Planes and Trains exhibit coming to aviation museum

Sun News correspondentNovember 20, 2013 


Ken Werner, right, explains how he built his display to visitors touring the ‡íPlanes and Trains‡ì Exhibit at the Museum of Aviation Saturday. The Middle Georgia Model Railroad Club set-up different scale displays within the Century of Flight Hangar.


A ship is commonly associated with the Thanksgiving holidays, but here in Middle Georgia it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Planes and Trains.

For the past six years, the Middle Georgia Model Railroad Club has hosted Planes and Trains -- a display of model railroads sponsored in part and held at the Museum of Aviation during the week of Thanksgiving.

Five different scales -- or sizes -- of model railroads will be featured on 850 feet of track that represented about 15 miles.

Among the highlights of the event are a small Z scale train layout that fits in a suitcase, a train modeled after the real life SAM Shortline that runs out of Cordele, a circus train display and of course, Thomas the Tank Engine.

“Thomas runs the whole time,” club member Ken Joyner said. “It is one of the most popular layouts we have.”

Joyner has been into trains his whole life.

“I was born in August and got a train that Christmas -- you know what that was about, it was a train for my dad and granddad,” he said.

For those new to the hobby of model railroading or unsure how to get started, Joyner said that the Planes and Trains will be staffed by club members every day who will be glad to answer questions.

The displays are constantly changing and being worked on by club members, so the background and layouts that you saw last year is not necessarily what you will see this year.

“Club members maintain sections and are always updating background and features,” Joyner said.

“All of the club members work together to work together to build the module layouts, it is a group effort,“ said Bryan Combs, president of the Middle Georgia Model Railroad Club. “We work together to do frame work and electrical and then individual members take ownership of the section – modules”

Based on the club members’ interests, the modules -- which are about 4 feet by 2 1/2 feet each -- differ. Combs said that each individual member puts their own design and vision into modules, including background such as coal mines and steel mills.

Combs said that modules also express the different “road names” that individual club members collect.

Road name refers to the organization that owns a particular piece of rolling stock such as Norfolk Southern or CSX. Club members have favorite lines which can be modern railroad companies or more historic like Central of Georgia or Southern.

Also included in the event are exhibits from Operation Life Saver, RAFB train history, SAMS Short Route, the Southern Railroad Museum and the Middle Georgia Ham Radio Club. According to Joyner, the ham radio club will be providing a listening location for local train communications.

The sixth annual Planes and Trains model railroad display will be held Nov. 23-Dec. 1 (except for Thanksgiving Day) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. On the weekend of Nov. 23-24, there will be vendors selling railroad related items. The exhibit is free.

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