Bruce F., Milwaukee, WI

I met Andre at a Trainfest show in Milwaukee. My wife and I had moved into a new house with an unfinished basement. I did the remodel of the basement and left room for my train room and it was time to start on the layout, hence the trip to Trainfest. Years earlier I had started a layout in my home in Michigan at about the time DCC was beginning. I was using toggles to control the trains and ran out of time to start making the switch so the layout stopped, but the desire to have a new layout in Wisconsin did not. Andre was just what I was looking for, someone to wire the layout and some scenery, buildings or anything else that I felt would shorten the process of getting to run some trains again. Andre and his team out performed my expectations, they did what they promised and then some. The layout was delivered and installed with utmost care and skill. I recommend them to anyone who wants some assistance in getting a layout started or moving forward on a project at any level, wiring, layout design, scenery, buildings, etc, etc.

Quentin R., Norman, OK

Given enough time almost anything is doable; however, the phrase “enough time” should be examined more closely. I’ve had this dream for years to recreate a day in my childhood, November 1952, and include the railroad that sped through Norman, Oklahoma that day—the magnificent AT&SF Railway. I kit-bashed a few structures over time and I continued to install decoders and test my assemblage of steam and diesel locomotives while I weathered hoppers, reefers, and boxcars; but, I needed benchwork, track, turnouts, landscaping, more structures, lighting, wiring and controls for my accumulations—sixty plus locomotives and over 400 pieces of rolling stock.

Best “no-earthly-idea-of-how-to-get-it-done” thought ever!!!

It was three years ago that I visited my friend and dentist, Bill Blum, and talked to him about my intention to build the layout while my wife and I were supervising the construction of our new house. He asked me how long I thought it might take to build what I had come to call the Red Rock & Santa Fe (my freelance-prototype division of AT&SF). I had no idea. To that Bill said, “Quentin, I’ve got good news and bad news for you! Bad news first—you are sixty-four. The clock is ticking! The good news is that you are an architect. And what do architects do? They hire people to build things. So why don’t you utilize what you’ve learned in your business and hire someone really good to build that dream for you. Then you’ll be able to enjoy it, now.”

Best advice I ever got!!!

Looking through some model train magazines and watching Tracks Ahead on PBS in the days following our conversation, I checked out several companies and decided on these guys: Andre, Fabian, John, and Dave. I hired them, and went to their shop in Michigan (twice because it was so much fun) as they constructed the fourteen modules for my shelf layout to be housed in a 14 ft x 28 ft room. Several months later they delivered it to my door step, carried the modules up stairs, and with tools in hand commenced to install the RR&SF.

Best group of guys I’ve ever worked with!!!

That was almost two years ago. So, I’ve been enjoying the fruits of their effort. My stunning RR&SF railroad in full operation—everything from the Purcell Yard to the Norman Depot and the country-side in between—is a sight to behold. The sound of my 4-8-4s, 2-8-2s, GP7s, and FTs gliding along the track, making the curve outside Norman, crossing the Pratt Truss bridge (mounted on the hinged gate to the room…a tricky construct by Andre and the boys) at the South Canadian, and completing the loop to Purcell is exhilarating. These guys got me such a head start that I’m able to just leisurely piddle with landscaping and structures…no pressure. Father Time has no hold over me, now.

Best time ever, over, and over again!!!

And what is more, I get to enjoy my seven grandchildren as they direct their NEC mini-CABs, each controlling her or his locomotive speed, bell, whistle, squeal, and all...

Barry K., Sequim, WA

It takes a lot of trust to write a large check to strangers, hoping that the model railroad in your head will come out as you expect. With Golden Spike Artisans the result is even better than I hoped for. Andre, John, Fabian, David and Keith did a great job with my N-scale Spokane, Pasco & Yakima. They believe the client comes first and do their utmost to listen carefully in order to understand and execute your dream layout.

These are all nice guys with tremendous integrity who are justifiably proud of their work. They improved my original track plan that featured an impractical switchback with too steep a grade. The new switchback they designed looks great and works great. I never get tired of running consists up and down the switchback.

The quality of the track work, bridges, buildings and scenery is outstanding. David designed and built a paper mill from scratch taking into account historical accuracy and track plan constraints. I originally had intended to do the scenery and buildings myself but am very glad that, after visiting a layout they built in Michigan, I decided to let them do the scenery and paper mill. I’m 70 years old and it would have never been finished if I had tried to do it myself.

I also appreciate their willingness to instruct clients. I have received helpful lessons in blending buildings into the layout, track maintenance and detailing. I received excellent email/telephone support from Keith when I have had electrical problems. The original installed version had two shorts that I was unable to fix. Keith returned to help as part of their 90-day service plan where I paid for travel and per diem and they absorbed the labor costs. Keith fixed everything on my punch list. Plus I know I can count on their support if I have problems in the future.

In summary, these are honest trustworthy guys who work very hard so clients can achieve their desired goals. I am a happy client and Golden Spike Artisans has earned my trust.

Jay S., Grand Haven, MI

How do you spell excellence?

Model railroad construction and innovation = Andre, John, Fabian, and Dave (and Dave R. the photographer).

These men brought my railroad to life beautifully. From the efficiency, functionality, and compulsive neatness of the supporting framework and DCC wiring, to the imagination and beauty of kit-bashed structures and scenery, “my” beautiful railroad became a reality in my lifetime. Indeed, a lot of what these men did, I could have done myself; in fact, I supplied many of my own structures which the guys incorporated seamlessly. However, starting at age 75, “my” railroad would not have arrived before I became 90 - if then! Without the help of these fine ‘artisans,’ I never would have gotten it done.

These men can take your ideas and dreams and construct them in real time—a very short real time. Besides that, they are some of the friendliest, funloving, and genuinely nicest men I've ever met.

I encourage all who have a desire for a great railroad to contact them.