Model railroad hobby provides therapy

Model railroad hobby provides therapy

Posted: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 8:01 pm

By LANCE GRIFFIN
The Dothan Eagle
DOTHAN, Ala. (AP) — The familiar choo-choo of the old train could be heard coming around the corner and out of the tunnel. Above, a full-fledged carnival complete with a working ferris wheel delighted the bystanders.
The train clickety-clacked toward the muddy Mississippi, where a barge floated by carrying wares down the water. Soon, the train chugged past the drive-in where War of the Worlds was playing. It paralleled the highway and moved past the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and all of a sudden it slid past the Empire State Building, where a Fay Wrayless King Kong stood atop.
And it kept chugging on.
Welcome to the kingdom of model trains, where your world can be anything you want. The display of the Pensacola Model Railroad Club (PRMC) had all that and more at the Wiregrass Model Railroad Show Saturday at the National Peanut Festival Grounds. The 15-member club spent thousands of dollars and countless man-hours adding intricate detail to make their miniature world come alive.
“We just love creating mini-scenes and making it look real,” said club member Glen Hall.
“You make something like this and the really fun part is bringing it to a place and watching the kids come by and looking at the thing and seeing their eyes light up.”
Like many people, Hall picked up the hobby as a child. However, girls and baseball came along and the miniature tracks and cars were placed in boxes and stuffed under the bed or in a closet. He didn’t pick it up again until about 1972 during a military deployment in Germany.
The model railroad hobby is perfect for the lone wolf who retires to the garage for hours, or for the social enthusiast who enjoys collaboration.
In other words, Hall said, it has something for everyone.
“It’s an escape,” Hall said.
“Therapy,” said another club member.
Along with the full train displays, the 20th Annual Wiregrass Model Railroad Show boasted more than 130 product tables with vendors as far away as Texas coming to sell all things related to the hobby. More than a thousand people were expected to come through the doors, and it is believed to be the largest model railroad show south of Atlanta. The show resumes Sunday.
The Wiregrass Steel Wheels Division of the National Model Railroad Association, a nonprofit group, uses the show’s proceeds to support various chapter projects in the Wiregrass area.

Published in The Messenger 9.29.10

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