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Model Train Club displays collection to keep history alive

June 10, 2017 GMT

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (AP) — The Clarksburg Area Model Railroad Club offered demonstrations and displays last Sunday at Meadowbrook Mall for people young and old alike. The club was set up throughout the weekend and drew a large turnout, officials said.

For a third year at the mall, the railroad club set up displays for individuals to enjoy, President James Kinney said. This year, he said the club estimated nearly 1,300 people took time to shown an interest in the exhibition.

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“The best thing about the event is that there’s something for everyone, whether they’re 8 or 80 years old,” he said. “There’s a little bit of love for trains in our kids and in ourselves. Stopping by the displays sparks interest in a lot of people.”

Club member Terry Bunner travels from Fairmont to participate in club activities and events, he said. He has been collecting model trains and railroads since 1982.

“It’s always been a hobby of mine, and I donate a lot of my time to it,” he said.

“The club is a great way to dedicate my time to the hobby with other people who enjoy it too. The camaraderie is one of the best parts,” Bunner said.

A member of the club for five years, he said he derives satisfaction from being included in the group.

“I’m proud to be a member of a club that doesn’t mind going out and sharing what we do with the world,” he said. “Showcasing our collections are going to keep the hobby alive, I think.”

Seven-year-old Bryan Ford was at the mall with his grandparents, Kirk and Candie Jarvis of Fairmont.

This is the second year the Jarvises have attended the event at the mall.

“Kids have lost interest in this kind of hobby because they’re too busy on their phones or in their shows,” Candie Jarvis said. “This is a good way for them to learn about a hands-on activity that doesn’t have to deal with video games or cellphones.”

Ford said he has a train set, himself, at home. He said even though it might not be his favorite hobby, it is “cool” that other people like it.

Sandy Marshall was passing through Harrison County when she decided to stop at the mall.

“I think this is a great idea for both kids and adults,” she said. “The railway system is a big part of our history. This puts that in perspective, and it will keep the history if you continue to introduce it to young children.”

Although the event saw well over 1,000 visitors, Kinney said the event started to wind down Sunday afternoon.

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From Meadowbrook Mall, club members now will move their display to the Doddridge County Library for July.

“We want to keep doing this each year as we continue to expand what this club is about,” he said. “The industry started in the 1800s and has progressed since then. We want to keep all of that history alive.”

Kinney said club members plan to be more visible and showcase their railroads and model trains even more in the future.

“I just want to keep the history of trains alive,” he said. “Running trains and having these showcases in the community is helping to spark interest in other individuals, and I am hopeful that it keeps it around longer.”