it was not even entered! (Heritage Park Railway Days, Calgary, June 2000).

The string of ornately painted HLW freight cars is towed by an MDC L’il Hustler diesel locomotive. The market garden lives quietly in the gondola with the market sales handled by Ma and Pa Cattle on the well-fenced flatcar. Jethro Bovine is eating fresh corn-on-the-cob in the open-air restaurant car, flanked by a tanker of carrot juice and a hopper full of produce headed for town. Daisy Moo has hitched a ride on the caboose with the intention of snaring Scarecow, the engine driver, for some smooching at the end of the run.




A host of bunnies, trying to nibble fresh veggies, literally litter the rolling stock. Bees, butterflys, and ladybugs infest and/or decorate the train, depending on your point of view.

For inclement weather, a Ladybug Eggliner and a custom painted Starliner move passengers and produce, while the more fragile open-air cars are tucked safely under cover. After all, you can’t leave a garden out in the rain, even in Cowtonia.


The Cowtown Train and The Real Garden Railway is the product of the fertile imagination of Sonja McEwing and her muse. Any resemblance of this train to any real train, living or dead, is utterly incredible.






The Sad Part of the Story
Tragically, The Real Garden Railway and Cowtonia are gone, victims of a serious house fire that occurred just days after this website was built. So these are the only photos left showing what Planet Earth could really be like, if only we lightened up a bit.

Sonja’s next whimsical train will feature bubbles galore, elves, wizards, fairies, and a lot of dragon flies. Stay tuned for the next Real Garden Railway story!

Photos by Kirsten Fernandes. Text by Ross Crain. Models by Sonja McEwing.