PARKERSBURG — An electric train that runs around the Christmas tree is one of many holiday traditions celebrated by families in the area.
The tradition will be celebrated at the Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Club’s annual Christmas Open House on December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the back basement of NOE Office Equipment at 610 Green St. The family-oriented event is open to the public with free admission and parking and is part of Downtown PKB’s Winterfest Celebration.
“A train going around the Christmas tree is one of those great, nostalgic traditions,” Club president Jonathan Insley, owner of Insley Plumbing in Marietta, said. “When you see the old Christmas movies, there’s almost always a train going around the tree.”
Club members will have miniature electric trains running on seven highly detailed HO, O, N and G scale layouts with Christmas decorations and music galore. There will be a raffle for a Polar Express train set and donations will be accepted to help cover the cost of running the trains.
The Model Railroad Club has one of the largest HO scale facilities in West Virginia and one of the finest O scale facilities with lots of modern technology. In addition, visitors will enjoy a premium G-Scale layout made from natural materials and a detailed N-Scale layout featuring recreated Parkersburg landmarks and the club’s newest O-Scale layout, which pays homage to West Virginia’s lumber and lumber industry .
December 3rd is also National Lionel Trains Day and Lionel locomotives and cars will run on both of the club’s O-Scale facilities.
The club opens its doors to the public four times a year, and the Christmas Open House is the busiest and most popular.
“The first weekend in December is the unofficial start of the Christmas season,” said Isley. “People know this is the Saturday to come down and see the trains, talk trains with our club members, share stories and just have fun. We have a lot of people of all ages passing through the club during Christmas Open House.”
Many model railroaders owe their entry into the hobby to a Christmas present as a child as a train set. Often these individuals become lifelong model railroaders and receive gifts of model railroad cars and accessories over the years. Other times, they stray from the hobby only to return in adulthood or retirement.
The Model Railroad Club facility will also be open to the public during a visit by the Belpre Industrial Parkersburg Railroad’s Santa Train on December 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A BIPR diesel locomotive, adorned with Christmas decorations and Christmas music, will be on hand for visitors on the Sixth and Green Street platforms near the intersection. This site was once home to a thriving Baltimore & Ohio Railroad station. The locomotive is expected to be in service from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m
The Mid-Ohio Valley Model Railroad Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1981 and has more than 60 people on its active roster. Membership is open to anyone interested in model railways. Visit the club’s website, movmrc.org, for more information.