Model railroads return to library

When done just right, model railroads can transform massive locomotives into detailed personal delights for those with the time and right imagination. The Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Club hopes to spark such imagination as its model railroad show returns to the James City County Library Saturday and Sunday.

“I think it’s something that once you become interested in it, it stays,” said club member Richard Eichhorn, whose interest in the hobby formed when he was around 5 years old.

Over the years, he’s still found himself mesmerized by the process of building a layout and watching it evolve over time.

“You’re always tinkering with it,” he said. “It’s kind of a journey, in a way.”

The library event launched in 2005, and it’s grown in scale over the years. This year’s show features seven operating layouts of varying sizes, ranging from a winter-themed setup to a more traditional countryside design. Some feature new interactive elements for visitors to try, such as loading coal or delivering logs.

“The kids will love that,” Eichhorn said.

According to library counts, the show draws more than 3,000 people each year. Eichhorn said the show appeals to kids and adults alike.

“It potentially generates interest in people to consider it as a hobby, especially in the younger kids,” he said. “It’s something different than a computer. You can start small. That’s how the hobby starts.”

Want to go?

The Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Club display runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the James City County Library. Admission is free.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.

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