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Four County Society of Model Engineers emphasizes realism at TownMall holiday train display

Four-and-a-half miles of track guides a variety of trains around a depiction of local topography at this year’s train display at the TownMall of Westminster. The Four County Society of Model Engineers will exhibit the display free of charge across from Chick-fil-A Friday, Nov. 24 through Jan. 6.

“We’re trying to present a model that’s as realistic as possible,” said Midian Evans, the organization’s president. “It’s modeled after the area between Mount Airy and Hagerstown during the summer of 1954. The layout is highly detailed and we’ll run trains from that era until present day. If you’ve never seen it before, it will be a unique experience. You will be almost mesmerized by the scenery.”

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Evans said he researches the trains he models to make them as authentic as possible.

“To me, it’s artwork,” Evans said. “I find the cars and engines and model it according to prototype. I weather every car to make them look like they’ve been outside and they’re a couple of years old and that makes a big difference. The models I make are all unique because I’ve super detailed them and they’re the only ones like that in the world.”

Society member Stuart Braiterman agreed that the display is “a big work of art.”

“It’s very well done. We get a lot of compliments,” Braiterman said. “It’ s something generations can enjoy together. Kids love it. I have two grandkids who always want to play with my trains. They love the moving parts and watching the trains go through the villages. Many of the trains have bells and whistles and some have voices.

“Trains are kind of magical. Building a train display is like building a little perfect world and it’s so much fun.”

Bob Geldmacher, the Society’s vice president, recalls visiting fire stations during Christmastime to see trains running and that’s part of the reason he became interested in trains. He hopes visiting the display becomes a family tradition for other families.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday spirit and see some real model railroading,” Geldmacher said.

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