JOHNSTOWN – Besides visiting with Santa Claus, the second most popular activity today at the Jackson Township Senior Center will be watching the model trains.
That’s because the senior center, located in Vinco, is hosting a Christmas party for the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of members.
The members of the senior center are particularily proud of its display of seven trains that rumble over seven layouts in one room at the building.
The railroad display is open year-round, with this time of year obviously being the busiest time of year due to the popularity of trains in the American culture at Christmastime.
Christmastime is also when Philip Boyer, chief engineer of the railroad display, gets to act like a young boy again while showing off the trains to the many visitors.
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The trains are extra popular during Christmastime and when there are special events such as the Christmas party, Boyer said.
“I let them blow the whistle,” he said about one of the most fascinating things for the youngsters to do.
“They like them (trains) a lot.
“They will come and stay for a long time and watch them.”
Boyer and others at the center built the massive train display in 1999 and have been making additions to it ever since.
Most of the trains and displays have been donated by residents.
Boyer, along with senior center members Dorothy Dreikorn, Stella Yesenosky and Frank Singel and the late Pete Bracken and late Bob Seaman, both of whom were senior center members, were instrumental in building the display. They also had help from others.
The display features one train called the Vinco Express ’99, the year the display was built; a lighted American flag; a mountain with homes and skiers; six tunnels; a Flight 93 Memorial; an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico; Old Bedford Village; a cattle farm; and a coal mine.
Boyer said he is working on a replica of the Inclined Plane in Johnstown to add to the