RAILROAD CLUB … One of several SARMC displays at the 2017 Christmas Craft Show at Swanton High School. (PHOTO BY BILL O’CONNELL, STAFF)
Story originally appeared-April 25th, 2018
By: Bill O’Connell
Nobody can stay a child forever but growing up does not mean you have to leave all your toys behind. When KC Wittenmyer of Wauseon was five years old he received a Lionel Train Set from his grandmother for Christmas.
Forty plus years later, this married father of four is still “playing” with trains. For Mr. Wittenmyer, a gift found under the Christmas tree brought years of childhood fun that eventually evolved into a life-long passion.
It is a passion he shares with thousands of individuals in the area and across the country. KC is the president of the Swanton Area Railroad & Model Club (SARMC) which currently has approximately 100 members and is just one of many clubs in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. The Club was formed in February of 1983 and is a non-profit organization.
As stated in their literature, SARMC is a family-oriented organization and social club that enjoys doing shows with train-related modular displays. They do not charge for their shows but will gratefully accept honorariums and donations. The shows allow those who love to run trains, but may not have the room at home, the opportunity to do so. The Club also sponsors workshops and how-to clinics.
SARMC displays four styles or divisions of model trains at their shows based mainly on their size. The HO Division or Charter Division trains are 1/87th the size of standard trains, the O Division models are almost twice that at 1/48th, and the N Division trains are the smallest, pulling into the station at 1/160th the size of their large lumbering cousins. Recently added is the LEGO Division which uses only Legos in their construction.
The Club participates in a number of events at various venues throughout the area during the year including National Train Day at the Toledo Amtrak Station, Christmas in Swanton, Lights before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo and has had displays at the Manor House and Sauder’s Village.
Club members do not just limit their attention to model trains. They know a great deal about all types of trains including the history and evolution of the railroad industry and are always happy to share their knowledge at their shows. Some even work for railroad companies such as CSX or Norfolk Southern.
Although SARMC has “Swanton” in its name, members come from all around the area. They meet the first Friday of every month at 8:00 p.m. in the Swanton Council Chamber located at 219 Chestnut Street, next door to the Swanton Police Department and dues are only $15.00 per year.
For more information you can visit their website at www.swantontrainclub.com or check out their Facebook page.
Bill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org