Model train enthusiasts invite public to open house tours

ST. GEORGE — Starting this weekend, local model railroad enthusiasts throughout Washington County will once again be opening their homes to the public in order to showcase their trains and layouts.

The Color Country Model Railroad Club’s ninth annual “Model Train Home Tour” is scheduled to start Friday and last until Monday. Club members hold the event each November as part of National Model Railroad Appreciation Month.

Terry Schramm stands in front of his model train layout, which is among those featured in the Color Country Model Railroad Club’s annual “Model Train Home Tour,” set for Nov. 3-6 at club members’ homes in Washington County. St. George, Utah, Oct. 27, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Terry Schramm, who is the co-chairman of the tour, along with Al Thorne and Larry Schneider, said 21 club members are participating in this year’s event.

“It’s our biggest one yet,” Schramm said. “It keeps getting better every year.”

Schramm and his wife Peggy have devoted a large L-shaped room in their basement to their elaborate train layout, which includes a Christmas-themed village with dozens of buildings, flashing lights, sound effects and trains and trolleys running along several tracks. An impressive collection of hundreds of additional train cars and engines adorn the room’s shelves.

Fellow club member Dave Merrill, a retired Brigham Young University professor, has built his own elaborate model railroad in an upstairs room of his home.

“I don’t have a model train, I have a model railroad,” Merrill said, noting that he or another operator can easily spend well over an hour playing conductor, running up to six trains at a time and making scheduled pickups and deliveries along the route.

Dave Merrill adjusts a model train on the tracks. The layout is among those featured in the Color Country Model Railroad Club’s annual “Model Train Home Tour,” set for Nov. 3-6 at club members’ homes in Washington County. St. George, Utah, Oct. 27, 2017 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Merrill, known as “Professor Dave,” says his fully customized layout is designed to depict a typical railroad system in the Utah-Colorado area around 1937, the year of his own birth. He has painstakingly handcrafted most of the structures and decorative elements of his HO-scaled model, in which 3.5 mm equals one foot.

Another club member also named Dave Merrill, who is not related to the aforementioned Merrill, has on display a giant wedding cake featuring seven different scales of trains running around its tiers.

Several other club members have outdoor trains running in their backyards, winding through terraces, fountains and shrubbery. One even has a miniature “volcano.” The displays range from highly elaborate layouts many years in the making to simpler ones created by club members who are just getting started in the hobby, Schramm said.

The four-day tour is free and open to the public. Guests are invited to come look, take pictures and ask questions. They are reminded not to touch the models and to refrain from bringing in food or drink. For daily schedules, maps, and additional details about the event, visit the club’s website.

Event details

  • What: Color Country Model Railroad Club’s annual “Model Train Home Tour.”
  • When: Friday, Nov. 3 through Monday, Nov. 6. See schedule on the club’s website for a list of times and locations, along with links to maps of street addresses.
  • Where: Homes throughout Washington County.
  • Cost: Free.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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