The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the European Train Enthusiasts has returned its working model trains exhibit to the museum, 1141 Adam St., for free public viewing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Mondays.
The exhibit is sponsored by the West Side Pioneer Association and the museum.
Ten modular units make up the model train layout, each measuring roughly 5 feet by 2.5 feet, along with four corners. A European backdrop and a plethora of details are designed to captivate the viewing audience.
“The thing I enjoy the most is watching the smiles on people’s faces,” said Terry Heywood, a member of the European Train Enthusiasts. “We can take the joy of trains to the public. It’s great.”
Landscapes of Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France are depicted in the exhibit. There is even a castle with vineyards and a tunnel underneath, through which the trains pass.
“The castle was created after a real one in Germany,” said Dieter Vorbach, who helped build one of the modules. “I was building the fence here and started to run out of green paint. I found this little painter and showed him painting the fence, so it’s OK now. This modular took close to a year to build.”
Grace Barnett, 5, saw the exhibit for the first time on opening day, Saturday, Aug. 31.
“I like all the animals around the trains,” Grace said. “I like everything!”
Visitors should keep their eyes open for the details. Within the display are country houses with LED lights and a pre-World War I Orient Express traveling through the countryside. A church with working bells signals an afternoon wedding ceremony. There are also many tricks of the eye to suggest depth, such as a painted shadow of people walking down a flight of stairs.
“My family has come to see this for the last couple years,” said Lindsay Wiesner, a Tracy resident. “I love it, and this is the most local showing of model trains.”
The trains run on different types of track power with varying controls.
“We run three-rail digital and analog, also two-rail DCC and analog,” said Steve Imialek, host of the Tracy venue for European Train Enthusiasts. “Trains can be controlled from the track or the catenary, which is powered at 16 volts.”
The exhibit closes Sept. 15.
For information: European Train Enthusiasts, www.ete.org.
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