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Austin M.
Austin M. Davis
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Moose Jaw Thunder Creek Model Railroad Club's workshop at the Western Development Museum on Saturday was attended by about 20 people, some of them new to the hobby.

Model railroad workshop attracts first-timers

Bruce Eastuke has spent 40 hours building one small billiards hall for a model train scene.

“I just relax, I sit, I enjoy the hobby,” Eastuke said. “It’s just something to do rather than watch TV.”

He even tracked down tiny pool tables, complete with cues and balls that he’s waiting to put in. Sometime in the future, the billiard hall will even light up.

Model railroading is all about attention to detail.

Eastuke said he spent a combined 60 hours on two other buildings he brought to the Western Development Museum for the Moose Jaw Thunder Creek Railroad Club workshop.

There were about 20 people, club members and non-members alike, at the first Model Railroading 101 session on Saturday morning.

“It’s not a toy,” Eastuke said. “It’s run like the real thing. Everybody, I believe, now has sound on their layouts. We all have engines that have sound. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want. It’s just enjoyable.”

Eastuke, like many model railroad enthusiasts, developed a passion for the hobby as a kid. He said he got back in to it after his son was born 22 years ago.

Marc St. Marie, 22, was one of two young newcomers to the workshop, something Eastuke was happy to acknowledge.

“That’s where we’re starting to lack in the hobby: new people coming in,” Eastuke said.

St. Marie’s other hobby is restoring motorcycles. He said his first time working with small pieces to assemble a shanty house was different, but he liked it.

“You just got to take your time and be patient because the small details show up a lot more,” St. Marie said.

He saw an advertisement for the workshop online and thought it would be interesting.

Though he’s not going to give up working on motorcycles, St. Marie said he thought it would be good if more young people were involved in model railroading.

Eastuke and Greg King are both members of the Thunder Creek Railroad Club. King said Saturday’s workshop focused on the basics like tools, glues, different scales and different cars.

King said younger people — kids especially — will always be interested in model trains.

“Kids come in all ages and it’s something you can create that you’ve been dreaming about your whole life, or you want to see,” King said.

He said his favourite moments are when kids come to conventions and “their eyes get as wide as saucers.”

The club has been around since the ‘50s, King said, and now has about 20 members. The relationship with the Western Development Museum (WDM) has given the club a meeting space outside of its members’ houses.

There will be two more model railroad workshops at the WDM on Jan. 25 and Feb. 1 at 9:30 a.m.

Organizations: Western Development Museum, Moose Jaw Thunder Creek Railroad Club

Geographic location: Thunder Creek Railroad

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