On Saturday, the Southern Alberta Model Railway Club (S.A.M.R.C) held an open house, welcoming back members and the public after two years following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All the members have been really excited to get started again after not having an open house for a couple of years, so we’re really excited about the turnout,” said Simon Apperloo, S.A.M.R.C superintendent.
The club was formed in 1972 with a group of seven members. Since then, they have expanded twice, now seeing more than 25 members and adding scenic backdrops to the clubhouse layout this year.
Behind the Gyro Park clubhouse doors sit the incredibly detailed model train system.
“I guess you would say there’s a bit of magic to it,” said Apperloo.
Tony Lee is one of the four remaining founding members of the club. Growing up near the tracks and watching his dad work for the railroad, he’s always had a fascination for trains. He started model railroading at four years old using his father’s layout.
“I grew up with it; I had to become a model railroader whether I wanted to or not,” said Lee “I found that model railroading, even just a few minutes, would relieve the stress of the day completely.”
Lee said seeing the technology advance over the years has been one thing that has kept him coming back.
“The variety of equipment we can get today is so far superior to what we were able to get 50 or 60 years ago.”
Lee added the pounds of plaster used to create the layouts that have built up over the years show how much the club has grown.
“I’ve seen the progression of things as they’ve expanded and moved forward over the years, so it’s quite exciting,” said Lee.
Apperloo says with open houses up and running, they hope to continue going full steam ahead with their new builds.