James Rada, Jr.
It has been decades since Thurmont had a train station; however, this December trains will once again stop in the town.
Of course, each train is only a couple feet long.
The Frederick County Society of Model Railroad Engineers will host a weekend train garden throughout December. The group will use the empty storefront at 5B East Main Street in Thurmont. The trains will first arrive on December 1.
“The mayor contacted us because he wanted to have an extra event at Christmas in Thurmont that would engage the community,” said Dylan Owens, vice president of the Frederick County Society of Model Railroad Engineers and the member in charge of the Thurmont project.
The society began in 1966. It is housed in a 70-foot-long, six-door Chesapeake and Ohio horse car in Frederick. The car houses a 56-foot HO scale layout, showing off the imaginary Catoctin Central Railroad (CCRR) that crosses Frederick County and the Catoctin Mountains, where it connects with the HOn3 scale Catoctin Mountain Lines.
The Thurmont train garden will have three garden trains running along the floor, an N-scale layout on tables above, and Hagerstown and Frederick trolley running back and forth. The trains will weave between buildings, trees, parks, and other features.
“This is our first time doing a show outside of our clubhouse,” Owens said.
The train garden will be open throughout December: Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.; Sundays at 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Owens was unsure of just how large the final display would be. The society has a van that can be packed with track and trains.
“We were told to use however much we could legally fit and go for it,” explained Owens.
The garden will be free to visit, although donations will be accepted.
“If it’s a big hit, we will try to do it as a yearly thing,” said Owens.
The society sees the Thurmont project as a way to reach out to younger people and interest them in creating their own model railroad layouts.