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Sharing the love of trains

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 28th, 2012

REDFIELD — The C&NW Historic Rail Road Depot in Redfield is pleased to again offer Marlin Fenner’s model trains during the Christmas at the Depot, Dec. 7 to 9.

Since the age of 4, Fenner has had an intense love of trains. “I got to see under the engine of a train when I was 4-years-old and I was hooked,” said Fenner, who purchased his first train at the age of 8. “A neighbor paid me 25 cents an hour to clean his hog barn and I saved that money to purchase my first train, a Lionel Train for the cost of $25. I’ve been collecting and expanding my collection since then.”

Fenner, who has been a part of the Christmas at the Depot since the beginning five years ago, enjoys coming to the Redfield C&NW Historic Depot to share that love of trains. “For me there is nothing better than seeing the multi-generational enjoyment of the trains and hearing grandparents reminisce with their grandchildren about their trains. I love to hear, ‘Let’s go and see my train.’ It gives me a feeling of accomplishment.”

And while Fenner may have displayed his trains here for many years, don’t assume you’ve already seen it. “I like to keep people guessing so every year we come, I have something different on my train board,” said Fenner. Visitors this year will be treated to the new sound system Fenner has purchased as well as five new steam engines. According to Fenner, “It has 28 different sounds including locomotive steam sounds and conductor sounds.”

Fenner is excited to display the new system, which enhances his already passionate display. In addition to the new steam engines and the new sound system, the 12-foot-square train board features an elaborate display of a typical late 1800s town. It includes horse and buggies, houses, businesses, a stagecoach, buckboards, horse drawn wagons, a horse drawn beer wagon, and of course, people. Each piece is a labor of love for Fenner, who spends his winters putting together and painting each piece down to the eye color.

“It’s my winter project when I can’t be outside working on my newest project, a 30- by 30-foot outdoor train set. We have the area prepped for that and just need to lay the track.”

The train board will also showcase the work of Fenner’s wife who shares his enthusiasm for trains. The couple was married on the back of the train at Prairie Village and together they travel to train shows where she’s always busy checking out other train boards and encouraging Fenner. She now handles the trees and landscaping on the train boards and adds her own special touch.

“It’s never ending which makes it nice and challenges your imagination. You see other train boards and think, ‘I can incorporate that,’ or ‘What can I do to change this,’” Fenner said.

Fenner’s model trains will be on display at the Depot Dec. 7 from 1 to 8 p.m., Dec. 8 from noon to 8 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m.

For the complete article see the 11-27-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-27-2012 paper.

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