Sunday, October 30, 2011

Model train exhibit closes at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township

From the Press of Atlantic City: Model train exhibit closes at Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township
If You Go

The South Jersey Garden Railway Society will display its exhibit at the Ocean City Music Pier on 801 Boardwalk from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Shore Mall’s model train exhibit has reached its final stop.

The South Jersey Garden Railway Society and Atlantic Shore Model Railroad Clubs hosted a free model train display at the Shore Mall twice a week for the past six years, but it’s final day was Saturday. The organizations said more than 116,000 people visited the display, SJGRS member Wayne Richter said.

Click here for more information on the society

“We had a really good run,” he said. “We want to thank all the people for coming out.”

The mall allowed the groups to use a 6,000-square-foot space in the back rent free for the past six years, but the mall has a new tenant for the location, which meant the trains had to be moved, he said.

“We appreciate the mall letting us be here,” he said. “We understand this happens. There are no bad guys in this.”

The Egg Harbor Township resident said the display had 34 individual exhibits all featuring trains in “a different slice of Americana,” Richter said. One display featured the Atlantic City Boardwalk. Another one featured a bridge with “hobos” underneath, he said. Others used historic houses as a backdrop or just simple generic small towns, he said.

“Everyone loves trains in one shape or form,” he said. “It’s an important part of American life. It’s a good hobby.”

SJGRS member Anita Brown said the group’s members made a lot of friends with people who frequented the exhibits. The individual club members will store their displays at their homes until the organizations find a new location, she said.

“We’ll miss everyone,” the Absecon resident said.

The children said goodbye by making birthday cards for Thomas the Tank Engine, which were placed on the wall. One of the exhibit’s most popular stations was a Thomas train that the kids could operate on their own.

“The kids were so excited that we were here,” Richter said. “That’s part of why this is so sad.”

Upper Township resident Dave Neff came to the display with his son Luke, 9, and daughter Julia, 5. The kids got one last chance to learn how to operate the trains and take in the exhibit Saturday afternoon.

“It’s pretty cool, I like it,” Luke said. “I know how they work now.”

Dave Neff said he wasn’t aware of the display before Saturday but was sad to see it go.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “People need to show today’s youth about this important part of their history.”

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