Model railroad club is on track in Waynecastle

John Irwin
John Chillas, vice president of the Waynesboro Model Railroad Club, points out some of the key features on one of the upstairs model train displays. Open houses will be held the first three weekends in January at the club’s headquarters in Waynecastle.

Ron Hoover of Waynesboro attended an impromptu meeting in 1994 at the then-Keystone Kountry Kitchen for enthusiasts interested in starting a model train club. Little did he know that it would become what it is today.

“There were about four guys that showed up and we just talked about it and decided to build a modular model train layout,” said Hoover.

As the group grew in members, so did their train display.

The display was taken all over the county, including to the Blue Ridge Summit Fire Hall and the Chambersburg Mall, during Christmas time.

“We would just hope and pray that the four people that owned the corner pieces would either show up or that their sections would be transported by someone who has a van or a pickup,” said Hoover.

After setting up the trains a few more times, the question arose of where to store the display permanently.

Club members spoke with GRC Construction in 1995 and came to an agreement to rent a building previously used as an old grain mill at 3291 Waynecastle Road between Shady Grove and Zullinger.

“It needed some renovations. There was a lot of building equipment that was stored there as well as an old freight elevator that needed to be removed,” said Hoover. “Everything needed to be studded out, insulated and then paneled or dry-walled.”

Every usable inch in the nearly 3,000-square-foot, two-story building now holds impressive and ever-changing model train displays. The multiple layouts consist of four different scales of trains, as well as detailed backdrops such as a ski resort, a baseball field and a dockside seafood restaurant.

“This is a wonderful place to bring the kids and adults from 1 to 101 to make memories,” said John Chillas, vice president of the Waynesboro Model Railroad Club. “We even have interactive child-height displays that they can push a button and activate a piece of the display.”

The club has also put together a scavenger hunt throughout the building to find individual characters or objects hidden in the train displays.

In order to share their love for model trains, club members host multiple open houses during the holiday season.

Open houses are scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays Dec. 30 and Jan. 6, 13 and 20 and Sundays Jan. 7, 14 and 21.

During the open houses, three new train sets will be raffled off.

“Come out and see what we have to offer. We will be glad to show you how to do this,” said Hoover. “We are always tinkering with something or changing things.”

For more information about the Waynesboro Model Train Club, visit www.waynesboromrrc.com.