Trains don't have to be big to be fun

6:20 PM, Jan 21, 2013   |    comments
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A model railroad is more than tiny trains. It's a virtual village created by hobbiest.

Full-sized trains first captured their imaginations.

"A train has its own track. It goes off somewhere that nothing else goes. You're aboard the train sitting in the diner car. And looking out you see the world from a different perspective," Maryville Model RR Club member George Miller.

Now they stretch their perspective with a smaller version at the Blount County Historical Museum.

"I don't smoke cigars and chase women inappropriately," Miller said. "My mid-life crisis is model railroading."

The Maryville Model Railroad Club attracts enthusiasts like George Miller.

"I like to watch trains going around and around and around. With a cup of coffee of course," he said.

The layout includes an electrical system to run the model trains through a model landscape and town built by club members.

"A lot of it you use clay or plaster or whatever you can find and let your imagination go," Maryville Model RR Club member Mark Howard said.

Mark Howard explained that the rocks in the layout are made of ceiling tiles. A bridge is made of cereal boxes and chop sticks.

"Whatever you can find to turn in to what you want it to look like it's a little bit of a challenge," he said.

Club member Mark Fisher says it's an ongoing process.

"We're still working on the city. Eventually the city will have street light, traffic lights. All the houses and city hall and the fire department will have lights in them," Mark Fisher said.

They use their imaginations, even on the walls.

Howard said, "You grew up looking for things in the clouds so she painted a few in. We've got dogs, horses, ducks and even a witch."

Watch out for the gator in the sewer!

"Two of us are from Florida so we have alligators in our back yard so it was an easy mix," Howard said.

The Maryville Model Railroad Club gathers once a week to work on the railroad and talk trains.

"I feel like most people know more about railroads than I do and I love to listen to people talk about rail roads," Miller said.

Howard said, "It can take over your life if you're not careful."

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