New Holland >> The 2016 Christmas season will mark the 12th year the Model Railroad Club at Garden Spot Village has opened its model train room to the public for their Holiday Train Room Open House. Since 2005, visiting the elaborate O- and HO-gauge displays has become a Christmas season tradition for many Eastern Lancaster County families. For the past 11 years, the open house has attracted over 24,000 visitors.
“The number of visitors to the open house each year has grown since 2004, and the 2015 season was no different,” 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.
The 2016 season marks one where the display has undergone the most changes. The HO gauge layout has seen a redesign, placing Thomasville on a peninsula that allows Thomas and his friend Percy to be seen more easily. Thomasville is also the scene for the ever-popular “Talk with Thomas” event. Returning to the display is a German village, which includes a trolley stop and a main line passing by the large station, and the camera train that will display the main line trip on a large 55” screen as viewed from the engine cab. Additionally, the main yard is now accessible at both ends, and the engine house turntable operates routinely.
The O gauge layout, with a basic mountain design, is completely new. In it is a resort hotel overlooking a lake that discharges over waterfalls and a stream that winds across the layout. Other focal points include an operating diner, a drive-in movie theater, a logging operation, a car wash and a Ford dealership showroom. Both the O and HO gauge layouts provide plenty of action that is complemented with heavily detailed scenery and the latest technology is implemented throughout, including the ability to sound a horn or whistle from a smartphone.
While the displays are open, the club will also sell surplus model railroad equipment in both O and HO gauges, as well as magazines, books, scenery materials and memorabilia.
The train room is open to the public from 1:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays, Dec. 3, 10, and 17, and Mondays, Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
Garden Spot Village is located at 433 S. Kinzer Ave. in New Holland. Admission is free; donations are accepted. For information and directions, call 717-355-6000.