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Monadnock Model Railroad Club grows for good cause

Sunday News Correspondent

November 12. 2017 12:46AM
The Monadnock Model Railroad Club's fifth annual show Saturday raised money for groups that serve children suffering from catastrophic diseases. (Meghan Pierce/Sunday News Correspondent)

PETERBOROUGH - The Monadnock Model Railroad Club raised money to combat children's catastrophic diseases during its fifth annual show Saturday.

"We wanted to do something other than to share our joy of the hobby; we wanted to help somebody," said show organizer and self-proclaimed "train nut" Andy Dunbar of Peterborough.

Money raised goes to groups serving children suffering from childhood diseases, he said.

The club first held the show five years ago at the Monadnock Center for History and Culture. When it outgrew the space, the club moved to a church hall in Peterborough.

Saturday, the show was held for the first time at the Peterborough Community Center to accommodate the growing model train displays and vendors in space that had been a drill hall when the building served as a National Guard Armory.

"We are here for the first year 'cause we needed a bigger space," Dunbar said.

Dunbar, 70, said he has seen a decline in model train collecting in the area since real train service to the Monadnock Region stopped.

Dunbar and others at the show said they would like to see train service return to the region.

Larry Kemp's model railroad included a miniature Peterborough Depot Square when it served as a train depot. His display came complete with downtown Peterborough, with features many children at the show could recognize like the Peterborough Diner.

"Everything's there from the 1950s," Dunbar said of Kemp's display.

Model train popularity goes up and down depending on railroading's visibility, Dunbar said. There was a surge a few years ago when the children's book "The Polar Express" was popular, Dunbar said.

Dunbar said he hopes to encourage interest in younger generations to keep the hobby going and was enthused by some of the young train enthusiasts at the show.

"I'm a train collector," said Ryan Steven Harrington, 5, of Bennington holding up his newly bought engine.

Ryan's stepfather, David Plumber of Bennington, said he shared train collecting with his father and he is encouraging Ryan's interest.

Randy Brown of Peterborough said that to see a train is to be fascinated by them.

"Have you ever not watched a train go by?" Brown asked. "Edna St. Vincent Millay said, 'There is no a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it goes.'"

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