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Model railroaders hosting open house

January 11, 1999

Model RRBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




ZULLINGER, Pa. - Freight trains snaked through mountain tunnels, past factories and some really, really small towns on Sunday at the Waynesboro Model Railroad Club's open house.

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The romance of the rails isn't exclusive to the engineers and conductors who run real trains. Nor was it limited to the 40 club members, as scores of people stopped by the clubhouse to see the 30-by-50-foot HO-scale layout members have spent years building and landscaping.

Waynesboro attorney Mike Toms said the club started in 1990 when a few enthusiasts met at a local restaurant. A few feet away a freight car with the name of his law firm chugged by.

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"That's our revenue train," said Kevin Flohr of Waynesboro. The miniature locomotive pulled 40 cars with the logos of local businesses supporting the club.

Model trains are as old as railroading and many club members began their love affair with trains found under Christmas trees. Toms said one of his original pieces, a trolley, was running on an O-scale layout on the second floor of the Waynescastle Road clubhouse.

At first each member built modules, 2-by-4-foot sections that fit together for a continuous run, Toms said. Built to National Model Railroad Association standards, the modules can be taken to conventions and plugged together for runs of thousands of feet.

Club President Dick Stouffer, of Waynesboro, who got his first train almost 60 years ago, said the club used to show its miniatures at local malls but leased the building in 1991 from GRC Construction.

A reproduction of the building is among the miniatures, along with Waynesboro's town hall and the former Western Maryland freight station in Waynesboro.

"We started shoveling the pigeon poop out of here in January 1991 and by December we had the main line rolling," said dispatcher Bob Proctor of Chambersburg, Pa. He lifted a board on the panel to reveal a spaghetti dinner of wire terminals.

Working in another room, he kept in contact with spotters and engineers using radio headsets.

Dick McEvoy of Hagerstown, Md., said the HO layout includes about 500 feet of double-track mainline, 250 feet of branch lines and hundreds of feet of yard trackage.

He said the meticulous landscaping begins with plaster over wire forms. The rock formations are particularly impressive.

Trees were made of a common plant and painted ground foam was used for grassy areas. Buildings are made by several manufacturers, or by train aficionados, McEvoy said.

"I thought the things they made were very detailed, the trees and rocks," said Martin Goldman, 13, of Waynesboro.

This handiwork will be on display from 1 to 5 p.m. each Sunday in January and Saturday, Jan. 30, according to Stouffer.

Model trains can be an expensive hobby, McEvoy said. "A locomotive can run $1,600 to $2,000 for brass" models made overseas, he said.

"The difference between the man and the boy is the price of the toy," he said.

Members have spent thousands of dollars and hours on the clubhouse. John Carson of Waynesboro is working on the O-scale layout upstairs and was asked when it would be finished."Never," he said. "When it's done, that's when you lose interest."

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