Holiday trains chug through local yard

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 26, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

About four years ago, Rupert Boyd was bitten by the model-train-collecting bug. Through his holiday display, youngsters from around Boyd’s neighborhood might experience the same effect.

Since Christmas of 2000, Boyd has been setting up a model train display in his yard at the corner of Lida and Emma Avenue, off Edward Avenue and Pruden Boulevard. Last Halloween, the trains carried candy and stopped in front so trick-or-treaters could pick up their haul. Now that the holidays are here again, Boyd has created a 430-foot track with three trains traversing it. A Santa Fe freight, starter set locomotive and Pacific passenger train head around the Christmas lights and porcelain houses that round out the display.

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&uot;It’s best at night,&uot; said Boyd, who will keep his display open after Christmas, weather permitting. &uot;At the daytime, it loses some of its magic.&uot;

A former auto sales/repairman and Suffolk News-Herald carrier, Boyd first got on the model train track after purchasing his locomotive at a yard sale.

&uot;I saw a train, and got bit by a bug,&uot; he said. &uot;The rest is history. I brought it home and played with it a little, and ended up with this.

&uot;This is called a garden railway,&uot; he said of the creation in his yard. &uot;It always seems to be expanding a little bit. These are not inside trains. It started out as a few circles, but now it’s kind of maxed out.&uot; Boyd is one of two Suffolkians in the Tidewater Big Train Operators organization, which promotes model train construction.

Her sons’ interest in trains keeps bringing her back to the Boyd lawn display, said his neighbor Jennifer Schmack.

&uot;My kids are definitely into trains,&uot; Schmack said as Ryan, 4, and Derek, 3, eyed the trains heading past. &uot;We’re at the (Suffolk Seaboard Museum) a lot; they love to climb on the caboose there. This train is like a free babysitter.&uot;