Model trains, memorabilia to be sold

March 22, 2009

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Russell Spear Jr.'s collection of model trains and railroad memorabilia will be auctioned off beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 4.

From his teen years in the 1930s to his death in 2008, Spear amassed a collection of model trains, railroad signs, lanterns, switches, semaphores, locks, stoves, relays and more, all representing the steam, diesel and electro-motive eras of railroads, according to a news release.

"His dream was to work on the railroad. His granddad worked on a train. He loved trains all his life," Martha Spear said of her late husband in the news release.

Spear's love of trains spilled into all aspects of his family life, even overtaking their laundry room.

"He had so many trains in the basement that I had to go to the Laundromat to do laundry," said Martha Spear, who was married to Russell Spear for 61 years.


The family took trips to places like the Horseshoe curve; went to auctions, yard sales and flea markets; and rode trains whenever they could. Spear's daughter, Nancy, has a cherished photo of her father, taken April 14, 1978, on mail train 10 from Harrisburg, Pa., to Croxten, N.J. On the back of the photo, he wrote "A trip to be remembered."

Martha Spear said she hopes her husband's passion will plant the seed in the heart of another young collector and that a new generation of train lovers will be born.

An open house preview will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, April 3, at Gateway Gallery Auction, where bidding will be held. A second auction of the uninventoried items will be May 2.

Gateway Gallery Auction is at 643 Kriner Road, Chambersburg. A complete catalog can be previewed online at

Additional auction information is available by calling 717-263-6512 or by visiting the company's Web site.

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