Sun City holiday train display gets big upgrade

-A A +A

Larger model train display opens Dec. 3

by Joe Silien/Special to Carolina Gateway
The annual holiday railroad display at Sun City Carolina Lakes is getting a huge makeover this year – a new layout more than twice as big as the one visitors have enjoyed for the past eight years.
The track gangs have been busy setting up the new railroad in the lobby of The Lake House. Gone is the 8- by 10-foot train board and the tightly packed O-27 gauge track layout. In its place is phase one of a much larger display.
The first phase consists of eight separate table sections and measures 10 by 20 feet. The railroad uses Lionel’s FasTrack system. FasTrack features more gentle turns, allowing larger equipment to operate. And the crossties and roadbed look more realistic.
Thanks to the generosity of a Sun City resident, a large off-site workshop space has been available for the past several months.  This workshop has allowed members of the Railroad Club of Carolina Lakes to construct the tables, lay the track and wire the layout.
Scenery and operating accessories will be part of phase two, planned for next year’s display.
In order to fund the new display, the club’s annual raffle will be held once again. Three ever-popular Lionel “Thomas and Friends” train sets will be awarded as prizes. Raffle tickets are $5 for one ticket or $10 for three. Tickets will be available whenever the trains are running. The drawing will be held about 5 p.m. Dec. 23.
The holiday train display has become a treasured part of the season at Sun City. The club wishes to acknowledge the sponsorships provided by Mike and Laura Pogue of Team Pogue, Lionel Trains LLC and Living Magazine for helping to assure the continuance of this wonderful part of the holiday tradition.
The operating schedule for the 2017 season is as follows:
Trains will run at The Lake House from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3. This is the same time as the annual holiday craft show at The Lodge. Visitors are encouraged to stop by The Lodge and The Lake House for a double treat.
From Dec. 5 to Dec. 28, trains will run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 5-7:30 p.m. On Sundays, Dec. 10 and 17, trains will run noon-3 p.m. Trains will not run on Mondays or Fridays.
On Saturdays, Dec. 9, 16 and 23, trains will run noon-3 p.m. On Dec. 23, trains will also run 5-7:30 p.m.
Due to popular demand, the club has added days between Christmas and New Year’s to accommodate visitors. From Dec. 26-28, trains will run noon-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Readings of “The Polar Express” will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 16 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23. This popular classic story is a treat for children of all ages. Come and see if you can still hear the bell ring.
In addition to the train layout, visitors are reminded to take a look at the display cases lining the corridor opposite the ballrooms in The Lake House for a display of model trains of all sizes.
Visitors who have three-rail “O” gauge trains are welcome to bring them to the display for a trip or two around the railroad.  Club members will be on hand and may be able to help get some older models running again with a bit of grease or oil.
The Railroad Club of Carolina Lakes numbers over 70 members.  The annual holiday display is a major focus of club activities for much of the year. The club is delighted to welcome visitors at train time.
All aboard!