The suburb of Sherwood, just outside of Portland, Oregon, is home to one of the most spectacular properties in the world. Not only does it have all the regular stuff – a 5,000 Square Feet house, professional landscaping, a garden, a barn and a shop – it also has a fabulous world-class personal railway system with real steam-engine trains.
So if you lived at 18055 SW Seiffert Road, you’d be able to go on train rides every single day. You don’t need a ticket, you don’t have to deal with crowds and the best part – you can never miss a train! All that costs a measly $3.5 million.
Todd Miller, the owner of 18055, spent a large part of his life building the trains and tracks that spread across the 20-acre property. Miller has built handmade steam locomotives, 11,000ft of track, a 30ft railroad trestle and a 400ft-long tunnel. “My passion for railroads started when I was about five years old,” he says. “I got an American Flyer train set for Christmas and it kind of got out of hand from there.”
Photo: YouTube caption
According to real estate agent Jason Gardiner, “What’s so unique about this property is that the moment you drive up to it, you notice the beautiful home that’s sitting there in this really large lot. And as you go down the dirt road you notice a railroad sitting in the middle of the road. This railroad carries out through the entire property.”
“Railroading is my passion,” said Miller. “It’s not about trains or running trains or building models. It’s really about the history of the railroading in this country – how the railroads helped build this country. It’s that entire concept that has me interested in railroads.”
Photo: YouTube caption
18055 comes with a fully equipped machine shop where Miller said he spent several years building steam engines. He also has two Inch-and-a-half scale car barges where he keeps all the steam equipment and trains that he built in his life. Some of the locomotives have taken him as many as eight years to build. Although they are built to a smaller scale, they all work just like the real thing – the “firebox door opens, you shovel coal in there and light it, it gets to about 1800 degrees, and boils the water.”
“I have cars for all of these – freight cars and passenger cars. You can pull 30 to 40 people at a time around here, so if you have a card club in, or a golf club, or whatever you want to have come in here, you have enough equipment to give people a quality ride.”
Another interesting building in the property (the latest one), is modeled after an old train station from the 1930s or 40s. But the real magic, says Miller, is inside. It’s actually a miniature train museum that’s completely computer-controlled. “All the locomotives are made of brass, all the cards are made of wood. Everything you see in here was built by myself and some of my friends.”
The amazing property has been featured extensively in magazines and TV shows. “It’s a world-class layout,” said Miller. “I’ve had people who fly here from around the world just to see this. The railroad itself is first-rate. My steam engines, which are available for sale, are some of the finest in the world.”
Miller said that he enjoys people’s reactions to his unique home railway system. “It’s really interesting to watch their faces. When people are riding around and you look back from the locomotive and everybody’s jaws are wide open. I mean, it’s pretty amazing. You won’t see this anywhere else in the world.” The trains are enjoyed by people of all ages – little kids as well as 70-year-olds.
I wonder why Miller wants to sell the beautiful property that he so painstakingly built. Especially at only half its estimated market value of $7 million. But he does have a vision of what the property could become. “I believe it would be a great place to have a winery. That big barn could be a great tasting room. We’ve got about 20 acres where grapes could be planted and you could make a small place for a microbrewery. I’ve even had some people say this should be used as a non-profit organization.”
I do hope someone converts it into a school of some sort where kids can come in to learn about trains and play with them all day.