Strange Inheritance Features Dallas Family, $1 Million Train Set

The transience

DALLAS, TX — The average person might expect to inherit something when a loved one dies, be it an amount of money, a house or a car. But a program from Fox Business Network is taking a look at those who inherit a little something extra.

One family in Dallas experienced just that when Steve Sanders left behind a $1 million model train set. As luck would have it, producers from ‘Strange Inheritance’ caught wind of the unusual collection and sent TV host Jamie Colby to Dallas to investigate.

What she found when she arrived was a 2,000 square-foot miniature railway that had been passed down to Sanders’ wife and two daughters.

Fox Business Network reported Sanders, an oilman and precious metals dealer who also owned a hobby shop, aimed to create his model with the largest model trains available. These, some experts estimate, are valued at more than $5,000.

“Whenever he would add something to it, even though I’d seen it a hundred times, he asked, ‘You want to see your inheritance again?’” his daughter, Stephanie Sanders, told Fox Business.


Sanders’s family had been searching for a home for their strange inheritance since he died in 2013, Fox Business reports. The Museum of the American Railroad in Frisco agreed to display Sanders’s train set last year.

Tune in to Fox Business Network on Monday at 9:30 p.m. to see the full story of Sanders’ model train creation. Click here to read the Sanders’ full story on Fox Business Network.

Patch had a chance to talk with Colby, the host of Strange Inheritance, about the Sanders family and her time in Dallas. Here’s what she had to say:

Q: I’ve been told you really love Dallas. What makes the city so special to you?

That would have to be the people. You get such a warm and welcoming feeling from the people in Dallas who love to share the city’s incredible hospitality. My first assignment at Fox News Channel 15 years ago was to cover our Dallas bureau for a short time and it was an incredible start! Since then, hosting Strange Inheritance for FOX Business Network I’ve been welcomed back to Dallas for some of our most interesting stories. Our episode on Monday of the wonderful Sanders family who inherited a prized and museum worthy G-Train set is certainly no exception!

Q: Tell me a little about the heirs of the train set. Were they excited about the inheritance? What was it like working with the family?

I love this family! I’m not sure many wives would understand her husband’s passion for miniature trains to the tune of a $1 million investment, but Jane Sanders sure did! That’s how much her husband Steve Sanders invested in finding, assembling and adding on to his now German G-scale train set. Built over time, it pays tribute to every aspect of Sanders’ life including his childhood and oil industry career, his love for his daughters, their Texas ranch, even a to-scale sized working drive-in movie theater paying homage to his military service. The Sanders family opened up their home and their hearts to share a story viewers will not forget.

Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?

It certainly would have to be traveling and meeting people who have written us about what they have and can’t wait to show it off! While being on the road for 10 months of the year is challenging, this year alone my crew and I visited 38 states and have walked away with experiences that are unmatched to any at home. As you can imagine, in our 4th season now we have traveled far and wide and every time we think we’ve seen it all we discover another inheritance that tops it!

Q: When will you be returning to Dallas?

Well aside from visiting my Aunt Mary and Uncle Burt in Austin, I’m hoping that anyone who watches Strange Inheritance this season will take a moment to email me at with their Texas inheritance story. This year, 11 of the 26 new episodes we produced came from our viewers but our story development team is always on the hunt for others out there that meet our high standard of strange, valuable and/or historically significant. While other shows focus on just the value of collectibles or antiquities, our show has always gone way beyond that to tell great stories of families behind the items they’ve collected or inherited.

Q: What should readers of Patch know about you, Strange Inheritance, and the heirs of the train set?

About me, readers should know how privileged I feel to meet the families we’ve encountered and to tell their very personal and real stories. Although Strange Inheritance is considered a reality show, to me it is one of the few that is totally real. What you hear and see is what we find when we arrive rather than pre-planned and scripted. That makes for a very suspenseful and exciting program as we take viewers on an unexpected journey told through often rare and priceless Americana. As for the heirs of this train set Mrs. Sanders and her daughters, they are a mother-daughters dynamic trio! They clearly set out to do right by their father and husband to make sure the trains which he loved so much and spent so much time, effort and emotion on would be in a place where many other miniature train lovers could enjoy it. Judge when you see it if they could have instead sold it for a pretty penny!

Here’s a preview of Monday’s episode of Strange Inheritance:

Lead image: Jamie Colby, left, sits with Jane Sanders, the heir of a $1 million model train set — via Fox Business Network
Report compiled with information from a Fox Business Network press release

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