TRURO - The membership of a local club is at risk of going off the rails after being evicted from its meeting place earlier this year.
© SHERRY MARTELL – TRURO DAILY NEWS
Howard MacLellan of Truro points out some of the many special features of a 1950s train layout that is a permanent fixture in his basement. He said the craft of model railroading is an important aspect to preserving Canadian history and enjoys sharing his passion for the hobby with others.
Howard MacLellan, spokesman for the Truro Model Railroaders Association, said the club was asked to vacate its location on the main level of the former Normal College in downtown Truro last May, after being told by officials the building was "condemned."
"It was a great place for us but you couldn't do much in the winter," said MacLellan. However, despite the lack of heat in the building, the club enjoyed participating in the annual Long John Festival held in downtown Truro, welcoming visitors to see its detailed train layouts and sharing the joy of the craft.
"We were given a choice to rent over at (former) Princess Margaret Rose (school)," he said. "Cost wise, it wasn't a bad deal but it just isn't feasible for us."
There are currently about 15 members in the non-profit group and MacLellan said with limited financial resources it has been difficult to find a suitable location for the club's activities.
The club was located at the Normal College for about four years, but has been based out of many places during its more than 30-year history, from public buildings and private homes, basements, garages and even storage units.
"This is going to be a supreme test for us, without having a clubhouse we need to find a solution or it's going to go down the tubes," said the spokesman.
Club member Rod Norrie has a passion for local history, which he brings to life in his many model railroad projects.
He said club meetings are great social occasions with people learning from each other, sharing a knowledge base learned through experience that may not be found elsewhere like books or online.
"It's a shared thing," said Norrie. "The more members you have you find some friends."
The club has attempted to meet once a month wherever it could find space but it's difficult to arrange.
MacLellan said it is also difficult for the club to give back to the community through its work without a permanent location.
While both model railroaders are uncertain what the solution is to their present homeless situation, neither are willing to give up the search for a place where they can have permanent layouts set up, space to train others in the craft and room to invite guests to see their work.
"The Town of Truro talks about introducing model railroading as a window into the community's history, meanwhile back at the ranch, we need a facility to introduce model railroading to the public," said MacLellan.
Despite the current challenge facing membership, it is preparing to host its second model train show of the year.
The first was held in Tatamagouche in June and on Saturday, it will host the 36th annual fall train show in Truro.
MacLellan said all vendor tables have been sold out and there will be several operating layouts, HO scales and smaller displays.
The show will be at the Nova Scotia Community College, Truro campus, 36 Arthur St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
He encourages everyone to attend the show to see the work of many talented individuals who are recreating Canada's history.
If you go:
Who: Truro Model Railroaders Association
Where: NSCC Truro Campus, 36 Arthur St.
When: Oct. 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What: 36th annual fall train show
Details: Admission is $5/adults, $3/student, $10/family, children under age six enter free if accompanied by a parent or supporter.