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All aboard!

Created date

January 31st, 2009

THE ERICKSON TRIBUNE Whether you re a train buff or not, you ll be impressed with the model train room at Maris Grove, located on the terrace level of Vernon Woods, a residence building. The elaborate and realistic miniature display has hundreds of different trains and an ever-changing layout that includes three styles of hand-made bridges, tunnels, water features, and four seasons of hand-painted background landscape murals. Getting on track The club has been around since the Erickson community in Delaware County, Pa., opened more than two years ago. But it was only within the past year that the club was able to secure a room for its layout. Already that room is busting at the seams. "We kept realizing that more and more people here shared this hobby. So it was only natural that we all joined forces," train club member Dan Hetrick, says. Hetrick explains that most of the members who formed the club were serious train aficionados, but the club embraces even the casual train enthusiast. "We find that most members had trains as kids and got distracted with life, and this is a nice way to get back into something you enjoy and to have a real creative outlet." Bridging a community Richard Lowes, a resident at the community, says, "I m not a member of the train club, but this is more than just for the train enthusiasts. It has crossed over and become something that the whole community is involved in, taken part in, and is proud of." He adds, "It s an artistic vent, sure, but it really has also been a mixture of efforts, of people working together to make this happen. It s unified the community from the resident woodworkers who helped build the platforms and bridges to the artists who painted the murals on the walls and the modelers who keep it up and running. This project is a real testament to Maris Grove s community atmosphere." Tapping into talent Hetrick, who has been a serious model train aficionado for ten years, says that every club member brings something to the equation. "Some like to do the woodwork, some like to focus on the scenery, but there s really something for everyone." When asked if there is anything too complicated for the club to create, he responds, "It s amazing what some of these modelers can do; it s so realistic." Chugging along Those involved with the club say they plan for the train room to keep growing and changing. Hetrick says the room is a constant work in progress. "It s a hobby that develops every day. It s ongoing; it doesn t end. It s something that you never want to be finished with. You enjoy it and always try to come up with something new or different. That s what model trains are all about."