Model trains on track to memory lane

Miniature figurines stand ready for a train operated by the Grand Valley Model Railroad Club at the Cross Orchards Living History Farm Sunday afternoon.

Model train enthuses and hobbyists survey an assortment of model trains running along a variety of miniature towns and landscapes operated by the Grand Valley Model Railroad Club at the Cross Orchards Living History Farm Sunday afternoon.

The 21st annual Christmas Train Show at Cross Orchards Living History Farm, 3073 F Road, takes observers back in time in more ways than one.

The track layout models the real-life path from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction to Denver and back, giving patrons a glimpse of 1937.

Running the small trains and continuing to decorate the set also lets members of the Grand Valley Model Railroad Club return to the joy of their childhoods.

As with many of the 32 model railroad club members, President Mickey Nuttall of Grand Junction said his love of model trains began as a young boy.

A few things have changed since those days, including the way model trains are run.

The set at Cross Orchards has digital command controls for each engine, which allow operators to control sounds and directions of a train from any outlet along the oval-shaped set. Controls are programmed into a computer and used by operators and a dispatcher.

The train set at Cross Orchards has been under construction for three years and includes a replica of Mount Garfield that took five months to make, a miniature Grand Junction and the canyons around Glenwood Springs.

Members use plaster, real dirt and rocks, and other supplies to create the scenery. The club meets each Tuesday night and one Saturday a month.

It’s open to new membership, and fresh arrivals need not have a model train set at home to join.

Club members do most of the investing in train pieces, but Nuttall said the hobby doesn’t have to be a major financial commitment.

“It can be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be,” he said.

The Christmas Train Show will operate from noon to 5 p.m. each Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. each Sunday through Jan. 3.

Admission is $4 for adults, $1 for children under 12 and $7 per family.


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