While members of the Delaware Seaside Railroad Club range in age from 30-something to 80-something, with a couple of junior members in their teens, longtime member Bill Ziegler puts it like this: “We’re all kids.”
This week, the club was finalizing preparations for its annual Indian Summer Train & Toy Show, set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Roxana Volunteer Fire Company’s fire hall on Route 20. Along with more than two dozen vendors offering train-related items for sale, the show features three train layouts for visitors to enjoy.
Ziegler said the Delmarva Seaside show is one of three major shows in Kent and Sussex counties and draws vendors from throughout Delaware and surrounding states.
One of the layouts on display will be the club’s traveling O-gauge display, which features three tracks on a 28-by-12-foot display. With a theme of “Rails Across America,” the display features 16 scenes from well-known places in the United States.
“You want to see King Kong on top of the Empire State Building?” Ziegler asked. “We’ve got it.” A trolley car in San Francisco and the Space Needle building in Seattle can also be seen on the layout, as well as many other cities, many with elaborate backdrop “dioramas.”
Another layout will delight Thomas the Train fans and features two remotes so that visitors can operate trains themselves. A third, Ziegler said, is a reproduction of a vintage store display for the train maker Marx, which got its inspiration from a 1958 Sears catalogue.
The club spends months preparing for its shows, which it holds twice a year, in the spring and the fall. But that’s not all the members do — not by a long stretch. The club has a “home” in the Clayton Crossing shopping center and has several permanent displays that are open to the public, free of charge, twice weekly, on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Around Christmastime, the club will have a display in the Georgetown Public Library, according to Ziegler. And throughout the year, the club teaches schoolchildren about trains, holds special sessions at their Clayton Crossing location for those with disabilities and works with area Boy Scout troops, Ziegler said.
“We are a very active club,” he said. With 69 members, the club offers opportunities for those who have a little time or a lot of time to spend on its activities.
“Our slogan is ‘All gauges, all fun,’” Ziegler said.
In addition to the train layouts and tables loaded with train goods for sale, the show on Saturday will include door prizes, and food and refreshments, including scrapple sandwiches for breakfast and chili for lunch.
Admission to the show costs $5 for adults; children younger than 10 are admitted free of charge.
For more information on the show or the club’s other activities, call Bill Ziegler at (302) 537-0964 or visit the club’s website at www.delawareseasiderailroadclub.com. The Roxana fire hall is located at 39453 Zion Church Road (Route 20), west of Fenwick Island.