Model Railway

Trains: David


They call David “The Conductor.”

He joined the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club at 16. A wunderkind who became the club’s treasurer.

He’s also a bit of a jokester.

“I still live in my childhood home,” David says. “I just kicked my parents out.”

Trains: Banana Car

David is the first one in on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, and usually the last one to turn out the lights. The club meets in a second story loft in downtown Jackson, Mich. The hours come from the club’s old location at the local mall. It used to be they’d meet on Mondays and Fridays, but David says they started using Wednesday as a “work day.”

Though “work” is always code for “social.”

“It’s more social than anything. This is my social club,” David says.

Trains: Craig


Craig grew up across the street from the Pontiac rail yards. He’s been watching them for a lot of years.

When he was 18, he got into model trains, but never really had a place to run them. In 2002, he moved to Jackson, and found the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club.

“Then I had a place to play with them,” Craig says.

Trains: Craig

Before then, Craig studied geography in college. He also collected stamps and license plates. “It’s an OCD thing,” he says, with all the colors, symbols, and numbers. Organizing. Categorizing.

Craig works in the travel industry in Novi.

Trains: Blair

Trains In Jackson: Blair

Both sides of Blair’s family have worked on the railroad. He has five family members riding the rails.

“I love seeing my brother drive by on the train,” he says.

Blair’s been collecting train memorabilia since he was young. He has an O-gauge train set at home, and the GTs are his favorites.

He’s grateful for the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club.

“I can’t personally work on the railroad because I’m deaf, so this is the next best thing.”

Trains: Gene


Gene is 85 years old. He’s been seriously collecting trains for more than 55 years. It all started with a $5 set during the Depression.

He served two tours of duty in World War II and in the Korean War.

“When I got home from the service, I started collecting more.”

Since then, he’s been a bit of everything: pest control, fencing (as in fences), antiques.

He’s been with the Central Michigan Model Railroad Club since the beginning, in the 1960s. It’s the tradition – the idea of keeping these old trains alive – that keeps him interested. He likes the G-gauge trains: “The big ones.”

His set is full of moving parts, like a talking car wash, and a tornado that spins around on an old record player.

Gene also collects barbed wire.