Kids go 'crazy' for trains at Museum of Aviation exhibit

chwright@macon.comNovember 30, 2013 

WARNER ROBINS -- Three-year-old Wyatt Doubleday likes planes, but trains are his favorite. Why does he like those trains more than planes?

“ ’Cause I do,” he said simply Saturday, quickly turning back to the miniature train circling a track at the Museum of Aviation’s Planes and Trains exhibit.

For the fifth year, the Middle Georgia Railroad Club showcased their hobby at the museum and aimed to draw a bigger audience this year than any year before. Their record was 5,000.

“We’re on track to beat that,” said Bryan Combs, president of the club. No pun intended.

Combs said the club first exhibited their train modules in 2007 for Christmas. The following year, the museum agreed to make it a full-on exhibit the week of Thanksgiving.

“We want to be able to show off the hobby of model railroading to the general public,” Combs said.

The exhibit, in the Century of Flight building, features several sizes of electric model trains. One is set in a snowy town. Another showcases somewhat large toy trains moving quickly. The one Wyatt couldn’t be torn away from displayed trains barely an inch tall, that circled a mountainside and disappeared in and out of a tunnel.

Lisa Doubleday, Wyatt’s mother, said the two went to the exhibit last year when Wyatt was 2 years old because “he’s crazy about trains.”

“It’s more entertaining (this year) for me, because he’s more into it being older,” Lisa Doubleday said. “He’s been running from one to another to another.”

Not five minutes later, Wyatt ran to once again gaze at the largest layout at the exhibit.

Combs explained the club has worked on what’s known as an HO-scale model for 10 years. The scale name means it’s one-87th of real-life trains. It has two coal mines, a steel mill, a brewery and three lanes with several train sets electronically running on more than 600 feet of track.

“This is where we run the 100-plus car coal train,” Combs said.

Each train has a computer chip that receives orders from its operator’s computer and all those feed into the master computer. A dispatcher, one of the club members, runs the master computer and watches for any hiccups on security cameras set up around the layout. To avoid derailments and collisions, the dispatcher tells his friends when their trains need to be slowed down.

“There’s a break,” called out one club member Saturday. Combs had stepped away from his post for an interview, and quickly instructed his men on whose train needed to slow and who needed to reset their train.

Jerry and Laura Foskey, of Cochran, drove to Warner Robins Saturday to take son Beau, 3, to the exhibit.

“He loves trains and airplanes,” Jerry Foskey said.

“There’s no cure for him,” called one of the train operators.

On cue, Beau pleaded to see more.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service