AUBURN — The Great Falls Model Railroad Club of Auburn welcomes the holiday season with the “ExTRAINaganza,” a unique four-day family fun event with special activities for children, at 144 Mill St. on the weekends before and after Thanksgiving. The handicapped-accessible club house, across from the Barker Mill, will be decorated for Christmas with trains of various sizes operating on five permanent layouts throughout the two-story building. The ExTRAINaganza will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p..m. Saturday, Nov. 23; Sunday, Nov. 24; Friday, Nov. 29; and Saturday, Nov. 30.

From the moment they walk through the door and see long trains running on the multiple tracks and through the tunnels of the large G-gauge layout, children are fascinated by the sights and sounds. The interactive ski slope is a special feature of the winter scene. As they enter the main room, guests will see decorated Christmas trees. Young children can watch Thomas the Tank Engine on a separate layout in the G-gauge room, with other engines from the Thomas series running on the upper trestle. Adults and children will discover that the G-gauge layout, with its unique scenes, has many features that were hidden from their first vantage point.

In the next room, details have been added to the club’s permanent layout for the smaller n-scale. Trains will also be operating on the new Lionel layout, which is still under construction in the hallway.

The club’s extensive HO layout downstairs is an engineering marvel. Members continue to develop a variety of new scenery details and have recently upgraded the track, creating a second line. Long-time residents of the area will recognize many of the 1950s scenes reproduced in the Lewiston Lower section of the layout, including Bates Mill #5. Older children can sign up to be “Guest Engineers” and operate one of the HO trains.

Train Time videos, produced by the Great Falls Model Railroad Club and seen on many local cable channels, will be shown continuously each day and are available for sale.

Children will be able to decorate and eat gingerbread boys and girls, create Christmas ornaments to take home and play the special railroad games designed by the club. The younger children always have fun with the Brio set and age-appropriate trains in the play area. While watching the activities, parents can have light refreshments in the craft area.

Tickets for decorating cookies, making ornaments and playing games with prizes are $1 each or seven for $5. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

For more details and photos of the ExTRAINaganza in previous years, see www.greatfallsmodelrrclub.org.

Sam and Daniel Howe of Mechanic Falls check out the trains on one of the five layouts at the Great Falls Model Railroad Club, 144 Mill St., where the family fun ExTRAINaganza will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 23, 24, 29 and 30. Submitted photo


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