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Bremerton model train club performs choo-choo rescue

Austin Dailey, 10, of Illahee demonstrates how he plans to spend the afternoon — fixing broken model train parts. He is one of the Bremerton Northern Model Railroad Club members on hand at the fix-it day. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Austin Dailey, 10, of Illahee demonstrates how he plans to spend the afternoon — fixing broken model train parts. He is one of the Bremerton Northern Model Railroad Club members on hand at the fix-it day.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

For the past 10-plus years the The Bremerton Northern Model Railroad Club has turned little engines that couldn’t into ones that could.

Each year the club members clean gunk from wheels, remove pet hair from parts and bring the shine back to the owner’s face.

“It’s fun to watch the little kid’s eyes get big when their train runs. It’s fun to watch dad’s eyes get big when their train runs,” said Bob Parker, the club’s vice president.

The service is free and members hope something that will spark a renewed interest in the hobby.

“There is no logical reason why you would get involved with model railroading,” said Bill Hupe, who serves as the club’s president. He became intrigued with the hobby at age 7 when he got his first train.

Model railroad enthusiasts say part of the allure comes from the amount of detail and authenticity the trains have.

Each model has moving parts identical to the actual trains.

“Not only are there people inside the dining car, there are eggs on the plate,” said Sharryll Dailey, whose son Austin is one of the junior club members.

The club has about 30 members and about 10 junior members.

The Bremerton Northern Model Railroad Club began with a group from the Port Orchard area, who met periodically in each other’s homes. In 1972, this group began holding organizational meetings at Millie’s Craft and Hobby, then located on Sheridan Road (the location known as Hal’s Corner to old-timers) in east Bremerton. According to a the club’s history the first officers were elected in early 1973. The club received its charter on February 15, 1973.

“Different people bring different things to the club, that’s what makes it work,” Hupe said.

Parker said he was looking for a hobby after he retired and it was too cold in the winter to work in the garage. He didn’t want to make a mess in the house either, so he tried building an electric car. That project didn’t keep his interest very long.

“I had a model train when I was a kid,” he said.

So he pursued it, which introduced him to the rich history trains have.

The club has no permanent home, but attends nine shows a year including one at the South Kitsap Mall March 14.

“I’ve learned so much, I can’t even name one thing,” Austin said.

People need not have a model train to join. Dues are $30 to start (first two months and initiation fee)

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