Model Railroad Club
seeks members to expand its base
Museum a reality for local collectors
Helen E. McKinney
BUCKNER, Ky. (April 2008) Bob Widman has been collecting
trains since he was a kid. One reason he joined the Kentucky and Indiana
Model Railroad Club was to learn the different aspects of model railroading
and to expand his interest now that he has more time to devote to it.
by Helen McKinney
Widman stands with a
railroad model he constructed.
Joining a club is the best way to learn, said
Widman, 69. Members have different qualities that they bring to the
club; some create layout scenery, others install electrical hookup,
while others are adept at re-creating the gravel along railroad tracks
known as ballasting.
Club members recently shared their knowledge of trains with others through
an open house in mid-March at the former firehouse in Buckner. Trains
were up and chugging along their miniature tracks during this two-day
open house, where the Division 8 National Model Railroad Association
held their monthly meeting.
We want to promote the hobby through an open membership,
said Kentucky and Indiana Model Railroad Club president Gary Metcalf.
The club meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the
former firehouse at 3713 W. Hwy. 146 in Buckner.
Widman is not particular in favoring one model train over another. I
dont go with a favorite like some do, he said. He has collected
steam locomotives, diesel fueled engines, CSX and Norfolk Southern models
and Shays logging trains.
We have fun and there is a lot of camaraderie among members,
said Metcalf. Metcalf received his first Lionel O27 train when he was
4 years old. He now runs trains up to 80 cars in length.
The club began in 1993 and currently has 24 members between Louisville
and La Grange. Due to the dedication of its members, the club has won
several awards for their H.O. scale models and layout construction.
Members come from a wide range of different backgrounds, Metcalf said.
Some are United Parcel Service pilots, doctors, electricians and a few
have even worked for the railroad.
After completing his basic training in the U.S. Army, Widman became
a railroad engineer for a time, getting a first-hand feel for trains.
Upon retiring as an electrician he wanted something to do,
Widman is also chairman of the Ohio Valley Railroad Historical Foundation
Inc. The foundation meets monthly at the Little Blue House in La Grange,
and the all-volunteer board is working toward getting a railroad
museum in the La Grange area, said Widman.
Plans for a 1,000-square-foot museum include a train layout, an area
collection of memorabilia from the past and present, gift shop and library.
Our goal is to build a large building for tourism and to educate
the public on the past and future of railroading.
Also wanting to preserve the history of the areas railroads and
trains, the Kentucky and Indiana Model Railroad Club will continue to
meet at the former firehouse in Buckner until it is torn down for the
reconstruction of Hwy. 393.
When the state bought the building, Widman met with the Fire Board,
which agreed to let the foundation use the building. In turn, the foundation
invited the Kentucky and Indiana Model Railroad Club to use the building
until its demolition, with both groups contributing to the cost of utilities.
By then we hope to have a museum built, said Widman.
For the past six months, Widman has been working hard toward establishing
a location in La Grange for a railroad museum. We prefer La Grange
because trains run through it, he said.
Widman has spoken to councilwoman Lucy Ricketts and La Grange Mayor
Elsie Carter, both of whom have agreed to be on the museum board. Carter
said that such a museum would be important for the city of La
Grange because we are a railroad town.
The board is looking at several possible museum sites. We would
like to have it in the city, said Carter. It would be a
good addition and a tourist attraction. Possible funding sources
are currently being sought.
Members of The Kentucky and Indiana Model Railroad Club participate
in different events, work on layouts and run trains throughout the year.
For more information, call Gary Metcalf at (502)
239-0546 or visit: www.trainweb.org/knimrr.
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