The Clarksburg Area Model Railroad Club is seeking members to be a part of one of the most popular hobbies in the country.
Members of the multi-gauge club say the purpose of the club is to offer instruction and historically accurate information regarding state railroads to the public, while at the same time increasing their knowledge of model trains of all gauges.
Club members add that there's also an awful lot of fun and socializing involved as well.
The Clarksburg Area Model Railroad Club currently has 35 members, with meetings held on the third Thursday of each month at the clubhouse. The clubhouse is located on the corner of Fourth and Main streets in downtown Clarksburg.
The club offers something for everyone interested in — or wanting to learn more about — model railroading. There are members of the club who specialize in both modern-era and steam-era engines who can offer assistance to those who need it.
In addition, enthusiasts of all the differing gauges of model train, from G to Z, are welcome and encouraged to visit or join the club.
The goal of the non-profit organization is to preserve historical information of railroading in the Clarksburg area and to teach the fundamentals of building model railroads to interested members of the public.
The clubhouse boasts several enormous dioramas, replete with numerous features and landmarks familiar to any West Virginia resident. Among the features that can be found in the detailed scenery are coal plants, gas stations, hills covered with trees – and even a moonshine still.
Several running model trains and portable modular layouts in a variety of gauges can be found in the clubhouse. HO and O gauges are used in layouts as well. In addition, Bridgeport resident Mike Fresa donated an N-scale replica of the old, local Cook coal mine.
Many city residents who haven't seen an model train layout since their youth might be surprised at the changes that have taken place with the hobby. Model-train engines are now controlled by remotes, not unlike the ones used for televisions. Perhaps one of the biggest differences today is the cost of a model-train engine – it averages around $500.
The Clarksburg Area Model Railroad Club will be giving away a hand-made WVU quilt as part of its current fund-raising efforts. Those interested in receiving a chance to receive the quilt may contact the club.
The club will be opening the doors of its clubhouse to the public during the West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival. Anyone attending the festival is encouraged to take a few moments to visit the clubhouse between 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 30-31, and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Club members said they had good turnout from local residents during a recent Jazz Stroll event held in the city. They are hoping that the Italian Heritage Festival will bring with it additional interested individuals as well.
According to club member Reed Judy, they plan to continue in their efforts to make the clubhouse a place of interest for local and area residents. He said that the long-term plans for the club include the obtaining of additional railroad memorabilia, such as photos and actual equipment.
Anyone interested in becoming a member of TheClarksburg Area Model Railroad Club or for further information, may call Steve Newbanks at 304-745-5828 or David Hall at 304-622-3877.