, Salem, MA

January 6, 2011

Model railroad enthusiasts to converge on Wenham

By Amanda McGregor

WENHAM — The golden era of railway travel will come to life in Wenham this weekend.

The Wenham Museum's annual railroad hobby show will be held at Buker School in Wenham on Saturday, featuring a special live performance by composer and musician Gordon Titcomb, who recently published a children's book based on his song "The Last Train."

Titcomb will be joined by award-winning illustrator Wendell Minor, whose gouache paintings help tell the story in "The Last Train," a book that elicits memories of the steam-powered trains that used to connect the country.

"It's really exciting. It's one of the highlights of the hobby show," said Mary Barthelmes, marketing manager at the Wenham Museum.

Railroad hobbyists can get advice, discuss scenery building and layout construction with model train and railroad experts, and get answers to model train layout questions.

"The hobby show is a chance for train collectors and fans to swap stories and give advice," Barthelmes said. "It's a real passion for many people in this country."

The Hobby Show coincides with a model train exhibit at the Wenham Museum that runs through Feb. 27, and hobby show ticket holders can head over to the museum and receive half-price admission on Saturday.

Special model train layouts are exhibited throughout the "Train Time 16" exhibit, including the wintertime favorite Snow Train to Bakersville, a G-gauge holiday model train layout set in a snow-covered village.

"Train Time 16" boasts 15 operating model layouts in G-, O-, HO-, N- and Z-gauges, railroad artifacts, memorabilia, large-scale models, and antique toy trains.

This year's exhibit also includes a rare model of the New England Limited of 1891, nicknamed the "Ghost Train" for its late-night route between Boston and New York.

The Wenham Museum also has a permanent exhibit of stationary model train layouts in the Bennett E. Merry Train Gallery.

At the Hobby Show, Titcomb is set to perform around 11 a.m., and he and Minor will be available to sign copies of "The Last Train."

Minor has illustrated more than 40 picture books for children, including "Look to the Stars" by Buzz Aldrin and "Ghost Ship" by Mary Higgins Clark. Titcomb has played with well-known artists, including Arlo Guthrie, Hank Williams Jr., Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins and Willie Nelson. They both live in Connecticut.

Staff writer Amanda McGregor can be reached at or 978-338-2665.

If you go

What: Model Railroad and Railfan Meet and Hobby Show

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Buker School, School Street, Wenham

Live performance: Gordon Titcomb is scheduled to perform at 11 a.m.

Cost: $5 for adults; $2 for children ages 6 to 14; $12 family maximum. (Ticket holders receive half-price museum admission the day of the show.)

More information: 978-468-2377 or

Snow date: Sunday, Jan. 9