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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Never too old, or young, for model trains

Rappahannock River Railroaders (RRR) founder Lee Paul (with conductor’s cap) is at the controls as the elaborate layout in the RRR clubhouse in Deltaville thrills all ages at a recent open house.

by Larry Chowning

Most boys and some girls remember that special Christmas when Santa brought them their first Lionel train set. And, for some, those memories have lingered on long and hard, particularly with members of the Rappahannock River Railroaders (RRR) and the Model Shop group of the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum.

Donald Burnett and the RRR had a model train display at the Deltaville Maritime Museum Holly Point Art & Seafood Festival on October 15. He said his first train set led him to a career in the railroad business as a conductor on the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

“I got my first train set when I was a kid for Christmas,” said Burnett. “When I retired from the railroad business I guess you would say I went back to my youth. I didn’t want to give up trains so I went back to model trains and I joined the club.”

RRR was founded in 2006. The club is part of the Deltaville Community Association Inc. (DCA) and its clubhouse is in the old Redman’s Lodge on Ballpark Road in Deltaville. The building is owned by the DCA and rented by the club.

Volunteers and model train lovers at the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum re-created the village of Reedville and thrilled children and others by building the “train that never was” in the museum’s model. Photo courtesy of the Reedville Fisherman’s Museum

The group provides educational opportunities to the public in the areas of railroad operations, railroad crossing safety, model railroad operations, construction of model layouts, low-voltage electrical wiring for layouts, and model building and artistic skills required in building scenery.

“We serve as a source for Boy Scout counselors on model railroading,” said Lee Paul of Hardyville, founder of the club.

The club also has a mobile layout for displays at local events, which was the case at the Holly Point Festival in Deltaville.

At the club’s headquarters in Deltaville, members operate three train layouts, one in O gauge, one in HO gauge and one in G gauge. The public is welcome to view these layouts at the club’s open house on Saturday, December 3, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The group also will participate in Ashland Train Day held on November 5.

The Reedville Fisherman’s Museum on Main Street in the historic town of Reedville also has a group of dedicated volunteers who “proudly” operate the museum’s Model Shop. The group has built all varieties of model Chesapeake Bay watercraft, and also has built an elaborate setting of old Reedville and incorporated trains and train track throughout the model town.

The main layout is an HO scale presentation of the Northern Neck Railway, or as some call it, “The Railroad That Never Was.” This proposed railway was planned and designed, but failed in its attempts to raise enough funds to make it a reality.

The layout has trains that travel through detailed re-creations of the towns along what would have have been its route. The main feature is a wonderful recreation of the main street of Reedville, circa 1920s.

The Model Shop hosts an annual train show that starts the day after Thanksgiving and runs on weekends through the first of January. The museum is open 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 

Everyone is welcome to drop on by and relive those days when trains first started fascinated you! Children and grandchildren will love the opportunity to see this collection of trains on the move. Also, a scavenger hunt is held every day the museum is open. Inventive volunteers have put hidden additions into the layout that require a sharp eye to spot.

This year was the first to have the Model Club trains running during Easter vacation and it attracted a lot of visitors. The “Easter run” will become a new yearly event.

posted 10.28.2016

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