These days the hobby of model railroadi g seems to be on the wane, but C.H.O.E.S model train club is doing its st to keep the tradition alive. Exhibiting the Harvest Festival the weekend of November 21-22 was part of that effort. The acronym stands for East Coast H.O. hibitors Society, since their group layo t is inspired by the Florida East Coast ilroad and H.O. gauge is the scale of eir trains. The name also suggests choes of the past,” because it explores orida’s railroad history through its buildi gs and trains.
“We’re a modular model railroad club,” d Rick Diaz, one of the founding memb rs and a Pinecrest resident. “We have tween 16 and 20 members in the club. ch member can, although they don’t have to, build modules. We have a certain amount of club modules which are the corners, the end loops, the yards—those are all club property. Then the other individual ones are all owned by the individual members.”
Diaz explained that there are two tracks on each and every module that are in the exact same spot, so that they all go together like dominoes. Besides the two main line tracks, members can do whatever else they want.
“The themes are East Coat themes,” said Diaz. “A lot of the companies are ones that were actually here in Miami in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s all a love of the hobby of model railroading. It’s sort of a dying hobby. We’ve been doing the Harvest Festival since 1985. We also do Pinecrest Gardens, the holiday festival in December.”
Herb Ford has been with the club for the past three years, but he isn’t new to the hobby.
“I’ve been doing model trains for about 50 years and just recently joined,” Ford said. “I’m sorry I didn’t join sooner.
It’s an opportunity to work on a much larger layout than I had at home, plus the friends I’ve made. Another big plus is when there’s something I’m having trouble with about trains, there’s someone else in the club that can help me.”
He says that the pool of experience and skills is more than one person would have on their own. He hopes the exhibits will get people interested in the hobby and the club. There are already several young members who have discovered model railroading, Dylan Scott of Kendall and Ricky Hudson of Coral Gables. One of the veterans, though, is Chuck Yaros of Coral Gables.
“I’ve been with the group since 1987,” said Yaros. “We’ve come a long way. The changes that have happened reflect the changes in the hobby. We do this type of a set-up because it allows us to be able to do prototypical length trains and have them look reasonably realistic. The other side of this is that we are able to give back to the community. This has always been a big draw for parents and children at the Harvest Festival.”
The club had a train display at Perrine- Peters United Methodist Church in Palmetto Bay on October 9, with upcoming events planned as well. For information visit www.echoestrainclub.org/, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call Rick Diaz at 305-496-9266.