We all know the dark dreary nights of winter are the best time to play scrabble, knit and catch up on your favorite TV shows (ehem... Seattle Refined, we're sure) but did you know its also prime model railroad season? Now you do!
I visited Russ Segner, a longtime model train enthusiast to see what this hobby is all about. His entire attic has been transformed into a miniature operating railroad. Complete with trees, rivers, tunnels, wooden trestles and switch yards. If you look hard enough, you might even spot a moose lurking in the forest.
"Layout is a mythical railroad built in the Northwest," said Segner. "It's primarily a lumber railroad, with some mines for ore and a number of other industries. These are based on real scenes, and so the structures looks like things we've seen in history books and things."
Segner says model railroading is a great way to learn about history and meet new people who also have a passion for trains and modeling. His favorite part of the hobby is making his layout as realistic as possible - including keeping a detailed schedule for his trains.
Locomotives pulling logs, ore and boxcars carrying who-knows-what need to make their way across the 45 scale miles of track to a specific place at a specific time.
Hopefully without any of them running into one another.
Dave Woodrell is a friend, and helps keep Segner's layout running on time.
"Its kind of like a big jigsaw puzzle" he says. "Do it in the right order as expeditiously as you can and if I don't get in done in time, I block other trains so - I'm pretty busy. It's a wonderful lifetime hobby I had an interest in it when I was a kid, and its been with me my whole life - an artistic outlet that's a bit unusual but a lot of fun."
If you'd like to learn more about Model Railroading, see some tiny locomotives in action, or perhaps buy a few trains for yourself, check out the United Northwest State Model Train Show at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. The show runs Feb 25th and 26th and proceeds benefit Snohomish County 4-H.