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Railroad museum rolls out yard sale

July 24, 2005|By PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Toy trains were a reliable playmate for 63-year-old Herb Britner during his childhood, which is why the collector said he enjoys seeing children today opt for locomotives over video games.

Britner had a table set up, stocked with railroad merchandise, at a yard sale held at Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum on Saturday.

"I'm glad there are some kids buying (trains)," he said. "Without the kids there won't be nothing in 20 years. You've gotta keep the hobby alive."

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Household items, clothing, baked goods and railroad collection pieces, mostly donated by museum members, were displayed on a few folding tables placed outside the Burhans Boulevard museum Saturday for the yard sale, the proceeds from which will go toward general operating expenses for the volunteer run museum, said Joyce Stanley, a museum board of directors member.

"We're always looking for ways to raise money. We thought we'd give it a try," she said.

Bob Fisher was looking particularly for tin plate box cars. Fisher, 63, of Boonsboro, who has been collecting trains since 1960, said he prefers the all tin, pre-war box cars because they're harder to find.

Fisher didn't appear to have found one of those box cars.

Britner sold pieces from his own collection, including some train set pieces and some homemade houses, which could be used to decorate outdoor train sets.

He said he's been collecting for about the past eight years, but eventually started to sell his collection because he ran out of space at his house.

"One of my first toys was a model train," he said. "Now they have computer and Game Boys."

"When I played with my trains as a kid I could imagine anything. I can't imagine sitting there with your thumbs like that," he said, twiddling his thumbs as if he was playing a video game.

He said he liked imagining different scenarios with his train sets and hopes children don't lose their imaginative touch.

Stanley said since the museum does not rely on outside government funding, it must come up with ways to pay for the cost to keep up the museum, which is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

"If we don't raise the money, it's not coming from anywhere else," said Bob Tracey, museum president.

At the time of the yard sale, a boy was celebrating his third birthday in a room, decorated with Thomas the Tank Engine, rented out inside the museum.

He said railroad trips also held fund the program. It had been about five or six years since the museum held its last yard sale, Tracey said.

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