Christmas Trains display keeps traditions alive
December 10, 2015
A set of small train cars rolls along a tiny metallic track. A grand mountain vista looms in the background of a small cluster of homes and business buildings. The miniature trains whistle and rumble in an endless loop, circling, passing and returning once again. Outside the snow piles up and each passing moment brings us ever closer to Christmas.
The scene evokes memories of Christmases past; like some long forgotten heirloom suddenly brought into the light that reminds you of friends and family in a way you can't quite put your finger on. It imparts that most ethereal of feelings, nostalgia.
From now until just after the beginning of the New Year folks in the Granby area have a unique opportunity to enjoy a bit of classic Americana with Granby's annual Christmas Trains Display. The Christmas Trains Display is a large model train setup created by Dave Naples and other members of the Grand County Model Railroad Club. The Christmas Trains Display is produced every year by the Model Railroad Club for the Christmas season. Naples and other members of the Model Railroad Club, as well as non-club member volunteers like Gary Key and Chris Felts, spend countless hours organizing, building and setting up the display.
Each year the Christmas Trains Display is different. For 2015 Naples and the other volunteers have built a large mountain backdrop for the setup. The scene includes a mountain range, a mesa, three bridges, four tunnels and a separate trestle bridge along with a detailed river and waterfall. The Display will also feature an artistic interpretation of Grand County's famous Devil's Thumb.
Kiddos can even enjoy an opportunity to play with some of the equipment on display. Under supervision and oversight visitors can operate a magnetic crane, a log loader and a rocket launcher, all part of the overall model train setup.
The scenery for the Christmas Trains Display is made from a variety of materials but the mountains that feature prominently are created from a drywall shim framework that approximately 150 pounds of the gypsum product Hydrocal have been applied to and sculpted. Trifold paper towels were then applied to the exterior of the mountains for a textured look. The large mountain range within the display is hollow and features a spiraling track inside the mountains that kids can view through a Plexiglas window.
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In 2014 the Christmas Trains Display about 1,800 visitors view the setup. Display organizers hope to see large numbers of visitors again this year. If you are interested in viewing the Christmas Trains Display you can find the setup in the Module building adjacent to the Middle Park High School Soccer Dome on West Diamond Avenue in Granby. The Display opened for public viewing on Dec. 4 and will remain open through Jan. 3. Hours of operation vary day by day.