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Family love of trains turns house into rail display


WHILE MANY families enjoy the holiday custom of a model train chugging around the family Christmas tree, Cynthia and Wayne Greenstreet of Harundale have taken the tradition to a different level: Their trains chug around the family home.

Since moving to their Fitzallen Avenue home four years ago, the Greenstreets have installed hundreds of feet of model train track outside their house, constructing a route that travels from their front to back yard.

Creating a train garden that neighbors and strangers enjoy has been a labor of love for a couple with strong ties to the railroad. Wayne Greenstreet is an engineer with Conrail, riding the Baltimore-Harrisburg route. His wife affectionately refers to him as a "rail fanny," traveling all over the state, taking photos of old and new trains. As a young man, he worked to help restore the Freedom Train on display in the B&O; Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

A train lover herself, Cynthia has fond memories of a childhood in Detroit where hopping on a train promised thrilling adventures. One of her great-grandfathers worked on the Santa Fe line.

Wayne "likes trains and I like trains," she explains.

This commitment of time and money is something they've passed on to their daughters, Amy, 18, and Shannon, 14. The girls don't quite have the passion for trains that Mom and Dad share, but the trains are still a family project.

When the girls were younger, the family made do with indoor tracks, but eventually the hobby worked its way outdoors. Authentic train signals dot the landscape where the "G" scale tracks are installed on stone beds just like the real thing. A train village is under construction, a project that will last at least through the summer. Although decorated for Christmas, the garden is permanent.

During the holidays, the display draws crowds that patiently wait for the trains to return to the front of the house from a trip to the hidden recesses of the back yard. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the trains in action only when Wayne is home to take control as the engineer.

"Sometimes the kids in the neighborhood will knock on the door to see when the trains will run. Pretty soon we'll have to put up a sign with the train schedule," said Cynthia.

Just like the real thing, Glen Burnie.

Raffle winners

On a smaller but no less grand scale, the winners in the Winter Wonderland train garden raffle were announced. The holiday train garden was raffled off by the congregation of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church with proceeds to benefit the North County Emergency Outreach Network.

Janet Seabolt of Glen Burnie was the grand prize winner of the 4-by-6-foot train garden. Second prize winner of a "G" gauge train set was William Stengler of Arbutus. Brooklyn Park resident Megan Rose won third prize of a "HO" gauge train set.

The fourth prize "N" gauge train set was won by Andy Wheeler of Columbia. Shirley Peterson of Baltimore won a $50 gift certificate to M.B. Klein hobby shop.

College-bound seniors at Glen Burnie High School will received help in completing both the Profile and FAFSA. forms at the annual Financial Aid Night, at 7 p.m. Monday.

Both forms are required for grant money and financial aid consideration. A representative from the school's guidance department will be on hand to assist parents and explore the options for financing higher education. Forms and information were distributed to all seniors prior to the winter break.

For information on the program, call the school office, 410-761-8950.

Support in loss

Rainbows, a 14-week support program for children who have experienced a loss through death or divorce, will begin 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Family Involvement Center, 330 Oak Manor Drive. Coordinated by Pat Toolan, the program helps both adults and students deal with grief.

Other programs on the center's agenda include:

"D.A.R.E. Parent Program," 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesdays starting Jan. 6 and continuing through Feb. 10 at Richard Henry Lee Elementary School.

To register, call 410-222-6429.

Pub Date: 12/30/98

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