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Doll, toy and train show keeps on chugging

February 25, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

SCOTLAND, Pa. - When Bill Robinson describes the semiannual shows befitting the Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club, he says they are a mix of dolls, trains, antiques and "stuff that came out last week."

Indeed, displays of Barbies, tiny engines, 1930s metal cars, and wrestling action figures abutted each other at Sunday's show organized by Robinson and his wife, Sandy. The events, which are in their ninth year, typically raise about $1,000 for the model railroad club.

"We have worked hard to put together a quality show, and it has paid off. ... We don't want a whole lot of junky stuff," Bill Robinson said.

Robinson expressed pleasure with the number of people who turned out to the Phyllis M. Argenbright Community Hall, which saw diminished crowds last February due to inclement weather. The Robinsons now expect 350 people at each show, whereas turnout was down in the early part of this decade.

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"That's when eBay got hot and the Internet, too," Robinson said.

Many of the approximately 30 vendors said they knew each other.

"These dealers are all pretty much the same dealers year after year. I've only got one new dealer this year," Robinson said, noting that the man came from New York.

Steve Stouffer, of Hagerstown, has set up tables at the shows since their inception.

"I do it to help the club," he said.

Stouffer's day involves not only selling items, but swapping them with others.

"A lot of dealers here are people I've known from other shows. It's like a family," Stouffer said.

He displayed a mix of N-, HO- and O-scale trains.

"The layout people like to use the N-scale or HO-scale," he said, explaining that the smaller sets require less room in displays.

Walter Bercaw, however, prefers the much larger 1 1/2-inch scale.

"I figure if I'm going to pour money into something, I want to ride on it," said Bercaw, a member of the Cumberland Valley club.

His coal-fired engine can pull at least 23 cars with people seated on them.

"It's taken me years to build just these two flat cars," Bercaw said. "Now I can take somebody along."

Stouffer first started selling trains, but branched out into toys. The Scotland shows allow him to provide a mix of items to customers, he said.

Stouffer described himself as a hobbyist trying to thin out his collection.

"I'm trying to keep fond toys, ones that I had in my childhood or ones that my dad would've had," Stouffer said.

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