On track for fun

2012-11-21T10:00:00Z On track for funBy Raju Woodward, Corvallis Gazette-Times Albany Democrat Herald
November 21, 2012 10:00 am  • 

Model railroad running smoothly on new layout in Adair Village

ADAIR VILLAGE — Model trains are humming and whistling along the tracks in Adair Village once again.

Eleven months after members of the Corvallis Society of Model Engineers demolished their popular model layout, a new one is up and running at the club’s headquarters at 7155 Vandenburg Ave. in Adair Village.

The previous layout — which dated to 1971 and drew thousands of visitors a year — was torn down in January to make way for an updated one that was more user-friendly.

The Corvallis Society of Model Engineers is an HO scale model railroad club. The HO scale originally got its name from a German phrase and refers to a train that is one-87th the size of its real-life counterpart. The HO scale is the most popular scale of model railroading in the United States. The local club has about 36 members.

The new layout is functional just in time for the club’s annual open house event, scheduled for the next two weekends.

“The focus of this track is the rail line from Toledo to Albany,” said Corvallis Society of Model Engineers member Jerry Boudreaux. “The previous one featured a European-town look.”

The rail line also features model views of Corvallis and Philomath, as well as smaller communities such as Blodgett and Nashville. Plans call for distinctive landmarks or buildings at each stop. For example, Corvallis features the Bailey Branch, a short line railroad south of town.

Features of the new layout include:

• More track. The new track layout is 406 feet; the old layout had 385 feet.

• Up-to-date technology: Club members said this will allow more trains to be run at the same time and decrease the number of trains that derail.

• An open layout: Trains will be more visible and not hidden by walls or tunnels. It will be easier for club members and visitors to walk alongside the trains.

Improvements also were made to the building that houses the layout, such as an updated electrical system, new lighting, an interior paint job and new insulation and sheet rock.

Longtime Corvallis Society of Model Engineers member Gene Neville said he’s excited about the technology upgrades. He has been a member of the club since the 1970s.

“The old layout was a maintenance nightmare,” Neville said. “Every thing was ancient. You spent a lot of time fixing things.”

Plenty of work remains on the new layout. Club members have spent about 3,500 hours working on the project. Most of their remaining work will involve the layout scenery.

“We are hoping to finish it another year,” Boudreaux said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we put in about 20,000 hours. It’s a lot of work to build some of this stuff.”

One of the new additions to the layout that’s already done is a drive-in theater. It’s one of the first things that greets people who visit the club’s headquarters.

Corvallis Society of Model Engineers member Lyle Fries set up a small DVD player screen to look like a drive-in screen and then surrounded it with a parking lot and cars. Fittingly, the DVD player will be playing scenes from the original “3:10 to Yuma” film, which features an old Western railroad trip.

As for the cow getting abducted by an unidentified flying object — a wildly popular feature of the old layout — Boudreaux said that one is a likely keeper.

“I’m guessing that it will be back by popular demand,” he said. “I don’t know where it would go yet, but I bet that’s the first thing people will ask about. People love that cow.”

Raju Woodward can be contacted at 541-758-9525 or raju.woodward@lee.net.

Raju Woodward is the K-12 education reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or raju.woodward@lee.net

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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