NEW HOLLAND, Pa. — Members of the Garden Spot Village Train Club invite area families and train enthusiasts to the annual model railroad exhibit open house, which will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 24, and Dec. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29.
“We’ve been busy with several new things for this year,” said Harry Black, one of about 20 Train Club members, all of whom share the title “vice president” and who donate their time, money and equipment to work on the trains for their own enjoyment and to entertain others.
Last year more than 2,800 visitors came to see the trains, which include an O-gauge display as well as an HO-gauge layout with more than 600 feet of main line track.
This year, the flashing lights and clanging bell of a railroad-crossing signal will greet visitors approaching the train room. The signal was donated to the club. It has full-size components from an actual grade crossing, but has been modified to use house current reduced to 12 volts.
Also new this year, a wireless video camera installed in the front of an HO engine will give visitors an engineer’s-eye view of the layout. The images are displayed on a new wall-mounted, 55-inch color monitor.
“We’re seeing the inside of tunnel areas that we have never seen before,” said Black.
Railroad enthusiasts will appreciate that two of the freight lines have been switched from steam locomotives to modern diesel power. Using the capabilities of its Digitrax DCC operating system, the club added a 40-hopper-care coal train being pulled by a “consist”, or multiple-engine configuration, of four Norfolk & Western diesels.
Begun in 2005, the HO-gauge layout is still a work in progress. It features automated turnouts and an engine turntable in the switching yard. The club continues to add scenery and details each year. A small HO layout featuring a DeWitt Clinton steam engine, which used stagecoach bodies for cars, may offer enthusiasts inspiration for a home layout.
On the O-gauge layout, the club replaced three older engines with new units that are equipped with sound. The club plans to begin a new O-gauge layout in 2013.
Once again, Thomas the Tank Engine will “talk” with young visitors, and a child-size Thomas model provides a great prop for taking pictures.
While the displays are open, the club will also hold a sale of model train components.
Garden Spot Village is located at 433 S. Kinzer Ave. Admission is free; donations are accepted. For information and directions, call 717-355-6000.