Letting off some steam at Trains of Christmas

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum hosts annual event

Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum hosts annual event

December 10, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

To some in the Hub City, nothing says Christmas like "choo-choo," explained Bill Knode, co-chair and collaborator for this year's "Trains of Christmas" exhibit at the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum.

After all, the Hub City wouldn't be the Hub City were it not for its railroad legacy.

Now celebrating its 20th year, "Trains of Christmas" is the Roundhouse Museum's Christmas-themed train layout. The exhibit will be up through February.

This year's exhibit doesn't scrimp on the details. The steam locomotives even puff smoke. The layout has updated bridges, city scenes and other motorized eye-candy to impress people who aren't as keen on model trains.

The layout features 23 trains - some with as many as 30 cars - powered by electric motors. Six trains whirl around the layout at a time. It takes between 20 minutes and a half hour to see everything, Knode said.


Last year's exhibit drew 7,000 people, said Knode, who's treasurer for the Roundhouse Museum.

The layout is generally kid-proof, though parents should monitor the young ones still in the "don't touch that" phase.

Knode said when he was a kid, Hagerstown had five major railroads and a trolley.

"I, and most people, had trains under the Christmas tree," Knode said. "I still put trains under a Christmas tree."

While not all the trains on the tracks would have come through Hagerstown, it's a nod to what things might have been appeared during the holiday season, back when Hagerstown was a major railroad hub, Knode said.

"This is the kind of layout we all wanted as kids, but it took us a long time to get it," Knode said.

If you go ...

WHAT: "Trains of Christmas," a Christmas-themed layout

WHEN: Open from 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Feb. 1.

WHERE: Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, 300 S. Burhans Blvd., in Hagerstown's West Side

COST: $4, adults; 50 cents, ages 12 and younger

MORE: Call the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum at 301-739-4665, or visit its Web site at www.roundhouse .org .

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