SEQUIM — Trains may be gone on the Olympic Peninsula, but long live the love of locomotives among local hobbyists.
For the 17th year, members of the North Olympic Peninsula Railroaders, a miniature railroad collectors’ club, will present their annual show Saturday and Sunday at the Sequim Prairie Grange.
Entry will be free to the show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the grange, 290 Macleay Road.
The club makes itself visible with booths and train displays at the Dungeness River Festival and Clallam County Fair, but in recent years, the group began its biggest project yet.
John Kumparak, club vice president, said in 2013, the group started intensely researching the former railway so members could re-create it in miniature form — in mobile sections from Discovery Bay to Joyce.
“We want to mimic the Peninsula as much as possible,” Kumparak said.
They’ve been researching through the Clallam County Historical Society, North Olympic Library System and in discussions with former railroad employees.
Each section will be an area with landmarks, such as the Joyce General Store.
Steve Stripp, president of the club, said as they progress, they’ll begin researching additional areas and creating new modular sections for areas such as Port Townsend.
Club members also plan to only run replica trains of what actually ran through the area, such as the General Motors Electro Motive Division F7s.
They’ve taken replicating the railway so far as to photograph the Johnson Creek Trestle’s individual sections to ensure their model is accurate.
“It began with basic research and we found more facts on top of facts, which led to more discussions about accuracy,” Kumparak said.
“We’re finding that we’re expanding our knowledge and it definitely gives us an idea of what was where.”
In the club’s findings, they continue to investigate some discrepancies about the former railway, but club members hope to have the layout finished by next year. At minimum, they would like to have a complete section so they can travel with it and possibly give lessons in classrooms.
One of the more meticulous aspects is creating handmade trees for the layouts. They’ll need hundreds, possibly more, to re-create the local landscape.
Kumparak said he’s still surprised every year that a few students who visit the Dungeness River Festival don’t know trains used to run through Sequim or the Railroad Bridge’s purpose.
If you’re out of the loop, the Milwaukee Railroad ran across it from 1915 to 1980 for timber until it was sold to the Seattle and North Coast Railroad and abandoned five years later.
Last year was the 100th anniversary of the bridge.
About the show
While work continues on the historical replica of the local railways, club members look to bring their biggest show yet to the Sequim Prairie Grange over the weekend.
Stripp said it features at least 25 vendors, their most yet, and model trains of most sizes and makes.
Club member Hank Sampson plans to display his replica of Dolores, Colo.’s train station, while other members such as Dick Wolf run a garden scale railway and the club’s traveling display.
Kumparak said they’ll see at least 11 different types of trains on the tracks of the main layout, and other types will be on hand such as live steam model engines.
This year, organizers added an hour Saturday and subtracted an hour Sunday due to a dance that night. As is tradition, club members raffle off full train sets for children 14 and younger, and there will be raffle drawings every hour. Children also can try their train skills with a Brio wood set and a Thomas the Tank Engineer set.
For more information on the show, call 360-582-1316 or email [email protected].