Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Roscommon Model Train Club

There is just something about a train.

Whether it’s the nostalgia of travel way back when, or that treasured toy that circled your Christmas tree every year — people gravitate toward them.

And if you’re one of those who loves a locomotive, Corey Adkins shows you the perfect place to visit in this week’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.

"It’s a lot of fun, that’s all I can tell you, a lot of fun," said club member Joel Hodgson.

Grown men and their trains.

"I’ve been a train guy all my life," said Fred Gandolfi.

Started as a love in childhood.

"I still have mine that I got as a kid in 1952," said Joel.

Nurtured for decades — it becomes a passion.

This is the Roscommon Model Train Club.

"We play together, and of course there’s something about model train people is you get something and you think ‘OK I’m done, time to take it down and start building something new’," said club member Ken Bendick.

Started in 2008, these guys didn’t have any land or even a building.

Because of a great partnership with the village, this is where they are today.

You certainly won’t run out of things to look at here.

"The garden railway that’s depicting the logging era in this area in the early 1900’s, we have a sawmill and of course forest areas that the were cutting at the time," said Fred.

There’s a seasonal set, with the polar express, Harry Potter and an amazing carnival.

"The young kids really enjoy it and they have a lot of fun watching it, but I think the adults really appreciate the work that goes into the layouts to where they are today," said Fred.

There’s even a surprise in the bathroom.

"We decided to run the train tracks for the H.O. through the lavatory, it gets a lot of chuckles and people like it," explained Fred.

Every Saturday a special treat — kids can hitch a ride on this lovingly restored model donated by members of the community.

"They said their grandkids used to ride on it and I went over there and it was buried in mud up to the axles, so I called up Joel, went over there and dug it up, three years later we finally had it all repaired," said Fred.

Over the years the group has tripled or quadrupled in membership, but they leave the door open to everyone.

"We’re always looking for new members, we’re a club that look for people of all different interest, it doesn’t even matter if you run trains, we could use electricians, carpenters, whatever, if you have an interest, even plants for the garden railway would be great," said Fred.

Because this club comes with a return, in the reactions from all the visitors that get to see what they do.

"I think we get very tickled when we see a child look at a layout and get that big smile on their face, I think it’s, we as adults, it’s childhood memory remember and again being able to play with something we played with as a child, it’s a smile hobby," said Ken.         

Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus