Local man builds railroad track around his house – and he’s offering you a ride

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IDAHO FALLS — “M-E 41 to dispatch,” Matt Frymire said before he got behind the wheel of his little passenger train. “Asking permission to head from Grassy Knoll through Mossy Flats.”

“Permission granted,” dispatch replied.

Matt Frymire is the owner of the M-E Shortline railroad in Idaho Falls. It’s located at his home and is one-eighth the size of a normal railroad.

For twenty years, Frymire has built trains. But it was only two years ago that he finished work on his own train. He built many of the cars himself and finished laying the track in 2016.

“The rails are 2×2 ties built out of T-6 aluminum,” says Frymire.

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Frymire comes from a long line of railroad men. He worked on the Disneyland Railroad for a while, but never found the passion to do it professionally. Instead, railroading is a hobby that Frymire says keeps the tradition alive for his family and keeps him out of trouble.

“If I’m having frustrations at work, I’ll come home in the evening, get on it and go around for a while. It’s cheap medicine.”

Matt’s wife, Eryn, says the railroad has helped their family spend quality time together and create special memories.

“During the eclipse, we all got on the train and went around (the house). We started at the front of the house when there was still light. By the time we got around back, it was totally dark. That was cool,” Eryn says.

Enjoyment of the train has extended beyond the family as well. Requests from friends and neighbors to ride the train give Frymire even more opportunities to ride it.

Frymire is even trying to share his hobby with the city.

Recently, he spoke with the Idaho Falls Dept. of Parks and Recreation about building a track at city parks and making train rides available to park visitors.

“It really doesn’t make that much of a footprint around the park,” says Matt. “If you make it the same level as the grass and your ties and ballasts are down low enough, nobody will trip on it and (people can safely) ride it.”

Whether or not that will happen is part of an ongoing discussion. For now, it’s an activity Frymire is happy to share with anyone who is interested.

“It gives me satisfaction to hear the clickety-clack and pull the kids around on the train.”

If you’re interested in a train ride, you can email Matt at m-eshortlinerailroad@hotmail.com.

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