The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

What's Happening

December 16, 2009

All aboard | Model train enthusiasts assemble 'Christmas Town' at retirement home

By TOM LAVIS

TLAVIS@TRIBDEM.COM

The smile on 89-year-old Bill Werner’s face spoke volumes.

The resident of Arbutus Park Retirement Community was wheeled into the community room to view an expansive model train display that has been assembled for the holiday season.

Werner, a former Ferndale resident, eagerly examined every detail of the display.

“I always had a train set up under my Christmas tree and my two daughters would squeal and scream with delight when I would run the train,” said Werner, who has been a resident at Arbutus for less than a year.

“I think this is outstanding and can’t imagine the amount of work it took to set this up.”

The display is the work of model train enthusiasts Ron Reinbold of Salix and Win Garland of the Moxham section of Johnstown.

The men worked about 40 hours each to assemble the “Christmas Town” exhibit at the manor, 207 Ottawa St., Richland Township.

The G-guage, or large scale display, features two trains meandering through different villages built on a temporary 12-by-24 platform.

“We used nine, 4-by-8 sheets of plywood and started from there,” said Garland.

“The real fun for us is setting things up, laying out the display and creating the landscape.”

All the buildings, trains and scenery in “Christmas Town” belong to Reinbold.

The retired associate professor of German at Pitt-Johnstown used 47 oversized buildings to form two distinct villages.

The pieces come from an expansive outdoor display on Reinbold’s property that is operational year round.

On one half of the table, an authentic European Alpine village is depicted, complete with a large chalet and townspeople going about their daily chores.

Adjacent to the mountain town is a typical American community dating back to the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.

A sign on the theater is advertising “Gone With the Wind” as its featured film.

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