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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