Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Zany Zen Railway

Just off Route 9A in Somdari, on the continent of Jeogeot, is the rather wonderful Zany Zen Railway. The creation of Zen Swords (ZenriaCo Resident), the railway spans three sims and even crosses a Linden road, as pictured below. Once she found her original parcel, Zen spent a lot of time (and submitted a lot of support tickets) procuring abandoned land in a small strip that transverses the sims Somdari, Ahndang and Seogyeo. "It's only 4098 sqms of tier, so it is cheap to run," stated Zen. When I asked her why she chose to build her own railway rather than use the SLRR tracks, she said, "Well I had never seen narrow gauge in SL — I have seen miniature and I have seen standard but never narrow gauge - so I thought it would be cool to have a narrow gauge railway in SL. These are full sized locos, all under 30 prims, proving that you don't need tons of land to own a railway."

While there are several working trains in the railyard barn at Somdari, the actual railway runs two automatic trains (at the same time!), both of which can take passengers. Zen's trains have both single and couples animations in the seats, a welcome improvement over many of the automated tours in Second Life. So that the two automated trains don't run into each other, there is a loop in Ahndang (see the map pictured below) where the smaller train can pull over and wait for the larger one to pass. "Ooh, I would like to note there's a lot of thanks due to someone called Dizzi Sternberg — she made the rerezzing script and the loop where the trains pass. I couldn't have done half of this without her. She has her own little railway in Lexicolo. Her layout is awesome — I fan-girled her badly when i first saw her railway!"

Zen, pictured below in the Somdari car barn, spoke to me a bit about the various trains she has created for her railway. "Well, they are all based on real life narrow gauge trains. The steam service is based on a mining steam loco from the Isle of Man. The Tram is based on a Devon railway called the Seaton Tramway tram. Then of course there are the odds and ends in the engine shed: a WW1 Simplex Petrol Loco; Jack and The Pink Lady — both locos I have a RL tie to, and Bee is the sister of Ant who is the auto train. There are plans for one day to have them pulling trains as well but for the moment they are stand along trains which I personally run when i can."

At the final station stop in Seogyeo, passengers can hop off to visit a gift shop where they can purchase Zany Zen Railway swag — tee shirts (see center photo, below), conductor hats, whistles, and even coal! Upstairs there is a small museum which gives visitors a history of the railway. The details throughout this build are impressive, so make sure to peek into every building and explore the grounds around each station. Even the LDPW moles added some fun touches to Rte 9A near the station; the blue object pictured at left, below, is a solar-powered video payphone! The railway is a delight to visit, and please make sure you have your sound on when you do! If you enjoy your visit, contributions can be made either by purchasing memorabilia at the gift shop, or through the small model train tip jars (pictured at right, below, beneath the clock) located at each station.


  1. Awesome to see Zen's railway here! She is one of those kind, giving folks on SL, and she knows how to have loads of fun doing that!

    1. Thanks, Pygar! She was a lot of fun to visit with, and her railway is super!