The most unique feature at Windekind Farm is the Cold Creek & Northern Railway. The Railway takes its cue from the garden railway movement that started in England in the 1930s and spread to America after the Second World War. Modeling at this one-fifth scale offers two special features: the trains, especially the steam locomotives, operate exactly like their prototypes, right down to their scaled-down, coal-burning fireboxes; and, they are large enough for people of all sizes and ages to ride and operate, thus allowing our guests to experience the rumbling trains first hand.
These models are not amusement park toys, but rather historic models that reflect a typical mountain narrow gauge railway of the late 19th and early 20th century. The locomotives, cars and buildings have been constructed from historically accurate plans to depict the technology and robust culture of that era. This experience complemented by the farm’s “locomotive shop” which hosts an interesting collection of tools, some, still used daily, dating back to the early 20th century. The shop, where we build the trains, doubles as a small locomotive and railway museum from which children, who fit through the building’s train size doors, can depart on rides.
The highest and best use of the Cold Creek is to educate people while transporting them through the various environments of Windekind. The train travels from the highly cultivated lawns and garden areas, through swamps and meadows, across bridges into a tall spruce forest. It travels on rail joined and spiked one cross tie at a time and over trestles built from historic railroad plans. It's a journey that presents the natural beauty of the land, gardens and the diverse ecology of Windekind, while using a transportation technology that is old yet, in our energy-starved economy, presages what is to come in a greener energy future.
The Cold Creek Railroad is still very much a work in progress, which is one factor that makes it so exciting. Because we hope that the Cold Creek will remain a legacy and continuing attraction fifty years from now, steps are being taken to incorporate the railroad and our garden systems under the safekeeping of a not-for-profit preservation trust which guest are invited to enjoy and support.