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Model railroaders hope train station is bound for glory

June 09, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The walls are crooked, the bathroom is outdoors and the building shakes about 20 times a day as trains rattle past.

Most people might not look at it as the perfect home, but members of Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum Inc. who want to house their organization there see it differently.

Denise Troxell, vice president of the organization, said work on the refurbished Antietam Station west of Sharpsburg is to be completed over the summer, provided final funding is available.

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Once the work is complete, the historic building, now holding building materials and a lot of thick dust, will become the official home of the model railroad group, Troxell said.

Troxell began working with the group in the late 1990s while a Sharpsburg Town Council member.

"The guys love the trains and I just love old buildings. It was a perfect match," she said.

The town is leasing the building to the group.

Troxell said the plan is to keep the building open on weekends and for special events such as the Memorial Day Parade and Sharpsburg Heritage Festival and to run rail safety courses there.

The group still needs to raise more than $31,000 to complete the project.

Council members are scheduled to meet tonight to discuss how the town could help, although a motion at Monday's meeting to give the group the money failed.

The station opened in 1880 and operated until it was damaged by fire in 1910. Norfolk & Western Railway completed the replacement, later renamed Antietam Station, in 1911. The station closed in the late 1950s.

Troxell said crews plan to restore the stationmaster's office to the way it was when the station was still in operation, complete with an old-style clock, blackboard and telegraph machine.

The ticket counter will be restored also, she said.

What once were the luggage area and freight room are to be used for a giant layout of model trains from the extensive collections of the group's members.

"There'll be different tracks and different scenes and a city, maybe a Civil War scene," Troxell said. "It's going to be huge."

The handicapped-accessible bathroom being constructed is outside, and is based on plans that were found for the original outhouse.

An interesting aspect of the station is its location next to the active train line, Troxell said.

"Twenty trains a day come through here," she said with a grin. "When they ramble through, it shakes the whole station."

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