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Luxury

A Swiss Chalet in Chicago With a Ridable Train. Got It?

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    River Forest house

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    Swiss chalet with train station

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    River Forest train

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    River Forest great room

Commuter railroad lines radiate from Chicago's lakefront like spokes on a wheel, so it's not unusual for local residents to ride a train to work every day. What is less common? Being able to ride a train once you get home from work! Railroad-obsessed residents of this $3.5 million home in suburban River Forest can do just that.

River Forest, about a 20-minute drive from Chicago's Loop, is known for its stately mansions. Many of them, like this one, were built during the Roaring '20s. This 7,747-square-foot Swiss chalet -- style home features six bedrooms -- and a Disney-esque train that runs around the property's nearly 1 acre lot.

Why the train? The homeowner, who has had the property since 1974, is a die-hard railroad enthusiast, explains listing agent Michael LaFido. He had previously built a model railroad in his basement before venturing to Texas to buy a fully ridable train, explains LaFido.

The train isn't the only feature that distinguishes this house. "It's an amazing home, and it has great character," LaFido says.

The home was built in 1926 by a Swiss immigrant who had made his fortune in the flower business. He wanted a house that would remind him of the Swiss chalets he had seen as a child. He also put his horticultural knowledge to good use, creating a landscaping plan that includes perennials and a stone waterfall.

The great room features a 17-foot-high ceiling with charred wood beams and an intricate parquet floor.

The home has four full bathrooms and two half-baths, plus a hot tub and sauna in basement space that the original owner once used to store flower bulbs.

Outside, in addition to the train, the home has an in-ground pool, a deck, and a detached three-car garage that has a 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom coach house above it. The train can haul 10,000 pounds, which is plenty of load capacity for giving children and adults a ride. Just picture your kid's next train-themed birthday party.