Holidays on the tracks

November 30, 1999|By KRISTIN WILSON

When the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum opens its doors Friday, Nov. 25, visitors will witness a working ski lift complete with miniature skiers, firetrucks rushing to the scene of a switch tower on fire and coal miners busy at work at the local mine.

It's the 16th "Trains of Christmas" exhibit at the roundhouse museum, and this year the four-level display includes 60 switches, 23 operating trains, 200 miniature people and about 75 miniature buildings.

The display is a labor of love for the museum members who carefully arrange train tracks and figurines from their personal collections.


"You just don't do it overnight," says Bill Knode, a member of the museum.

That's an understatement. The museum members took two months and about 3,000 hours to put together the highly detailed display that takes 30 minutes to

run through the animation cycle.

It takes two to three "operators," who switch trains on and off tracks, to run the display continuously, Knode says.

"Trains of Christmas" is different every year with new sections of the display to entertain repeat visitors. Many of the components in the exhibit are on loan from museum members, Knode says.

Last year about 5,000 people came through the museum to check out the model train and snow scene layout, Knode says.

"Trains of Christmas" will be on display at the roundhouse museum until the last Sunday in February.


WHAT: "Trains of Christmas"

WHEN: 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 25 through Feb. 26. Closed on holidays.

WHERE: Hagerstown Roundhouse

Museum, 300 S. Burhans Blvd.,


COST: $4, adults; 50 cents, ages 3 to 12.

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