‘Tracks’ lead to Colerain Museum

Published 8:28 am Thursday, December 24, 2009

COLERAIN – A lifetime hobby shared.

Thomas Waicul began collecting trains when he was a child and now has turned that love for them into an exhibit at the Colerain Museum. That exhibit opened December 12 after four months of preparation.

“I’ve never had them set up like this,” Waicul said. “In Florida, I ran a hobby shop and had a display in the window, but I’ve never had them all set up before.

“I’ve been collecting them all my life,” he added. “I just like trains. I have always loved trains. They amaze me.”

The museum display contains both Marx and Lionel trains. Waicul said he loved collecting both types and that he was glad to be able to set up the room with all of the amenities, including the trains, track and village settings.

He said one of the reasons he liked the idea of the exhibit at the museum was the opportunity to show the trains to children, especially those at nearby Colerain Elementary School.

“I mainly do it for the kids,” Waicul said. “They love it.”

Waicul moved here seven years ago when he and his wife bought a home in Colerain to restore. Their home is on the National Register and has been a project since the Waiculs moved to Bertie County.

“I like it here,” he said. “We’ve lived in the country all our lives, even in Florida, and I think this place is wonderful.”

Waicul is a member of the Colerain Town Council and a member of the local fire department.

As work on restoring the old home continued, Waicul said he hoped to have a room to set up his trains, but it never happened. The idea then came to make the trains a display at the museum.

“My wife suggested the museum. We presented the idea and they were all for it,” he said.

The arduous process of setting up the 150 feet of track began and took four months.

“I am happy with what we’ve done so far, but there is still a long way to go,” Waicul said. “I’m still getting in new stuff every day.”

The display is open from 12-4 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. Other times can be arranged by appointment.