Posted by: Roger Farkash | July 23, 2011

A Night at the Museum!

A long week last week criss-crossing the country with a client train layout installation northwest of Chicago, and then traveling east to the National Toy Train Museum and A Night at the Museum sponsored by Lionel and the Train Collectors Association. 

I always enjoy visiting Strasburg; the Choo Choo Barn and the Strasburg Train Shop (seriously large and fully animated Train Layout!) the Strasburg Railroad (I could listen to that whistle blowing ALL day long!), the Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum, the Red Caboose Motel around the corner (seriously, you HAVE to check out the FORTY -SIX Cabeese ),  and the National Toy Train Museum next door.

This trip was special, as fellow  T W TrainWorx Traingineer George Watson and I would be assisting a group of Train Collector Association volunteers under the supervision of Jane Boyce, Director of Development  for the TCA, in guiding Twenty Four kids and their parent / grandparent chaperones on a 14 hour adventure –  from 6PM friday until 8AM Saturday morning  – exploring the Toy Train Museum and then designing and building a two loop, 9 ‘ X 5’ train table.  This was a great opportunity to interact and establish an encouraging  relationship with the future toy train operators and train collectors who would be attending this event. 

Broken up into three groups of eight each, the kids and adults spent two hours in each phase of the layout building process – track application and wiring, tree building and mountain carving, and structure assembly and painting –  and then everyone worked  together to put all of the finishing touches on the table so that by 4AM.  With about half of our dedicated bunch  still standing – we  cranked up the transformers and took turns running trains until 6AM!   Throughout the evening, all of the kids were enthusiastic and enjoyed learning all about  Toy Trains and asking dozens of questions about the how to’s of model railroading.   An actor portraying Joshua Lionel  Cowen, guided the kids through the museum, personalizing the story of Lionel trains and creating memories these future toy railroaders were not likely to forget.

There’s no question that live events change lives, as many of the kids excitedly thanked us as we handed out certificates of achievement just before they departed, many of them  – and parents too – assuring us they would be back next year to participate in the fun again.  Toy trains have been a part of my entire life. It is reassuring to know that I am taking part in planting the seeds of the joy of model railroading in the hearts of so many !



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