Labor Of Love

The Del-Mar-Va Model Railroad Club Works Year-Round To Showcase Its Collection Of Trains With The Community

John Baldwin joked that he was “railroaded” into overseeing the committee tasked with putting on the Del-Mar-Va Model Railroad Club’s 34th Annual Holiday Open House in Delmar. It’s a yearlong project that was placed in his capable hands two months ago. But jokes aside, he’s serious about his task.

The 8,000 square feet of layouts spread across the second floor of St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is an awesome example of the passion Baldwin and more than 40 other club members have for model trains. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to share all these layouts with the community,” Baldwin said, “and to show off all the work that’s gone into them over 35 years the club has been there. When you look at all the love that has gone into all this, it’s astounding.”

Given all that space in the church, Baldwin estimates the club has the largest selection of layouts on the Eastern Shore. The more than half-dozen setups feature historical trains dating back to the 1940s and 1950s as they share the spotlight with more modern trains, including the always popular and historic Lionel train sets.

“We are very lucky to have that as a platform where we can build our toys and enjoy,” Baldwin said, no pun intended.

YOUTH IN TRAINING Jonathan Townsend, 9, of Delmar watches the trains go by during the first evening of the 34th Annual Open House of the Del-Mar-Va Model Railroad Club in Delmar. Open houses will also take place on the weekends of November 30-December 1, December 7-8, January 4-5 and January 11-12.

Baldwin anticipates hordes of train enthusiasts marveling over the constantly evolving layouts from the open house’s first day on November 30 through its final showing, January 12. “It’s really neat to see all the families come through with little kids going ‘ooh’ and ‘aah,’” he said, “and share the fun stories from some of the models.”

The committee heads into the club’s latest open house as it puts the finishing touches on an extremely intricate project. “There is a ton of wiring that comes with all these layouts. There are all the little details that have to make everything work perfectly,” Baldwin said. “We have all these different gauges and all these different sizes, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses. It’s a phenomenal way to show your love for model trains, year-round.”

DAZZLING DISPLAY Rory West, 7, of Laurel, DE, checks out the Dickens Christmas train display during the first evening of the 34th Annual Open House of the Del-Mar-Va Model Railroad Club.

Story by Victor Fernandes
Photos by Todd Dudek

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