Technology advancement helps push model railroading forward

Maine model railroad club still going strong
More than 30 years ago, Paul Lodge was shopping at a store for model railroaders in Auburn when he realized it was the only place people like him could gather and talk about model trains. Soon, the Freight Station hobby shop had 20-30 people gathering to talk about model trains; but they weren’t buying anything.

“I was teaching at Edward Little High School and had access to a building and a room, so I said let’s start a club,” said Lodge last week during an interview at the Great Falls Railroad Club’s headquarters in Auburn. “It snowballed from there.”

There were about 20 members when the club began in 1986 — there are about 125 members today — and they used to just take modular layouts to local shows and venues. About 15 years ago, the club began renting a space in a cellar in Lewiston that had a large layout, and the club purchased its clubhouse, at 144 Mill Street, for almost $140,000 in 2007.

One of its major events of the year is the upcoming model train show on Saturday, Nov. 3, at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Admission to the show is $5 or free for children under 12, and refreshments will be available for purchase.

Other clubs from around Maine, including the Maine 3 Railers O-Gauge Model Railroad Club, will have layouts, and there will be around 50 dealers from around New England selling everything from vintage model train cars to books and magazines and scenery.

“If you don’t have happy dealers, you don’t have a good show, so you have to get people in who are going to buy stuff,” said Terry King, the club’s librarian.

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