By Brian M. Howle
One of those incalculable figures – that can never truly be assessed – is the number of little boys and girls who made out their Christmas lists, and who put a toy train at the top. For post-WWII boomers, the hallowed names of Lionel, American Flyer, Atlas and Bachmann bring back memories of those simpler days and times. And if you’ve missed the hobby, and wished you could relive that glorious feeling, your chance to do so has finally arrived!
The Grand Strand Model Railroad Club will bring the tradition-steeped hobby to the public, as they have announced their 1st Annual Model Railroad Show and Sale. The event will be held on October 16 and 17 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Lakewood Conference Center, 5873 S. Kings Highway (on the frontage road) beside Lakewood Campground, Myrtle Beach, SC.
The club was formed over 25 years ago in Myrtle Beach by Nick Nicholas, who moved to Florida (and sadly, has since passed away). Ed Sharrett was stationed at the M.B. Air Force Base when he joined the group 24 years ago, and the love he developed for model railroading – as for so many of all generations – had its roots in the glorious heyday of Christmas mornings that featured the coveted Lionel train set underneath the Christmas tree.
Their headquarters are located at 702 Main Street; the entrance is beside Ed’s Hobby Shop – and the club’s permanent layout resides upstairs above Ed’s. They currently have 36 avid members, ranging from 16 to 90 years of age. All types of people from all backgrounds belong, and among these is a retired electrical engineer, who helped build the dual control panels on either side of the layout, with switches and indicator lights to show which track the train is running, train speed, and track switching.