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Garden-variety model trains chug into town

By PAT JENKINS

Editor

Clear the tracks. The model trains are here.

SeaTac Mall is a month-plus whistle stop for a holiday exhibit by the Tacoma Northwestern Model Railroad Club. And these are no ordinary scale-model choo-choo setups. TheyŽ’re the creation of garden railroaders.

Instead of running indoors on table tops, garden trains wind through open, outdoor gardens. Moved indoors for the mall display, which began last Friday and chugs until Jan. 1, the large-scale trains and trolleys ŽÐŽÐ five inches high and 25 inches long ŽÐŽÐ will bustle along hundreds of feet of track, past buildings and scenes, over rustic bridges and railroad trestles, past waterfalls and through tunnels.

The hobbyŽ’s enthusiasts say garden railroading introduces motion into a garden, while gardening adds grace, beauty and dimension to a model railroad. Ž“Many people who visit these exhibits are neither gardeners nor model railroaders. They are simply attracted by the magic,Ž” said Randy Kennie, president of the national Garden Trains Association.

The hobby began in Europe decades ago and only recently picked up steam in the U.S. Kennie said there are about 38,000 garden train practitioners and roughly 1,000 garden train clubs in North America.

Garden railroading is fun for the whole family, according to Kennie. It Ž“may just be the golden spike that connects every member of the family,Ž” he said.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and editor@fedwaymirror.com

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