What is billed as the largest non-permanent, seasonal train display in the United States is slated to open for the holidays on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the lower level of the Elizabethtown Public Library, 10 S. Market St.
A tradition stretching back to the 1990s, the Library has served as the location for the annual display since 2002. A local volunteer model railroad club dubbed The Train Guys coordinates the display, setting it up and running the trains throughout December. They ask for a donation as an entry fee, and proceeds are donated to the Library.
“We always say that we make dreams come true here at Elizabethtown Public Library,” said Deb Drury, executive director. “When it comes to trains in December, thousands of people from the community and far beyond must see their dreams come to life when they come to see this incredible, interactive display.” One of the unique features of the display is its interactivity. Upwards of 50 buttons are wired so visitors can press them to operate some of the trains and various accessories.
The display will be open from 6 to 8 p.m. on Mondays (closed on Christmas Day) and Wednesdays through December. On Saturdays, Dec. 1, 8 and 15, it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Saturdays, Dec. 22 and 29, the display will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“For people who love trains, Elizabethtown should be a destination one of those Saturdays,” said Craig Coble, one of The Train Guys who oversees the layout. “Thisdisplay gets families in the holiday spirit.”
In addition to the regular hours, The Train Guys are available for private viewing parties at other times. Contact Coble at 717-201-3927 for more information. They also offer a limited edition model freight car each year featuring a local business. This year, Groff ’s Meats is featured on a Tuscan red car that has Pennsylvania Railroad markings.
In 2017, The Train Guys teamed up with the Masonic Village Model Railroad Club, which has a large display at the Masonic Village campus (although not as interactive as the one at the library, it features seven different gauges of model trains). A shuttle will run between the library and Masonic Village every 30 minutes on Dec. 1, 8 and 15, so visitors can plan to check out each display.