Years in the making, a miniature world is housed in the basement of Great Bend’s First United Methodist Church. That’s where the Golden Belt Model Railroad Association meets and stores a display all of the members have worked on, vice president Rich Fox said.
“We spent two and a half years putting this together, so far,” Fox said Saturday, as the club held a swap meet for model railroad enthusiasts.
President Mark Orth said the church has given the club a room so it doesn’t have to dismantle the railroad after every meeting. But they do move the display on occasion. “We’re going to Ellinwood for June Jaunt.”
More than a dozen model train lovers from Barton and Pawnee County keep the railroad running. They meet at 7:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month at the church.
While most members had model trains as children, the aficionados are adults. Fox, for example, has about 60 sets of trains in various sizes. One is a 1925 American Flyer, Standard Gauge passenger train that bears the signs of decades of play.
“My mother got it when she was 6 years old,” he said. Fox, and his two brothers and two sisters, would play with it when they were kids. Several years ago he acquired the train, but it was little more than a bar decoration until he got involved with the Golden Belt Model Railroad Association. Since then, he’s gotten the 90-year-old train up and running again