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All aboard! Enthusiasts of all ages take in train show

November 06, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

MONT ALTO, Pa. - From finger-size N gauge model train cars to firetrucks, the fifth annual Waynesboro (Pa.) Lions Club Model Train Show on Sunday was all about scale.

The hundreds of Lionel collectors often had a favorite scale - O gauge seemingly led the list - while children delighted in clamoring into the Mont Alto Volunteer Fire Department's trucks for rides around town.

The five hours of activity were expected to yield about $3,000 for the Lions Club, whose volunteers cooked, cleaned and sold tickets while wearing their signature yellow hats.

Seventy-one vendors from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia were on hand with a variety of models and memorabilia.

"Everybody seems to have a particular interest whether it be O gauge, G gauge, (etc.). Most years we have somebody to satisfy their needs," Lion Ed Miller said.

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Several people have become familiar faces at the shows.

"Usually, we have the same people come back year after year as vendors," Miller said.

Sunday's addition of the fire department's trucks, which made more than two dozen runs, drew more children to the event than in years past, Miller said.

Lorn D. Strickler of Hanover, Pa., forged an interest in model trains when he was 12. That interest was shared with his father.

Now, he has turned the hobby into a business.

"I sell mostly trains and models," Strickler said.

Arthur Warnick of Waynesboro also turned a lifelong hobby into a post-retirement business. He runs an authorized Lionel service station in town, where he sandblasts and paints engines and repairs their motors.

"Sometimes it involves complete teardown," Warnick said.

He still runs his first train - a Lionel 260 locomotive with blue passenger cars.

"I got my first train in 1931," Warnick said, explaining the train was a gift given to him as an infant. His father and grandfather used it for several years.

Warnick said the number of trains made in a particular year really affects the price, with some prewar engines costing as much as $2,500.

"A lot of people are into collecting the old, prewar stuff," Warnick said.

On Sunday, he displayed tin passenger cars from 1926 next to modern cars with tiny details.

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