Last chance to visit model rail display
The model railroad layout is about 25 feet wide by 70 feet long.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
SEBRING -- Today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. is the last chance to visit the annual Sebring Model Railroad Club open house, which features numerous trains running through a complex and authentically detailed layout.
That the Sebring Club headquarters is a former Pennsylvania Railroad station adds to the interest. The entry fee is $2 for adults. Children 12 and under enter for free.
The combination passenger and freight station was originally located south of the tracks from where it is now at 216 Pennsylvania Ave.
The Sebring Model Railroad Club bought the station from the Pennsylvania Railroad, which planned to tear it down, and moved the structure across the tracks to get it off railroad property, Dennis Sautters, club president, said.
Open house visitors are treated to what amounts to a working railroad, with a roundhouse and numerous running trains with schedules and stops to load and unload freight.
The amazingly detailed layout, built by club members from kits or from "scratch," is about 25 feet wide by 70 feet long, Sautters said.
Club member David Bertolini said he enjoys the creativity of the hobby, and enjoys building layout models from scratch, including a replica of the club's railroad station.
Sautters said he built a model of his own home for the layout. Other built-to-scale structures, along with vegetation, rivers, creeks, mountains, streets and automobiles, include coal mining and oil refinery operations, numerous bridges, the Dettmer Packing Co., company-owned row houses, and a small town, give it an authentic look.
Sautters said about 75 percent of model railroaders use HO gauge, which is about half the size of the Lionel trains with which many people are familiar.
Nonmodel railroaders, including James L. and Laura Johnston and their son, James, of Canton, also attended the open house Saturday.
Mr. Johnston said that while model railroading is not a family hobby, they enjoy the Sebring Club open house and have attended it several times in the past.
Mrs. Johnston said the artistic details of the layout are particularly interesting to her.
"When I was little, my dad had a Lionel train set," she said.
The Sebring Club began in 1948 as the Salem Model Railroad Club in the basement of Fritz Birkheimer, said Russ Kozicky, Sebring Club vice president. The club moved to Sebring in the mid-1970s when the station became available, he said.
The Sebring Club has 38 members and meets Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings.