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Carlisle man builds multi-level Christmas train village - abc27 WHTM

Carlisle man builds multi-level Christmas train village

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For most of the year, it's a sun porch on the Carlisle home of John Melius and Lois Gleim. But this time of year, with the flip of a few switches, it's a journey through Christmas, by rail. Five separate trains running on five different levels. And each with its own story.

Every year , the 73-year-old retired carpenter converts a hundred square feet of living space into a Christmas wonderland, using a different theme, a fresh layout, and a variety of train scales and track gauges.

"I say it's for the kids," said Melius, "but the adults like it just as much as the kids do. And I tell everybody, it's not a train layout, it's a Christmas Village. There's more scenery than there is trains here, actually."

Starting three weeks before Christmas with basic platforms and some rough ideas, Melius logs twelve hour days cutting wood, trimming Styrofoam, shaping plaster cloth and laying wires.

"Everybody says you should draw a plan," he said. "But each building has a different foot print. You'd have to know what building you're going to use."

Using the visitors log from the year before, John and Lois send out invitations to come see the new display. The invitation includes a sneak preview of what they will see if they stop by. Young visitors are given a flash light and invited to find the animals in the display. And, for their efforts, they get to pick from a prize box.

The display is kept up through January to allow visitors who are too busy before the holidays to stop by.

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