Trains in Toyland Christmas display running on track

By Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer December 16, 2011 09:06 pm

 

Mattie Keffer looks at model building of Mattie’s Pancake House, which she founded and sold to the current owners Dale and Jackie Rettke, one of the newest sponsors of the display. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting

This year’s Trains in Toyland is bigger than any previous railroad display put together by the Stout Mountain Railway.

The model railroad display with a Christmas theme is inside the vacant storefront between Pharmacy Express and Shop Smart in the Brookings-Harbor Shopping Center in Harbor. There are more than a dozen trains on the tracks, with about eight running at any one time. 

“I had them all running at once, but they became too hard to keep track of,” said Tony Parrish, lead organizer of the display. “We had a few crashes.”

 

 In order to have all of the trains running at once, there would have to be two trains running on the same track. If one is traveling slightly faster than another, one train is bound to rear-end another. Eight trains is the most that can run without crashing, because  they are all running on separate rails.

All of the G-scale trains are steam locomotives pulling from three to 10 cars. One train runs around a Christmas tree, three run in a circle around a mountain and three more run along longer tracks. There is also a smaller-scale train running on its own track.

Just how many railroad cars are being pulled, or are sitting in the yard is unknown.

“I lost track,” Parrish said. 

Only two of the trains belong to Parrish. All of the rest are owned by model railroad buffs in the community.

In addition to the two-rail trains, the display includes a working model of the Seattle Monorail, an aerial tram with a second one in the works, and a working race car track.

The trains encompass a small city of buildings. Each building represents a sponsor. A few railroad cars also have sponsors. It is these sponsors that help pay for the operation of the display.

Admission is free. The display is open from 1 to 5 p.m. daily through Saturday, Dec. 24.