A Fascination for Trains

Holiday model train displays
recall nostalgia of youth

Displays are up in Madison,
Rising Sun and Crestwood, Ky.

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(December 2012) – Ever since he was a young boy, Stan Totten has been interested in trains. Now a model train collector, he said his adult fascination is a natural outgrowth of what continues to thrill as many adults as it does children.
Totten, 76, is a member of the Hanover (Ind.) Model Railroad Club, a small group of train and railroad enthusiasts. The club constructs a model train layout at Hanover Presbyterian Church during the holiday season and has added a second location this year at the Jefferson County Historical Society’s Heritage Center, 615 W. First St.

Tom Hatton

Photo by Patti Watson

Tom Hatton of the Hanover Model
Train Club sets up a display at
the Jefferson County Historical
Society Museum. The display
is open through the holidays.

This display is “different from what the railroad club generally does,” said Totten, a retired Hanover College professor.
This is the club’s first attempt at “putting a Christmas display together. We’re trying to develop something entirely new.”
This small club, which meets weekly, was organized by Jim Richards, former pastor of the Hanover Presbyterian Church. Their holiday display at the Heritage Center museum was open during the Nights Before Christmas Candle-light Tour of Homes, which ended Dec. 1.
Joe Carr, executive director of the Jefferson County Historical Society, said, “Everyone loves to watch model railroad displays at Christmastime.” The club was asked by the Historical Society to erect this temporary display for the holidays.
“This is the first time for the display,” said Carr. The display will remain at the museum until Dec. 21. Admission cost for the museum is $4.
The Ohio County Historim in Rising Sun, Ind., also has a model train display during the holidays. Cliff Thies, executive director, said, “We try to set up as many models as possible.”

Stan Totten

Photo by Patti Watson

Stan Totten
heads the Hanover
(Ind.) Model Train Club.

This year’s Christmas Train Exhibit will be set up in the main gallery of the museum and may be a little smaller because of renovation in the space where it is usually erected. The display is free of charge.
The exhibit is temporary and will run through Jan. 6, 2013. For the past decade, volunteers have set up the model train display that the Historical Society owns.
The display consists of different train vignettes depicting a winter village and miniature houses. Many times when area schools visit the museum to see the display, “we have Santa and activities for them,” said Thies.
He said the Historical Society had some members years ago who were train enthusiasts, and that is how the idea for an annual holiday model train display came into existence. “It’s quite unusual for this area,” said Thies of the display.
More than 1,300 visitors came last year to the Yew Dell Holiday Train Exhibit at Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood, Ky. “They came to see the display, enjoy the holiday decorations, participate in scavenger hunts, enjoy hot chocolate and visit with Santa,” said Karla Drover, executive director at Yew Dell.
There are many unique details in this snow village and model train display. Details include “a long tunnel, a water feature, moving figures, icicles on the overpasses, cars with lights and the realistic proportions of the entire village,” said Drover.
The display was created by master model builder Bob Irmscher of Floyds Knobs, Ind., with aid from many talented model train enthusiasts in the area. It is placed in the Castle at Yew Dell and “visitors love opening the Castle door and walking into a magical wonderland of a snow village with the sounds of two trains running simultaneously,” Drover said.

Train Display

Photo provided

Model train display at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood, Ky. The display was created by master model builder Bob Irmscher of Floyds Knobs, Ind., with aid from many talented model train enthusiasts in the area.

If families would like to day-trip to a locomotive wonderland, they can go no farther than Indianapolis to see a popular holiday tradition, “Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure.” The Indiana Railroad Co. will have a model train layout constructed at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.
Visitors will see eight ultra sized G-scale and model trains chug past such Indianapolis landmarks as Union Station, Monument Circle, the Indiana State Fair, the Midway Arch and Lucas Oil Stadium. The layout covers nearly 1,200 feet of track as it leaves Indianapolis on its way to the national parks of the American West.
This display was made of natural materials by Paul Busse and his company, Applied Imagination. Busse usually displays his rare holiday creations in larger cities such as New York and Chicago.

Back to December 2012 Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta