The Comstock Park Rotary held it's weekly lunch meeting at the Swan Inn Restaurant on Thursday and guest speaker was Skip Luyk an avid model train enthusiast and member of the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society. Skip shared his enthusiasm with members of the Rotary club and talked about the upcoming Train Show his club is hosting at the Holland Civic Center this weekend. The show is from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm and the Civic Center is located at 150 E. 8th Street in Holland. The price for an adult ticket is $5.00 and kids under 12 accompanied by an adult are free. Home of the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society is actually in Alpine Township, in the brick building by the old Fish Hatchery. This is where the members enjoy camaraderie.
Over the the past few years, members of the organization have been busy building a scaled replica of the Pere Marquette Railroad as it existed between Plymouth, Michigan and Chicago Illinois circa 1945. The replicas include branch lines terminating in the Northern Michigan cities of Petoskey, Manistee and Ludington, including its car ferry operation. Local modelled locations along the main line include Wyoming, Grandville/Hudsonville, Sparta and Comstock Park although restoration remains to be done on some of the terminals. The system is controlled by a Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) dispatcher operating signals along the mainline, and "written" Train Orders along the branch lines.
The meeting location was built by the state of Michigan in 1914 and used as a fish hatchery by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Fingerlings, placed in milk cans were picked up by passing trains (the Petoskey Sub Division passes within 30 feet of the building) to be dumped into rivers and streams along the northern portions of the line as the trains crossed these bodies of water on the bridges and trestles. The state turned the facility over to Kent county in the mid `50's and they continued operations until the mid `70's when they decided to use the building for assembling wooden picnic tables. After 1986 the building was used strictly as a storage facility and eventually it was leased out to the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society. The organization plans to have an open house on Saturday December 10 when Santa will once again make a surprise stop in Comstock Park on the Marquette Rail Road..
|Skip Luyk shares a lot of enthusiasm for model trains|
|A peak inside the club house|
|Prospective new member, Sears Manager Bruce Hawley listening with interest|