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December 17th- The Sue Line Crew- Part 3

posted Dec 18, 2015, 7:28 AM by Sue Line RailRoad   [ updated Dec 18, 2015, 8:13 AM ]

This week we will review two more members of the Sue Line Crew.



Jim Willis started in the hobby at age six with a Lionel Christmas train.

Jim Willis joined the NMRA at the age of 17.

Jim Willis reports that his first layout built in garage on a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood .

Jim Willis is married and he and his wife have raised seven children and have 20 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren with more on the way.

Jim Willis has made a living as an Architect and General Contractor for 40 years in Shreveport , Louisiana.

Jim Willis was a steam and diesel engine on the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railroad from 1988 to 1994.

Jim Willis also worked on the Cumber and Toltec railroad in the summers for a number of years with the friends.

Jim Willis joint the Sue Line Railroad group over 20 years ago.

Jim Willis is an active worker on the Sue Line Railroad where he enjoys working yards, complex town and the mainline.



Danny Garland is 66 years old and is retired after working for the state of Louisiana as a probation officer.

Danny Garland started model railroading in 1974 when he saw the Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad exhibit at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, Louisiana. Two weeks after the State Fair, he started helping to get the exhibit ready for the next years. Danny Garland worked every year after that until the State Fair took down the Merchant’s building, which housed the exhibit, in 1994.

Danny Garland also worked at the local hobby shop, Cook’s Collectors Corner, for Llew Cook from about 1980 until the store closed after Llew Cook’s death.

Danny Garland built his first layout in 1975. This layout was a 4’ x 6’ board. Danny Garland originally called his railroad the G & G Railroad. This railroad was rebuilt after Danny Garland moved.  Danny Garland continued building, painting, and running until 1993, when he moved into his current residence.

Danny Garland changed the name of his layout due to finding out that a fellow model railroader, Car Richardson, had been using the name G & G for several years. Danny Garland has now named his layout the Lavan Oliver & Western Railroad. Lavan is his father-in law’s first name and Oliver is his father’s first name. 

The Lavan Oliver & Western was started in a 12’ x 12’ storage building.  This was very cramped due to the amount of equipment Danny Garland had amassed over the years. After retiring in 2009, Danny Garland received permission from his wife Dottie Garland to build a building in the back yard.

After getting permission from the City of Shreveport and paying for permits, Danny Garland started to build a 20’ x 30’ building. It would be better to say that Russell Pedro, a local contractor and an avid model railroader in his own right, built the building and Danny Garland helped. Danny Garland also had help from a couple of neighbors (not model railroaders) and several local model railroaders.

Danny Garland is now in the process of building a 20’ x 24’ railroad. Danny Garland has completed a staging yard and has built a 6’ diameter helix from the staging yard to the main level and has completed the towns of Levan, Brendan , named for his grandson, Kimbrough, and Jamestown.

Needless to say, the scenery is not completed, but the track is. RailOps is being used for car routing. Danny Garland is using the Digitrax DCC control system.