Model railroad club hosts year's final open house

December 06, 2009

WAYNECASTLE, Pa. -- Often, visitors to the Waynesboro Model Railroad Club's headquarters can hear a train approaching on the maze of tracks before they can see it.

A slight grumble can be heard coming from the tunnels before a train in "HO," "O" or "N" scale emerges.

The first glimpse of an engine provides few clues about what's to come. Some haul three cars; others have more than 40.

"They have a lot of trains," said Grant Fetterhoff, 7.

On Sunday, the club hosted its final open house of the year. But train aficionados have only a short wait until January's eight open houses at the club's headquarters on Pa. 16 between Waynesboro and Greencastle.

January's events tend to be the most heavily attended, since they don't conflict with other holiday activities, Club President John Chillas said.


"I think they get cabin fever," Chillas said of the families who visit in January.

The club's 17 members have been working on the "HO" freight yard and a snowmobile factory in their displays in recent months.

Grant, whose family has visited a dozen times, said he liked the new snowboarder in the wintry section of the second floor. He also likes the "Big Boy" train on the first floor.

Chillas said the club formed in 1990 and started hosting open houses five years later.

"We're always looking for new members," he said, saying anyone with an interest in model trains can learn about them alongside current members.

Club members' personal interests vary from trains to scenery to wiring, Chillas said.

A floor-level Thomas the Tank Engine train set is a popular draw for children. Grant's love of trains started with Thomas.

Chillas said it's fun watching the children grow up, as some families visit the open houses as an annual tradition.

"If they come once, particularly if they have kids, they have to come back," he said.

The club is raffling "O" and "HO" train sets, as well as an "N"-scale layout. Tickets cost $1 each or six for $5.

If you go ...

What: Waynesboro (Pa.) Model Railroad Club open houses

When: 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 2, 3, 9, 10, 23, 24, 30, 31

Where: Pa. 16 between Waynesboro and Greencastle under the railroad bridge at GRC General Contractor

For more information, go to

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