Model Railroaders at Sun City Hilton Head welcomed visitors of all ages to the group's shop during the holidays. The space has been refurbished, and more improvements are still to come.
"We tore everything out and are still in the process," said John Davis, operations director for the group.
Individuals own the locomotives, including one member who has a functioning steam engine, Davis said. The scene set by the Model Railroaders represents a fictitious location "somewhere between Pittsburgh and Asheville," Davis said. Billboards, an Esso gas station, a feed and seed store, a playhouse for live theatre performances and separate service areas for diesel and steam engines recreate a bygone era--in miniature. Passenger and cargo trains are represented.
"Most of us don't play golf or bang the tennis ball. We come in here to go back to our childhood," he said.
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Local artist Lois Mulholland is still working on the mural of mountains that provides a backdrop for the model trains.
For some members, the Model Railroaders are more than just a hobby.
"I wouldn't have come to Sun City if they didn't have a model railroad club," said Russell Smith, a new member who is converting his garage to house his trains.