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Model Railroad Museum holds annual Trainfest

November 30, 1999|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Don and Ann Moore were "perpetuating the addiction" Saturday at the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum's annual Trainfest at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

The Severn, Md., couple's addiction covered more than four tables of the 90 occupied by boxes of train pieces for sale as part of the museum's largest fundraiser.

"We always have a good show here," Ann Moore said. "It's just a really nice atmosphere."

Her husband said his love for model trains was nurtured by his grandfather, and now has matured into a full-blown hobby that is about to be exhibited through a 30-foot-by-15-foot model train display layout in the couple's basement.

"Ann is not a fanatic," Don Moore said.

But Ann Moore said she enjoys the social aspect of the shows.

"He's out shopping, and I'm trying to sell," she said.

Though the couple's four young granddaughters enjoy railroading and model trains, Don Moore aired a bit of concern about the hobby's future.

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"Most of the guys doing this are in their 60s," he said.

Though brass train sets can be quite costly, Moore noted much of model train production's shift to China has reduced prices substantially.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the museum's effort to renovate Antietam Station, a historic rail station off Md. 34 in Sharpsburg. Once restored, the station will house artifacts and include a large HO-scale train layout for public viewing, said Frank Schaller, president of the museum.

Schaller said the group is finishing painting work, and hopes to shift its attention to installing a train layout in the building next year, which will be the organization's 70th anniversary.

Built in 1911 by the Norfolk & Western Railroad, Antietam Station was rescued from demolition in 1993, and four years later, the Town of Sharpsburg agreed to lease the station at virtually no expense to the museum group.

With an all-volunteer group of about 15 or 16 active members, Schaller said the restoration project has gained momentum from grant money and continued support from Sharpsburg officials.

"The town has been good to us," said Schaller, who believes the organization will grow once the railroad station is opened and their new home is established.

While staffing tables stacked with model railroading magazines for sale, Schaller said the group's devotion to railroading becomes obvious when trains travel by amid the group's meetings.

"We pause our meetings until the train passes," Schaller said.

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