The Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad

For the last one hundred plus years little boys and men have had a love affair with trains. The fascination with flanged wheels running on tracks is still alive and well in today's world. While this is largely a man's hobby, more women and little girls are getting into the action every day. In this hobby, there is something for everyone from the smallest train gauges to riding Amtrak from coast to coast.

One of the most popular gauges to participate in are the 7 ½ inch railroads. These trains are large enough for people to ride them. Riding model railroads began in England in the early 1900's using 7 ¼ inches as their track gauge which is still in use in the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. No one really knows how the gauge changed to 7 ½ inches over time but the best part is both gauges are available. There are general membership and private park railroad clubs located both nationally and internationally. You will note in the club listings that not all scale railroads operate the same. Check their individual web sites to see if a particular club appeals to you. Visits are usually welcomed by most railroads after an initial contact with them. 



There are three basic types of propulsion in the 7 ½ gauge hobby. Live steam, gas-hydraulic and electric battery power. All of them touting their group as the best but it is a friendly rivalry. Along with this are publications serving the industry and numerous vendors selling complete trains and accessories.

Getting involved for a real hands on experience can be as easy as joining one of the public railroad clubs for a modest membership fee. Could there be a better scenario for a mother / father or son / daughter to spend their time together enjoying something they both love. Model railroading is a very wholesome family experience available to all.

One 7 ½ inch scale railroad in central Florida, The Central Pasco & Gulf, is representative of what most riding scale railroads have to offer. It is located in Crew's Lake Park, Pasco County, Florida. With a membership you can enjoy a riding railroad that offers instruction in all phases of railroad operation. The club is staffed by volunteers from all walks of life. If you are interested you can volunteer and learn how to build track, lay track, level track, build switches or many other maintenance related things. The CP&G rides the public on the second Saturday of the month and provides birthday trains on Saturdays for a suggested donation. Special events at Halloween and Christmas are very family friendly. The CP&G is a State of Florida registered 501c3 non profit corporation that promotes railroad education and safety. Donations are greatly appreciated. Public speakers are available for local railroad educational programs that also includes a question and answer session free of charge.



The CP&G provides at no extra cost a comprehensive training program for all members to be certified as Conductor and Engineer. Certification is required to operate railroad equipment for the public on the track as the CP&G endorses a strong membership and public safety program. Classroom, hands on locomotive training and a written examination are all part of the certification program. While most trains are privately owned, the club has a “membership” train available for all members to operate.

The CP&G has about 8500 feet of track to date, including yards and sidings, that runs through the forest in Crew's Lake County Park. The CP&G was modeled after the original Orange Belt Railroad that operated from St. Petersburg to Sanford, Florida in the late 1800's. Station names like Dade City, Sanford, Lacoochee, Trilby, Macon, Pasco and Lenard mark the various locations along the right of way. There are plans for future construction that will include more of Florida's historic Orange Belt railroad cities. Along with this the CP&G has started a museum featuring the Orange Belt railway that is located in the park. Donations or loaner items to remember the Orange Belt railway for the museum are always welcome.

Tags=> Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad, scale model riding railroad, crews lake, pasco county, Florida, membership certification,



Tags=> Central Pasco & Gulf Railroad, scale model riding railroad, crews lake, pasco county, Florida, membership certification,

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