The Enchantment of “Trains for All Ages” By Bev Filer

Christmas is a time for recalling old memories and creating new ones! You may remember, as I do, the model train winding ‘round your family Christmas tree! Perhaps there was a little train village surrounding it. Model Trains are still a popular gift, especially for little boys at Christmas! However, model trains also remain a special delight for those grown-up boys…All Year Long!  I’m sure you have heard the saying:    “The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys!”                  Of Course, girls are also fascinated by model trains and must be included in this ongoing fascination! Children are especially intrigued by the hands on aspect of the interactive models! Who wouldn’t love to press a button and watch the movement complete with lights, whistles… even smoke?

I have recently met, living right here at Brunswick Plantation, three of these boys who grew up to maintain this interest and develop a passion for model trains!  Many of you may know these BP neighbors… Don Woodwell, Bob McLaughlin, and Eric Lindquist…who have actually made history in the world of model trains through the club they helped establish. These are the three train enthusiasts that I have met, though there are even more locally who share this interest.

Members of the Intracoastal Model RR Club share a passion for model trains of all types, including the most primitive replicas of the “Iron Horse”!  The purpose of the Model Railroad Club, established in 2005, is to promote, collect, operate, and maintain trains and model railroads, and to educate the public about the hobby and railroading in general.

I learned about this club after seeing their flyer about the “Christmas Train Show” sponsored by the Grissettown Longwood Fire & Rescue,  taking place at Longwood Rd., Ocean Isle Beach, NC …

Dec. 7th… 6 -9 pm AND Dec. 8th and 9th … 10am – 4pm

Featuring Model train Gauges G, O, HO, N, and Z …Including *train vendors *Baked Goods * Santa Claus * Train Layouts *Train Raffles                                             FREE Admission/Donations Welcome

I also learned that the three members of Intracoastal Model RRR Club, mentioned earlier in this blog, will have private collections on display at this Train Show. This prompted me to get in touch with these members for more information. I was most impressed with what I learned about their club and all of the community outreach that they do together and with other members.

The active club members who live at Brunswick Plantation that I contacted :

*Don Woodwell, the club administrator, who along with building his impressive train collection builds his own landscaping surrounding his trains.

*Note* Check out Mr. Woodwell’s book…Automating Your Model Train Layout, A Hobbyist’s Guide to Commercial Electronic Modules Written by Don Woodwell with contributions from Chip Miller & Mike Reagan

* Bob McLaughlin, along with managing the club’s assets, is involved in train repair among other train talents…The “Go To” Guy!

* Eric Lindquist, along with other club responsibilities, has particular expertise in refurbishing older train models. He also has a big interactive train layout that children can operate easily.

They have personal interest in advancing the hobby mechanically, artistically, with emphasis on the electricity involved, as well as creating appropriate scenery.

The club statement reads:  In order to educate the public, we conduct train shows at key venues in Brunswick and Columbus counties.  We set up as many as eight model train layouts/exhibits at these shows representing various model train scales and track gauges.

The Club emphasizes the various aspects of model railroading, and shares its modeling skills among members and the public.  The Club is a subsidiary of the Brunswick Plantation Service Club, a 501c (3) corporation.

**The Intracoastal Model RR Club also received Honorable Mention for the Blue Comet Award for, among their accomplishments….

* 2005 Merit Badge training for Boy Scouts *Annual fundraiser for town firehouse *Huge Southport Spring festival*Regular Gig at Elementary School * 

A Preview of some scheduled events:

Dec. 7 -9 Christmas Show at Firehouse (More info above)  Check out this video by atmc to learn more.     OR checkout this interview with Don Woodwell by ATMC from 2009 about his organization 

Jan. 17 Annual Club meeting

March 16/17 Southport Spring Festival

May Toy Fair   Cape Fear Jetport

July 6/7 Brunswick Plantation at Brunswick House

Sept. 28 BEMC   BCC

MB Train Meet    Lakewood Resort

Dec. 2013 Christmas Show Firehouse

*Note: Trains exhibited and run by the Intracoastal Model Railroad Club include cast-iron wind-up toys made by Ives, Hafner, and American Flyer electric standard and O-gauge trains made by Lionel, American Flyer and Marx.

Some Train Facts I learned from talking with our own Brunswick Plantation Model train experts:

*The reason that the standard for the width of train tracks is 4 feet 8 ½ inches is that, during the Roman Empire, it was the width of the distance of the two horses that drove the chariot.  They could tell this by the measuring the ruts in the streets left by the wheels of the chariot.

*G gauge is the largest gauge for the biggest trains.

*Z gauge is the smallest gauge for trains small enough to fit into an attaché case.

*Toy trains, prior to World War II, were manufactured by a small number of companies.  The first of these was the Marklin Company, a German firm, which began building as early as 1856.

*The Ives Company was the dominant American producer of toy trains run by wind-up motors (clockwork). Established in 1868, they were famous for their catchy slogan, “Ives toys make happy boys”.

*Joshua Lionel Cohen invented the first electric rail car, and was the genius behind the rise of the Lionel trains which eventually became the standard of the toy train industry, particularly in the pre-war years. Lionel began business in 1900 and used electric motors from the start. After World War II, model trains became more detailed and functional.

*Train Shows provide a great way to spend a few entertaining hours for young and old alike and to promote model trains to interest new folks as well as those already involved.

 *Train Meets are for those and interested in purchasing parts, etc.  Often a balanced combination shows and meets is the best option for all!

For more info or questions about the IMRRC or the trains: Contact Don Woodwell at Or 910 287 6866

The IMRRC now has 38 members with 23 active members…New members are always Welcome!

A Big Thanks to the BP members in this article for sharing their time and expertise for this Blog!

Does this inspire you to attend the Christmas Train Show at the Grissettown Longwood Fire & Rescue this weekend?

Please comment and let me know how you enjoyed it!

God Bless you, One and All!

Did you enjoy this article?
Get Free Updates

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

This entry was posted in The Great People of Brunswick and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply