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The 'Mendoza Railway' rides a worry-free track in Helper

Benjamin Mendoza and Glenna Ranney stand beside the model locomotive they built.

Sun Advocate associate editor

Call it a railroad without worries. No schedules, no track repairs and no fuel expenses interfere with the happiness of the Mendoza Railway in Helper.

That's because the locomotive never leaves its 10-foot track in the front yard of Benjamin Mendoza on Helper's First Avenue.

The engine bearing the company name is the eight-foot-long welded creation of Mendoza and his friend Glenna Ranney.

The paint job should look familiar - it's patterned after the Utah Railway, where Mendoza worked for 31 years before retiring two years ago.

"I have little trains inside my house, but I wanted something bigger," he explained. So he decided to do it himself, even though he had never welded anything before.

He bought a little welder at a yard sale, learned a bit about techniques, and went to work shaping and joining the steel plate. "I made some mistakes," he admitted, "but I used a grinder to take out the bumps."

The project took a long time, about three months as near as he can tell, mainly because he was still learning how to weld and he and Glenna had to search for the materials they used.

They used Glenna's home in Price as their workplace for the locomotive and build the track and pedestal on the Helper lot.

When the engine was ready, they hoisted it into the bed of a pickup and rolled it off neatly onto the tracks.

It didn't take long for people in the neighborhood to notice. "All the neighbors are happy with it," he said. (It was a neighbor who called the Sun Advocate to come out and do a story.)

So now Mendoza and Ranney are planning on expanding the railway by one more engine. The next one will probably have a different color scheme..

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