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Celebrating a Big Anniversary for Small Trains in York - abc27 WHTM

Celebrating a Big Anniversary for Small Trains in York

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This humble structure in downtown York was built nearly sixty years ago for one purpose, to house the Miniature Railroad Club of York, which is now celebrating its 70th anniversary.

Inside, it is a wall to wall, minutely detailed model train layout. It's an impressive sight for first time visitors and a comfort zone for the members themselves.

Michael Keiser has been active in the club for four years. He calls the display impressive just by its size.

"When you're walking into what's almost larger than someone's basement and you see this completely covered in trains running, that's something," said Keiser.

The tracks can host as many as 14 HO gauge trains, looping through miniature towns, tunnels, industries and countryside settings.

25 year member Alan Frame likes how the display reflects real railroads and their operations.

"The outside line of this display is about three or so scale miles of track. The building is thirty by ninety," explained Frame. "The bottom line which runs on the inside part of the layout is about twice as long because of the extra loops."

A dispatcher in a centrally located tower controls overall train movements, with individual operators using remote throttles to change their train's speed. Along the tracks, sponsorship billboards help underwrite the club's operating expenses. Most of the engines are purchased by club members through model train dealers, but some enjoy the challenge of building theirs from scratch.

"The appeal to me is craftsmanship," said Frame. "It's the knowledge that I can assemble something that is a miniature replica of the real thing out on the railroad."

"There are some privately owned clubs where guys have some big bucks and do have some nice layouts," said Frame. "But, for a club this size, you won't find anything like this, pretty much anywhere in the United States."

The clubs schedule for its annual Holiday Season open house dates can be found at www.mrrcy.com. The open houses run through Jan 12.

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