You Are Here.
Jump to other pages.
Classic AristoCraft Buildings for Garden Railroads Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running wellGarden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden Railroading
Large Scale Starter Sets: Begin with a train you'll be proud to run Bachmann Garden Trains: Narrow Gauge models designed to run well in your Garden Railroad
Large Scale Track order Form Click to see a short list of things you should consider buying when you're first starting out.
Large Scale Christmas Trains: Trains with a holiday theme for garden or professional display railroads.Free Large Scale Signs and Graphics: Bring your railroad to life with street signs, business signs, and railroad signs
Garden Railroading Books, Magazines, and Videos: Where to go to learn even more
Collectible Trains and Villages: On30 Trains and accessories designed by Thomas Kinkade and others

Written by Paul D. Race for Family Garden Trains(tm) and Garden Train Store (tm)

For nearly three decades AristoCraft was the world's largest manufacturer of US-style garden trains. To go with those trains, they provided a range of buildings, including three stations, multiple houses, bridges, and other structures. At the moment (August,2013) all of these are out of production, the result of the financial hit Aristo and their distributors took when during the mortgage-fraud recession of 2008 and following. We are keeping this page up because these lots of little mom-and-pop stores still have one or two of these buildings on their shelves, and we want you to have access to information about them.

Note: This page is for information and historical purposes only. We currently have no sources for these buildings. The links we did have have been shut down - and we don't want you to waste your time clicking on "links to nowhere" in the hopes that they may come back without us noticing.

Click to see articles about building structures for your garden railroad.All About Garden Railroading Structures - If you want to investigate building your own structures or customizing kits, the Garden Railroad Structure Primer articles include many helpful articles about creating buildings from scratch, from kits, and from unconventional (and inexpensive) materials. To go to an index of those articles, click on the picture to the right.

The rest of this page lists buildings that AristoCraft created specifically for garden railroads. They were weather-resistant, sturdy, and designed to look good with most garden trains.

A few started out as kits - in fact three started out as kits made by somebody else. But Aristo's customers liked being able to buy buildings that came pre-assembled, so most of them wound up preassembled.

If you find one in kit form, consider painting it before you put it together, according to the instructions in the Family Garden Trains article Painting Plastic Structures

If you find one that is built up, consider spraying it with a UV-resistant acrylic spray before you set it out - at least the roof. Even though they're more UV-resistant than 90% of the plastic building out there, they can still fade eventually.

I've owned several of these - a few are still on my railroad. Most of them fit nicely on a 2"x8"x16" landscaping block, which helps them stay sturdy, and keeps their "footprint" from being grown over if you remove the buildings for the winter.

#7200 AristoCraft Built-Up Passenger Station - When Aristo was distributing this station, it was one of the best values in Large Scale. This building, like the freight station and farmhouse, actually started out under another manufacturer's name, being sold strictly as a kit. In fact my station, shown with a different paint job in a snowdrift, was one of those kits. But the edges of the kit took a lot of filing, and customers complained about them, so they were taken off the market. Aristo bought the molds, sent them to their factories in Asia, and paid folks there to paint and assemble them. They did a very nice job, and I'm sorry that it may be a long time before these are widely available again.

This station is about 1:24; it is proportioned to fit well with any large scale train set. Althought it may not have exactly the same level of detail as some of the expensive kits, it is extremely sturdy, and the fact that it comes on its own platform (unlike most kit stations) made it easy to add accessories such as benches and streetlights to give it more character.

My 7200 station, painted red and white and caught in an early snowfall.
#7201 AristoCraft Pre-Built Freight Depot - Although this structure was designed to handle freight near the Built-Up Passenger Station above, there's no reason you can't use it as another general-purpose station somewhere else on your railroad, at least until you get around to building something fancier. Like the Built-Up Passenger Station above, this building started out as a kit sold under another manufacturer's name. It is also sturdy, and the platform gives you many detailing options.
#7203 AristoCraft Pre-Built Farmhouse - Though this building started out as a kit, made by the same company that made the 7200 and 7201 stations above, it's very hard to find in a kit form - I've only seen it as Aristo built it up. Like the stations above, which started out the same way, the detail may not be as great as on some expensive kits, but the built-up version has a very nice paint job and is very sturdy. You can always go back later and add details such as glazing, curtains, and a dog asleep on the porch.

Note: For several years, hobbyists who liked the look of this building would buy more than one and make them look different by repainting them in different colors. In fact there are whole neighborhoods in many real midwestern cities where builders (back in the early 1900s) built whole streets of this floor plan, differentiating them only bo color. The best part is that AristoCraft recognized that, and for a time, this house was available prepainted in other color schemes, including tan with white trim, blue with trim, and yellow with white trim.

AristoCraft Prebuilt Church - AristoCraft designed this structure themselves from the "ground up." It has only ever been available as a "built-up structure." I haven't owned one, but they look nice on some of my friends' railroads. My only concern is that most "real" churches of the style represented here are much deeper than they are wide. But if you were going to be setting this where just the front faced the average viewing position, no one would notice this.
Water Tower - This structure was also an AristoCraft original, available only as a built-up model. I used this to replace a Piko kit-built water tower that wasn't quite as UV resistant as the manufacturer said it would be. The Piko was better detailed, but there's something to be said for sturdiness, too. Since I set mine out it's been in deep shade, but if I was going to have it in direct sunlight, I'd probably add a coat of UV-resistant clear satin paint. I'm told that this will actually hold and dispense liquids, although I haven't tried it.
AristoCraft Pre-Built Crossing Shanty - This was also an Aristo original. It was one of Aristo's first building sets and remained popular as long as it was available. The set included a crossing guard, a shanty for the guard to take shelter in, and two "crossbuck" Railroad Crossing signs to warn motorists.
AristoCraft Pre-Built Victorian Station - This station represents many passenger stations that were first built in the mid-to-late 1800s. You may have seen these on garden railroads, since AristoCraft has made this station available in kit form for decades. That said, they were not as easy to put together as they could be - I should know because I had one. So rather than frustrate customers, Aristo began having these painted and assembled so you can get them new in the box and set them out on your railroad the same day. And the cost was still lower than many similar station kits from other manufacturers.

Note: As of August, 2013, there were still a couple of these listed on Amazon, so we're leaving the link up for now.

AristoCraft Waiting Platform - This structure was designed to be used as an extension to the Victorian Station above or by itself as an additional stopping place. Like the station above, it started out as a kit, although it was much easier to put together. Click for a bigger photo.
AristoCraft Pre-Built Covered Bridge - This bridge represents thousands of bridges that were built a century and a half ago - the covers protected the bridges' structure and roadbed from the elements, which is one reason so many of them lasted as long as they did. This bridge is solid and weatherproof enough to give your trains a generation of safe passage over your rivers. Also, it is long enough that if you want to park a streetcar or some such inside to keep it out of the "elements" between running sessions, you can certainly do son. Like the Victorian Station above, AristoCraft made this bridge available in kit form for decades, but it actually became more popular once they offered it "pre-built."

Note: as of August, 2013, there are still a couple of these listed on Amazon, so we've kept the link up for now.

Click for bigger picture.
Watch Tower with Operating Light and Smoke - This was another Aristo original, one of their earliest. The nice thing about this was it fit virtually anywhere. In addition, it added vertical interest.
AristoCraft Pre-Built Tract House - This building was only available in pre-built form. Like the building below, it came out just before the recession, so not many made it out into folks' gardens. The house represents many houses built between WWI and WWII in neighborhoods all over the United States and Canada. Many were built by "developers," but many were also built by and folks who bought "Arts and Crafts" plans and learned building and finish carpentry techniques as they worked. Today many city neighborhoods still feature blocks of similar structures. Details such as a clothesline out back, a dog asleep on the stairs, or a television antenna attached to the chimney will let you customize this structure for nearly any place and time in the last century. Click for bigger picture.

AristoCraft Pre-Built Gingerbread House - This building represents many "American Gothic" houses built between 1860 and 1930 in neighborhoods all over the United States and Canada. Most of them are still standing today, so this will look like it belongs on any garden railroad, especially if you add a few details to "personalize" it. Like the tract house above, this was only available prebuilt. It was also just hitting the market when the recession hit, so not many of them were "out there." If you find one on a shelf somewhere, don't wait too long.
Signal Bridge with Lights - This structure adds a lot of interest in a very small space. It's based on scaffolding that puts signal lights where they can be seen a long way off to protect trains and workers.
Victorian Barn - This is one of the biggest structures AristoCraft made. Unlike most of the structures on this page, the red walls on this one are actually unpainted red plastic. So if you come across one, you should probably consider adding a coat of UV-resistant primer, and paint the bridge red or white over that. I have one of these I haven't painted yet, but I only get it out for special display railroads at Christmas.

    Other Structures

    To have a more complete page, we have added a list of other AristoCraft structure products that were available a very short time. Several I never even saw, though I did hear about them.
    Sanding House
    Coaling Tower
    Foam Tunnel Portal - Lightweight, easily carved to fit tight places. Use to "dress up" your tunnel entrance; comes one to a package.
    Double Track Tunnel Portal
    Foam Wings (Retaining Wall) For Portals
    Deck Bridge
    Foam Viaduct
    Foam Piers (Trestle Legs) Pair (2)
    Farm House White with Green Trim
    Farm House Tan with White Trim
    Farm House Blue with White Trim
    Farm House Yellow with White Trim
    Cemetery Set I
    Cemetery Set II

    What About Other Products? Many other fine products are available from companies like Piko and POLA. They do need to be glued together, and if you plan using them outside for long, I heartily recommend painting them before you set them out.

    In fact, several Piko and POLA structures are featured in my article Painting Plastic Structures.

    Update for August, 2013: With AristoCraft structures becoming unavailable, we will be undertaking to list POLA and PIKO products on our Buildings for Garden Railroads page. And, of course, many garden railroaders lay a building kit or two aside to work on in the winter.

    In addition, if you like painting buildings and don't mind a tad more work, the Colorado Model Structures kits are an excellent value. The fellow who makes these has a full-time machine shop and makes these building kits in his "spare" time for the sheer love of the hobby. The kits definitely need painted, and they generally need a tad more filing than the POLA and Piko kits, but the finished kits are rugged and attractive, and they are very affordable.


    The products on this page will help you get your railroad, cities, and towns setup quickly. In the meantime. let me know if you want a specific product that is not listed here and I will try to locate it for you.

    Best of luck,


Click to see exclusive, licensed train collections in your favorite sports team colors!

Home Pages
Reading Index Pages
Buyer's Guide Pages
Return to Family Garden Trains Home page Return to Big Indoor Trains Home page Garden Railroading Primer Articles: All about getting a Garden Railroad up and running well Big Indoor Trains Primer Articles: All about setting up and displaying indoor display trains and towns. Garden Train Store: Index to train, track, and other products for Garden RailroadingBig Christmas Trains: Directory of Large Scale and O Scale trains with holiday themes
On30 and O Gauge trains to go with indoor display villages and railroads

Note: Family Garden Trains?, Garden Train Store?, Big Christmas Trains?, BIG Indoor Trains?, and BIG Train Store? are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications ( All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically forbidden.
Garden Train Store(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

For more information, please contact us

Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains.
Click to see new and vintage-style Lionel trains