Lifetime model train collection to be auctioned in Pa.

December 29, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- William Burkholder won't be there Saturday when Gateway Gallery Auction sells about 1,500 of his model trains because watching a piece of his life sold to the highest bidder will be painful.

"I can't watch," he said. "I can't."

Burkholder, a Chambersburg resident, decided to sell his trains when health concerns forced him to move to Florida.

It took a lifetime for Burkholder to collect the trains.

As a child, Burkholder would receive trains for Christmas, he said.

"I was fascinated by how primitive they are and how they run," he said. "I got a fever for them, I guess."

Every year, his collection grew.

Now, as he looks to move south, taking his beloved trains along was nearly impossible.

In his basement, he has a room dedicated to his trains, he said.

With no basements in Florida and no room to display his massive collection, he decided he would get rid of his collection.


"I thought I would give them to my grandsons, but they are not interested," he said.

Burkholder said he made the very difficult decision to sell his trains when none of his family members were interested in inheriting the collection.

Growing emotional, he said it will be difficult to part with the trains that have been a part of his life for many years.

His hope is others with a love of trains as great as his will acquire the small models, he said.

Heather Fowler, representative of Gateway Gallery Auction, said sales of collections such as this often draw serious collectors and not dealers.

Those interested in previewing the collection can do so online at or at the auction house Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., Fowler said.

The sale will be Saturday at 10 a.m., with doors opening at 8 a.m.

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