Thursday, March 8, 2012

Delaware: After fire, Delaware Seaside Railroad Club seeks help to get back on track

From Delmarva Now: After fire, Delaware Seaside Railroad Club seeks help to get back on track GEORGETOWN -- After losing its facility and merchandise in a fire last year, the Delaware Seaside Railroad Club is looking for a new place to continue its mission to preserve and promote the history and hobby of model railroading.

The May 7 fire that gutted the Georgetown Train Station was caused by an electrical malfunction and ruled accidental. It not only caused about $300,000 in damage to the building, in the 100 block of Layton Avenue in Georgetown, but also left the nonprofit -- which maintained an elaborate layout and housed collectibles on the second level -- without a home.

While the Georgetown Historic Association has started to rebuild, they've turned the second floor into meeting rooms, so the club won't be able to move back in, said member Bill Mixon.

The club lost more than $32,000 in equipment, but with items such as the Marx Store Display layout from 1958 destroyed in the fire, some items are irreplaceable, he said.

With the club only having liability insurance and the Georgetown Historic Association's insurance not covering the merchandise lost, the Delaware Seaside Railroad Club "lost everything," Mixon said.

"The most important thing that we lost is a (home)," he said, noting rare displays and members' dioramas were also destroyed.

While the club will host three fundraisers this year -- including the Indian Summer Toy and Train Show on Sept. 22 in Roxana, the Delaware Seaside Toy & Train Show on June 16 in Rehoboth Beach and a basket bingo in October -- donations, both monetary or collectible items, are still needed.

"We're looking for donations from people who have trains," said member Lee Horn. "We could resurrect them and refurbish them to get them out there for people to see."

The community has already donated some collectibles to the club, Mixon said, and the showing of support at last year's basket bingo was great; the group raised more than $5,000.

"We try to keep the old days alive," Horn said. "Otherwise, our history will be lost."

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