When Larry Mything retired, he had one goal — find a hobby to keep busy and include his grandchildren.
After scouring the internet, Mything got the ambitious idea to build a train in his Harbour Landing backyard in Regina, one that could fit a couple of children, up to around the age of 10 — perfect for his two grandsons, Evan and Parker.
“It’s basically a kids project for big kids and little kids — big kids like me,” Mything said.
Recently, Mything posted a YouTube video to the Harbour Landing Neighbourhood community page on Facebook, gaining widespread attention on social media.
But here’s the catch: when Mything started the project, he had no prior experience, so he turned to the internet to learn how.
“Most of the parts could be sourced locally because it’s mostly just common things that you put together,” Mything said.
“I would go somewhere to look for these parts — a plumbing place, to look for a steam stack and everybody is busy with their own things, but as soon as they heard it was for grandkids they dropped what they were doing.”
Because he thought doing a real steam engine would be dangerous, Mything said he used a wheelchair motor instead and went from there, including a fog machine he uses to emulate real steam.
“I built the cab first so that it would fit a kid and then everything else was built around it,” Mything said.
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After finishing the cab, Mything built 180 feet of track, enough to cover the length of his backyard. He then built a working elevator which loads foam golf balls into a grain car. He also built a crane, all of which can be connected or disconnected from the other cars.
He finished the project over the course of one winter in 2017.
While there’s something magical about trains that capture the attention of young hearts, his grandchildren also lent a hand when it came to construction. After all, they were the inspiration behind the project.
“I tried to include them where I could, they know how to run a drill and a screwdriver, we even did some wiring,” Mything said.
He documented the journey on his YouTube page, Good Heart Projects, a page filled with more DIY projects, as he hopes to inspire other young minds.
One day, Mything said he would like to offer rides to other kids, once he gets the kinks worked out with his insurance company.
As for any other projects on the horizon, Mything said he’s not sure, but says the possibilities are endless.
“I’d like to build some Saskatchewan stuff like some potash cars and that, but I have to stop and think how long these kids will be interested in it and how far you want to go with it,” Mything said.