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Their project's on track

Trainfest pulls museum group to within $10,000 of money needed to fix up historic Antietam Station

Trainfest pulls museum group to within $10,000 of money needed to fix up historic Antietam Station

November 27, 2005|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Trainfest, held at the Washington County Agricultural Center this year, put the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum closer to its financial goal.

The annual fundraiser for the museum drew 45 vendors and hundreds of model train enthusiasts from the Tri-State area.

The museum has been raising money to renovate Antietam Station, a historic rail station in Sharpsburg. Museum treasurer Bob Morningstar said Saturday the museum has raised about $140,000.

Antietam Station will cost about $150,000 to renovate, museum president Frank Schaller said.

"We are definitely at (the) home stretch," Schaller said.

The new station will feature train displays, facts about Washington County's rail heritage and an "outhouse," Schaller said.

Morningstar said the museum could open as early as June.

Charlie Cloud, of Martinsburg, W.Va., took his son, Charlie "Buddy" Cloud, 4, to Trainfest. He said it was his first time at the event.

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"When I was younger, we always had trains, so I got him one a while back," Cloud said.

Buddy walked away with a toy truck.

"We thought we were going to see more trains on display," Cloud said.

Train enthusiast Arthur Selby of Fairfield, Pa., attended to sell buildings for train layouts. He has been working on a large layout called "Blue Ridge Midland Railroad" set up in a 25-foot-by-36-foot building next to his house.

Selby said even though railroads aren't a current fixture of pop culture, they still have an important place in U.S. history.

"People forget who built this country," Selby said. "The railroad builders built this country. It's important to preserve that history."

Antietam Station, at 17230 Shepherdstown Pike, served several rail services after the Civil War, Schaller said. The station closed in the 1960s after passenger service ended, Morningstar said.

The museum has been trying to fix it up since the mid-1990s. The old train station was converted into an apartment building before the museum gutted it, Schaller said.

The museum has been leasing Antietam Station from the Town of Sharpsburg, its current owner.

The unveiling of the new Antietam station has been pushed back several times, Morningstar said. Contract and other financial hurdles have slowed the process.

The Town of Sharpsburg agreed in December to cover the museum's expenses as individual requests are made, The Herald-Mail reported earlier this year.

The museum received an $11,000 grant from the state in August, Morningstar said.

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