Station 187 Model Rail Road Club

Published 9:47 am Thursday, June 9, 2011

Amelia Predmore watches as a miniature locomotive passes through a town scene. Station 187 members set up the display during the recent Landrum Home and Garden Stroll event. The Station 187 Model Rail Road Club was formed recently by a group of model railroad fans in the Landrum area. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Childhood fascination lives on for model train group members
Young Walt Predmore starred eyes wide at each minute piece of a modular train as it chugged along right at his eye level Saturday, May 28.
He scurried around the elevated track following the train as it navigated by trees, past other locomotives, through a mountain tunnel and by a miniature downtown area.
“I’m following the train,” Walt yelled to his sister, Amelia. “Look, I’m following the train.”
Predmore, the grandson of Ann and Richard Predmore of Campobello, was visiting the Landrum Depot with his family during the Landrum Home and Garden Stroll. Inside the Depot, about a dozen men from the newly formed Station 187 Model Rail Road Club gathered to share their love of model trains with the community.
“That’s the kind of reaction we’ve seen all day and it’s what we hope to continue seeing,” said club organizer Roland Stadelmann. “The aim is for something like this to be a serious attraction, something that brings people to a city.”
Station 187 shaped rather quickly.
“The idea was put on paper six weeks ago,” Stadelmann said. “Hammer and nails were put together beginning about four weeks ago.”
The group connected with Melanie Jennings with the Landrum Business Association and put together a plan to display not even a tenth of their personal collections; members possess more than 500 locomotives combined.
This gang met up for the first time at the Landrum Library more than a month ago just to talk model trains.
“It was like, ‘Wow, where has this been?’” member Olaf Berg said.
Fellow member Clem Cornay of Lake Lanier felt the same way.
“Talk about moths to a flame,” Cornay said. “It was great to be around other men who had the same love for trains as I did.”
Group leader Stadelmann and his longtime friend Markus Weller both grew up in Europe – Stadelmann in Switzerland and Weller in Germany – and have been forever fascinated by trains.
“In Europe trains are a lot more prevalent,” Stadelmann said. “People are so used to seeing them everywhere. It becomes an icon of childhood.”
But it’s not just Europeans who find themselves drawn to the brute power of these historic modes of transportation. Club members hail from Louisiana, New York, England and Michigan.
“There is an allure of things related to trains,” said Cornay. “In my case, I had ancestors throughout our family history that were railroad men.”
Members also derive from a variety of backgrounds.
Group member Pieter Terwilleger left his job at one point to work as a train conductor.
“I have always had a love of trains, so I decided to abandon the corporate world to follow my heart’s desire. I did that for two years,” Terwilleger said.
Now, he continues that passion on a smaller scale through model trains.
Others, like Weller, who serves as the tech guy for Station 187, work in vehicle manufacturing, are retired engineers or even woodworkers.
Stadelmann said eventually Station 187 intends to host monthly clinics to teach beginner train collectors more about the hobby. He said members want others to see what they find so fascinating about piecing the models and scenery together and discovering new technology to use with the sets.
The group feels they caught the attention of at least a dozen more people interested in the hobby through their set-up during the Landrum Home and Garden Stroll and they hope to continue growing. The group’s loftiest goal, as of now, is to set up shop in a permanent location; they’d love to see that location end up in a place like the Landrum Depot.
Station 187 members plan to host their next meeting Thursday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Landrum Public Library. For more information, call Roland Stadelmann at 864-457-2426.

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