Kingman railroad museum not yet finished, but doors opening anyway

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner
<br>The O-scale Lionel train set up straight out of the early 1900s includes a model of Camelback Mountain.

AHRON SHERMAN/Miner <br>The O-scale Lionel train set up straight out of the early 1900s includes a model of Camelback Mountain.

After a decade of dreaming and two years of organizing, the members of the Whistle Stop Railroad Club will have to wait a little longer for the grand opening of their railroad museum.

But don't fret. Despite it literally being a work in progress, the club plans to open the museum Saturday to allow the public to see the process firsthand.

"People will be able to see what we're doing (with the museum) right when we're doing it," said club member Shawn Lavery.

The museum is full of railroad relics, model trains of all kinds and panels dedicated to outlining the history of railroads. But the actual model train setups still need a good amount of work.

The museum's centerpiece, a large HO-gauge display that will include a model of downtown Kingman, needs the most work of the three set-ups planned for the opening.

An HO-gauge model features model trains 1/87th the size of real ones.

As is, the display is built and the tracks are laid, but all the scenery work still needs to be completed.

The other two setups are much closer to being finished than the museum's centerpiece. The N-scale display, which is about half the size of the HO-gauge setup, still needs to be touched up. But the display's scenery work, with its lush, green landscape, is quite remarkable.

The O-scale display, which features Lionel trains 1/48th the size of real trains, has a model of Phoenix's Camelback Mountain in the center but still needs all of its landscaping work done.

"We just want to get our feet wet," said Dave Bacon, the club's president.

Members have put hundreds upon hundreds of hours into opening the museum.

Lavery, who does a lot of work on the displays from home, said he hasn't taken a day off in almost two months.

"The weeds at my house are up to here," Lavery said, holding his hand at waist level.

The museum opens at 9 a.m. Saturday and is located at 400 E. Andy Devine Ave. General admissions is $2 and children 5 years old and under get in free. The clubs plans to keep the museum open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday starting this weekend through the grand opening - whenever that may be.

The 20-person strong Whistle Stop Railroad Club is also looking for new members.

Those interested should have a love of model trains, a willingness to participate in club activities (including running the museum) and the ability to work with the public, Bacon said.

Call the museum at (928) 718-1440 or Bacon at (928) 753-4551 for more information about joining the club.

You can also visit Whistle Stop's website at http://www.whistlestoprailroadclub.org/donations.htm.

The displays may not be done, but anyone who moseys into the museum will still get a show, with at least seven trains running on the three yet-to-be-finished displays.