Model railroad club holds open house

PARKERSBURG – With a break in the weather on Saturday, about 300 people came out to the annual Cabin Fever Breaker Open House sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Club.

Mark Suek, of Parkersburg and a club member, said this is the 15th year of the late winter show in the basement of NOE Office Equipment at 610 Green St. in Parkersburg., which included a few new model trains as part of the show.

“We have trains in HO, O, S, N and G scales as part of the permanent displays,” he said. “We have a few models for the first time; a tin plate standard gauge from the 1930s and an O gauge tin plate set.”

Suek said while the displays at the club are permanent, they make some changes and updates for the open houses held throughout the year.

“We make a few changes in the layouts to keep it interesting,” he said. “If you are a person who comes here every time, you don’t want to see the same old thing tim and time again – you want to see something new.”

Bill Ammann, president of the Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Club, said when members set up a train, they pick a (rail) road name for their trains.

“They’ll take the B&O, the Chessie System and make up a train that would be the same thing,” he said. “Some have other favorites names and base their collection on that name. It takes a lot of time and it looks good.”

Suek said the changes range from new buildings or characters to changes in the dioramas.

“We change them the best we can,” he said. “One thing is we will have a lot of people who have not been here before.”

One new display, Suek pointed out, was an O gauge setup with a hand-made wooden train trestle spanning a gorge.

“Each piece was individually glued together, so there are several thousand pieces of wood,” he said. “The two guys who built this showed a lot of craftsmanship with that.”

Suek said two things people like to see are the replicas of the old train stations and other buildings Parkersburg had at one time. One display features the Ann Street train station for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, The Blennerhassett Hotel and the American Viscose plant. Another features the doodle bug, a local passenger train that ran between Waterford, Stockport and Malta in Ohio to Parkersburg.

“We try to replicate local history as much as we can in some places,” he said.

Caroline Waller, of Marietta, had her son and daughter, Joe and Evan, at the show. She said model trains are something they enjoy.

“We’ve been here before and they love it,” she said. “Joe has a small train set and he’s obsessed. He loves trains and he’s taught Evan how to play with them.”

Joe said he liked the displays.

“I wish I had more than this,” he said.