Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Couple sharing sprawling model train layout

From Newark Couple sharing sprawling model train layout
GRANVILLE -- Model train lovers -- all aboard!

On Sunday, like every year, Granville residents Jerry and Gail Klink will welcome the public to see their Runaway Railroad, a G scale outdoor layout at their home on Goose Lane, southwest of Granville.

Sunday's event is sponsored by the Columbus Garden Railway Society. The Runaway Railroad is one of about 15 on the organization's 2011 Open Garden Tour. The Klinks will have maps to the other locations on the tour.

The Klinks' layout covers about a quarter acre with 10 distinctly different settings in addition to villages and bridges. One of the latest additions is a Disney World exhibit complete with monorail. A Thomas the Tank Engine also has been added in another setting.

"The little kids, in particular, like Thomas," Jerry said.

There's also an 1860s town, a 1950s town, an Indian village, Deadwood with adjoining ghost town, German Village (Columbus style), Jeffersonville with a statue of Thomas Jefferson, Route 66, a village that looks remarkably like downtown Granville, "and, of course, the working carnival and zoo," Gail said.

The trains are equipped with tiny speakers that carry the sound of actual locomotive engines, controlled digitally, Jerry said.

The scenery includes several items the couple has picked up during trips abroad.

The layout is a labor of love for the train enthusiasts. Jerry, 73, a mostly retired mechanical engineer, admits he gets up by 6:30 a.m. and if it's a nice day he'll be out working on the layout by 7:30 a.m. -- and he'll spend the entire day on it if he can. Throughout the years he figures he's invested about $50,000 to $60,000 in the layout and too many hours to count.

Gail, a retired Spanish and English teacher from Newark High School, is only slightly less passionate than her husband.

"I'm not as excited about the rolling stock and the engines as he is," Gail conceded. "I'm more excited about the layout and the scenes."

The two established the Runaway Railroad in 2000 upon their return to Granville from Saudi Arabia, where Jerry did engineering work.

"It's hard to believe adults do this," Gail admitted.

She said the trains have actually strengthened their marriage.

"If my husband played golf, I would play golf," Gail said. "Why do I want to sit by myself? Actually, in the Columbus Garden Railway Society, it's almost all couples. It's very interesting. There's longevity in the marriages maybe because they do things together instead of going off separately."

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