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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Train club could shut down without new blood

  • You can't help but sense the irony.
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  • — You can't help but sense the irony.
    A group of people age 60 and above who weekly take a couple of hours to enjoy something which began when they were children.
    The problem: Finding other people to come out and play.
    "If we don't get membership, the club will close," said Ray Vogt, vice-president of the Stourbridge Model Railroad Club.
    The club is down to just seven members and Vogt said it is critical they get at least a couple of new members, though they would like more.
    The club was founded in 1975 and has always been located in the basement of the Grace Presbyterian Church on Church Street in Honesdale.
    Each year, the club has an open house and they are planning one for this month. But if new members aren't found, it could be the last.
    The open house will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 at the church. Everyone is invited to attend and there is no charge.
    The club meets each Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m. at the church. They suspend meetings during the winter months. There will be one more meeting after the open house and then they will resume meetings until the end of March.
    Vogt said the club uses Ho scale trains. There are 660 feet of track in the room in the basement of the church.
    But being in the club is much more than operating trains.
    "There are a whole lot of skills wrapped into one hobby," said Vogt.
    Those skills include carpentry, electrical, painting, modeling, sculpting and more.
    During each meeting, the club performs maintenance and tries to add new features to the display.
    The most recent additions include electrical signs. Vogt said this is a fairly new concept in the world of model trains. The signs use micro-circuits, which looks like neon, and they can be programmed to change. It adds quite a bit to the already interesting display.
    Page 2 of 3 - Working on the display, says Vogt, means a lot to those who put in the time and effort.
    "It gives you imagination," he said.
    Vogt works on the scenery of the display. That means intricate work on everything from the trees to the mountains to the bodies of water.
    Other members have different specialities, but they all work as a team to keep the display current.
    They also manage to go back in time each Tuesday evening when working with the trains.
    "I had trains as a kid," said Vogt. "But I got away from it."
    Then in 1988, he was convinced to join the group even though he says, "I'm not a joiner."
    Twenty-four years later, Vogt is now the "longest reigning member"in the club, though he jokes about not being the "oldest member."
    In those years, Vogt said he has received a lot of personal satisfaction by being a member.
    It still brings him joy each year at the open house with children see the display for the first time.
    "It is the same expressions that we had as kids," said Vogt.
    That's something he hopes will continue, provided some new members can be found.
    If you have an interest in joining the club, contact Vogt at 785-3876; Frank Friedrich at 226-1714 or Mary Daly at 857--175.
    Other club members are Gil Parker, Al Stewart, Bob Effinger and George Hohman.
    Here are few interesting numbers about the display at the church:
    73 switches
    1,029 people
    1 goose
    223 buildings
    1 air boat
    14 water towers
    Page 3 of 3 - • 570 trees
    1 Goodyear blimp
    9 smoke stacks
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