Model railroad club’s fall show on track for Indian summer

Delaware SeaSide Railroad Club member Frank Parrino interacts with model train enthusiasts during one of the club’s annual train and toy show at Roxana Volunteer Fire Company Station 90. Delaware State News/Glenn Rolfe

ROXANA — Indian summer is right on track here on Delmarva.

So is the Delaware SeaSide Railroad Club, a local nonprofit whose mission is to preserve and promote the history and hobby of model railroading.

The club, which has a clubhouse base in the Savannah Square Shopping Center in Dagsboro, will hold the second of the its two major annual shows: Indian Summer Train & Toy Show Saturday at Roxana Volunteer Fire Company Station 90 on Zion Church Road (Sussex 20).

The show will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission is $5 and children 10 and under are admitted free.

More than 70 vendors are expected to sell their model train, accessories and toys. In addition, there will be operating layouts, an auction, door prizes and refreshments.

Once a popular passion among younger generations, model railroading in some ways has switched to a similar track that volunteer fire service is experiencing: a need for young blood.

“The reality is we are an aging population,” said Delaware SeaSide Railroad Club spokesman Mark Fisher. “It seems that the attitude is so different with young kids. I remember when I came to Delaware and started teaching, it was not uncommon for when the fire alarm went off that I’d lose two or three kids out of my classroom because they were running to their cars to get to the fire. They were never punished for that. You took pride that you had a kid like that in your classroom.”

The DSRC is hoping to stimulate and resurrect interest in model railroading, which encompasses creativity.

“We are trying to do our best to get out there and have the community understand the value of pulling a child away from a video game because he can make a train layout anyway he wants, unlike the video game that they are stuck to playing the way they designed it,” Mr. Fisher said.

The club does have a “farm system” of sorts through a junior membership program.

“We have like four or five members in high school or middle school that participate in lot of events we do,” said Mr. Fisher, adding the club aims to widen its potential membership in the region.

That may include billboard advertising and making contacts as far north as Philadelphia.

“Our goal is to widen our influence within the community,” Ms. Fisher said. “Our goal is to make our presence a lot stronger and positive in the community.”

Mr. Fisher said model train manufacturers are coming out with some incredible stuff.

“Right now, they are coming out with some amazing trains that are extremely realistic,” he said.

In addition to its major shows at Roxana Station 90 in May and September, DSRC activities include:

• School projects; teaching school children how to design and build a model railroad;

• Monthly meetings and monthly newsletters;

• Operating modular trains in O-gauge, S-gauge, G-gauge and H.O.-gauge at various venues around the area;

• Community workshops; and

• Community displays

Delaware SeaSide Railroad Club offers free admission to its clubhouse in Savannah Square Shopping Center, off U.S. 113 (and Clayton Street) at 32442 Royal Blvd.

Clubhouse hours are Wednesday evenings from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Club members are on hand to offer information on the layouts and club activities.

For additional information, visit the DSRC website at www.delawareseasiderailroadclub.com/ – or contact Bill Ziegler at 537-0964 or Mark Fisher at (410) 430-3437 and leave a message.

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