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Hundreds track trains at open house

Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club offers variety of sizes, scenes and a raflle

Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club offers variety of sizes, scenes and a raflle

December 30, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. ? Jacob Hostetter watched intently as trains raced through forests and snow-covered hills, zipped past homes, businesses and towns, and disappeared into mountainous tunnels.

The 3-year-old watched all of it happen while perched atop a step stool.

Hundreds of people gathered throughout the day Saturday to watch just this during the Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club Open House in Chambersburg.

With 80 scale miles and 24 model trains running at a time, the open house featured a variety of train sizes, scenery and the chance to win a train set. It also demonstrated the work that the model railroad club put into the open house.

"It's interesting to see how much dedication these guys have and imagination to build a scene," said Joel Junker of Long Island, N.Y., who was visiting his parents in Chambersburg.

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Junker was holding his nephew, Kyle Junker, 3, on top of his shoulders as they both looked at trains.

"(Kyle) knows the basics - the difference between steam engines, diesel engines and electric trains," Junker said. "He has all the Thomas the Tank Engine trains."

"This is more like going down memory lane," said Junker, who grew up building model trains with his father and lived near the Long Island Train Station.

Junker said Kyle likely will inherit two generations' worth of model train equipment when he gets older.

John Morris, president of the Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club, said the club formed 11 years ago and has had open houses ever since.

"Each club member takes a section (of the train layout) and does whatever he wants on that section," Morris said of the 28 club members who helped put together the trains and scenery for the open house.

The smallest trains on display were N-gauge, each of which is about 5 inches long, with a track width of about 0.4 inches. The next train size is HO-gauge, which is about 9 inches long and runs on a 0.65-inch-wide track. The O-gauge is about 16 inches long and runs on about a 1.3-inch-wide track.

The largest model trains on display, called G-gauge, are about 27 inches long with a 2-inch-wide track.

Morris said the most popular model trains are the HO-gauge, but that the O-gauge are very popular in Pennsylvania.

"It's the trains everyone used to put around the Christmas tree," Morris said of the O-gauge.

It is not difficult to keep the model trains running at the same time, but it is a delicate process, Morris said. The biggest issue is keeping the tracks and cars clean.

"The power for engines comes through the tracks, so we have to keep (the tracks) clean so electric power can get through," Morris said.

While 24 trains were running at any given time, there were about 100 trains taking turns on the tracks every half-hour, Morris said.

Morris said in Franklin County, it seems that young children and adults older than 50 are interested in model trains.

"Little kids really love to watch it," Morris said. "Once they grow older, they seem to lose interest."

Hostetter really was into the trains, said his grandfather, George Herbert of Chambersburg.

"I don't think (he's) ever seen a train layout before. This is kind of unique to him," Herbert said, adding that his favorite trains were the ones with steam engines.

The model railroad open house continues Saturday, Jan. 5, and Sunday, Jan. 13. On Jan. 13, winners will be announced in a raffle for an N-gauge train set, a Lionel train set and an HO-gauge train set.




If you go



What: Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club Open House

When: Saturday, Jan. 5, and Sunday, Jan. 13, noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club, 440 Nelson St., Chambersburg, Pa.

On Jan. 13, winners will be announced in a raffle for an N-gauge train set, a Lionel train set and an HO-gauge train set.

Call Bill Robinson at 717-264-3081 or the club at 717-263-6447.

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