Someone 2 Know: A Touch of Switzerland in South Reno - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Someone 2 Know: A Touch of Switzerland in South Reno

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Considered one of the most beautiful train rides in the world, the Bernina Express travels across the Swiss Alps, on to Italy and now through south Reno.
    
Engineering this real-life replica is Hawley MacLean.
    
Nothing can derail Hawley from his hobby - including the garden railroaders real job. He owns the MacLean Financial Group by day - but tinkers on his tracks at night. "Everybody has their hobbies. Some do cars, bikes, planes or running, whatever... and I do this."     
    
A project 10 years in the making. Hawley built the 1,000 foot stainless steel track - which traverses his property - through handmade tunnels, bridges, tiny train stations. "So it runs through the house and through the front yard and backyard and we run it year-round."
    
Here inside we learn what stoked Hawley's obsession. "My dad was friends with Walt Disney and they used to build steam engines together."
    
While Hawley's trains are much smaller - there's no denying his bigger-than-life passion, especially when you walk through one certain door. "This is under the house and it's a helix that takes the train from the front yard, drops down in elevation and then out to the backyard."
    
It's also where he houses his computer-controlled collection. "That one is modeled after Amtrak and the next is a Santa Fe Super Chief."
    
But this Swiss-style train just might be a favorite as it zips past miniature landmarks Hawley's visited during his travels, like the Whitepod eco-luxury hotel in Switzerland along with Epesses, St. Saffron and Vevey.  
    
The vice-chairman of the Reno-Tahoe Olympic Games gets to this region frequently.

"I'm on the Executive Board of the World Union of Olympic Cities. We represent all the cities that have hosted the games."
    
So every trip back means more Swiss influence when it returns. It doesn't go unnoticed. "Most of the neighbors stop by and bring their kids by."
    
And there's no last stop in sight.

"It never ends."

Hayley's railroad is just one of many featured every summer on a city-wide tour benefiting the Water and Rails non-profit - which has raised more than $400,000 for local charities over the past decade.

For more information, go to http://www.waterandrails.org/

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