PLAINS TWP. – Five-year-old Kale Hoppey positioned himself on a step-stool as he eagerly awaited an incoming train to pass him by.
The Hazleton resident and his grandmother, Diane, were just one of many families taking advantage of an event held by the Hudson Model Railroad Club on Sunday.
The club held its annual summer open house, allowing visitors a chance to come view the display, purchase pieces and learn more about the club free of charge.
“We invite people to come up and just see what we’re working on,” said Tyler Brzozowski, the club’s vice president of scenery.
The club has been around since 1980 and features more than 2,000 square feet of display that can usually run up to six trains across three lines. Brzozowski explained that when choosing scenery for the display, he looks to pay homage to the Pennsylvania in general rather than duplicate a popular area.
One can easily point out the nods the club has given to key traits of the state, such as a section dedicated to coal mining, or another featuring beautiful waterfalls. Even the most precise of detail, such as figurines kayaking and rafting, sparks memory of whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River.
“I think its wonderful that they try and mimic the landscapes of the area. It’s really nice,” Diane Hoppey exclaimed.
The club runs on membership dues and donations and strives to put their funds to good use through upgrading or adding to the display.
With the club – and some of the display – nearing 40, Brzozowski said the group is currently working on modernizing some of its oldest scenes. All of the display’s pieces are owned by members, who will frequent area specialty shoppes or look online to add to their collection.
“I think we all started just because we have a passion and love for trains. We all love what we do here. It’s a really great hobby and it’s all meant for fun,” he said.
What started as an annual tradition at Christmastime has expanded into learning about all aspects of model trains for 15-year-old Tyler Coles.
Coles became involved with the club about 2 years ago. He said the group helped him meet new people who share his interests and taught him the importance of education and teamwork.
Coles has also taken on the challenge of learning how to paint and weather pieces. Moving to his favorite part of the display, the Hudson Yard, he explained the area plays a major role as a centerpiece of the display.
“Hudson Yard is kind of the base place to everything that goes on,” he said, proudly sharing that he suggested some of the ideas for the portion of the display. “Everybody works on Hudson.”
Membership options start as early as age 12 for the club, with weekly projects and monthly meetings. For more information, visit HudsonModelRailroad.com or visit the club on Facebook.
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