This newspaper article by Brenda Blevins McCorkle with photos by Pam Hanson was originally published in The Daily News on May 26, 2005. I originally posted it on my website on June 1, 2005; I had very closely replicated the original layout of the article, but it didn’t translate into this new format.
THE DAILY NEWS
May 26, 2005
Model train fanatics celebrate 20 years of making tracks – Page B3
This view was taken by a club member from the Weyerhaeuser train during the club’s recent ride. Photos Courtesy of Pam Hanson
TIES that BIND
By Brenda Blevins McCorkle
THE DAILY NEWS
Members of the Longview Kelso and Rainier Model Railroad Club lined up recently to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary with a ride on the Weyerhaeuser train.
A 20th Anniversary is traditionally associated with delicate china or – for the more modern – platinum.
The members of the Longview Kelso & Rainier Model Railroad Club commemorated their recent milestone with another durable substance – cold, hard steel.
The group celebrated its 20th anniversary with a train ride to the Headquarters area and back. The trip was provided compliments of Weyerhaeuser Co. The club was founded in April 1985 by James Davis, Cliff West and Donald Stanton. The eight members meet at 7 p.m. Tuesdays as Riverside Community Church (the old elementary school) in Rainier. They fix up their meeting space and work on their railroad layout, which is less than three years old. The layout is a model railroad scene, complete with switching yard and other common elements.
“We had an original layout,” says West, one of the founding members of the group. “When we would move it from place to place, it was about a four-and-a-half or five-hour job to set up and a three hour job to take down. This isn’t supposed to be work, it’s supposed to be fun.”
The group sold that layout, then went on to work on their new one.
Their meeting area is in the former band room in Rainier’s old elementary school.
“We ended up with this room that had blackberries growing in it,” West said. “The lights didn’t work, and we had to cut a second door to get the layout in here.”
The room now houses the layout at its center and has storage space at the rear for members’ gear and work supplies. The church lets the group use the room and club pays the utilities.
But it’s not all work and no play. Club members take their railroad layout to local events, such as the Stella Remnants of the Past festival, and they also have a smaller layout for short events such as school carnivals.
Part of their fun included the recent adventure on the Weyerhaeuser train.
Club member Travis Martin of Kelso said he got some great aerial photos of his house, which sits near the former wooden and now steel train trestle at Cowlitz Gardens in Kelso.
“My wife and I went up,” he said. “It was interesting.”
The trip lasted about three hours, West said, and Weyerhaeuser did it for free to help the group celebrate.
“We really want to thank them and the woods railroad,” West said.
He said the group is hoping some new blood will join.
“We’re all getting king of old now,” he said, then added, chuckling, “We need some 20-year-olds in this outfit, to do some of the lifting.”
Club member Rob Painter, who has been an avid train enthusiast since he was a kid, said the best part of the group is just getting together and talking about their hobby.
“It’s nice being part of a club,” he said. “We talk trains. It’s just fun to get together and play.”
Anyone interested in joining the Longview Kelso & Rainier Model Railroad Club is invited to attend a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesdays at Riverside Community Church in Rainier. For details, call Cliff West at (503) 556-2407 or Rob Painter at 577-8319. Dues are $5 a month.