The Quesnel Model Railway Club is still “desperately” looking for a new home, but it has been able to set up a Christmas train display downtown.
Club members spent the day Saturday (Nov. 23) setting up their Christmas display in City Furniture and Appliances Ltd. on Reid Street, where they will be sharing it with the public until the end of December.
“The whole club was very happy [City Furniture owner Jack Pannu] has given us this place,” said club member Tom Mower. “We’re very, very grateful.”
Mower happened to be walking by the store one day when he asked Pannu if he wanted a Christmas display of trains, and Pannu said that would be great.
Two trains — a Hogwart’s Express train and a Christmas-Decorated train on which Santa has hitched a ride — travel around the outside of a Station 56 ceramic Christmas village.
“Station 56 has been around for a long time, and people have been collecting them for years,” said Mower. “I’ve had them for a long time.”
The Station 56 ceramic display features a Christmas gondola, several cute buildings, a building with a moving train, a horse-drawn sleigh and many winter figurines.
“When we really get carried away, all these buildings get lit up with flashing lights,” Mower said with a wide smile.
The Quesnel Model Railway Club had been set up in the Maple Park Mall for 11 years and had done a Christmas display for many years. Club members volunteered to open their space to the public and show people their model railway layouts, explain how the trains work and show people how to work them.
“We set this Christmas display up every year in the corner of the mall, and people really enjoyed it,” said Mower.
“We were sad to see it shut down. The day we shut down was a real sad day up there.”
Donation boxes are set up around the display, and Mower says they are very grateful for any contributions.
“We are desperately, desperately looking for a place,” said Mower.
“We are a registered non-profit society, and we’ll be applying for grants because we’ve got some major rebuilding to do.”
Mower says they occupied about 1,200 square feet at Maple Park Mall, which would be perfect, and they do have a few leads on some possible places. He says they will keep working to find a new home.
“I’m not going to give up,” he said. “It’s too much of a passion with me, these trains. We have 11 club members, and we have a very informal, diversified club membership.”
Mower, who still has the Burlington train he got for his 10th birthday and will still run it on a track, loves showing the train display to children and people with disabilities and letting them blow the whistle. He says they often had school groups and groups from Dunrovin Park Lodge come visit their displays at the Maple Park Mall, and he always loved that too.
“That part of this hobby is very, very inspiring and heartwarming,” said Mower. “I really enjoy it.”
The Quesnel Model Railway Club was asked to vacate Maple Park Mall in early August, and members had to dismantle all their large layouts.
If anybody knows of any vacant spaces that could potentially be a new home for the Quesnel Model Railway Club, they can contact Tom Mower at 250-249-5605.