Fellowship through a shared interest of model railroading

Community life at Tel Hai is a perfect mix of unique experiences and meaningful connections. And for members of the Train Club, nothing lives out this notion more than the hours spent in fun and fellowship creating and maintaining the Train Room.

With planning commencing in early 2018 upon the opening of Brownstone — the last constructed neighborhood within StoneCroft Apartments — years of volunteer work have resulted in an expansive miniature railroad community.

Featuring extensive displays of HO, S, G, N and O-gauge tracks, delightful miniature villages surround the tracks on several tablescapes within the 813 sq. ft. room. With the majority of trains, tracks, and scenes donated from residents and friends of the community, the cohesiveness of the room is quite impressive.

Highlights include:

– A fishing village with a boat repair shop

– Reading anthracite coal depot and oil refinery

– Antique car show, towns and storefronts of decades past

– Mountains, log cabin and river scenes with campers

– Amish farm with cattle and gardening scenes

The Making of a Mural

So what do you get when you combine a passionate Train Club and a joyful, on-campus professional artist? A brilliantly colorful, 30-ft. custom wall mural that adds the local Chester County landscape to a train room tablescape!

“I visited other train clubs, and others had background walls with painted scenery,” commented Bob Stevens, a member of the Train Club. “I contacted Loretta Gable Englerth — and with her talents and involvement in our on-campus Arts Suite — and shared our vision for a partnership.”

“After Bob and I talked, the excitement of a mural came alive. I began to sketch the rolling hills, farmland, rooftops developed into a more realistic view and fields scattered with animals found around Tel Hai,” shared Loretta. “Working with the Train Club has been a fantastic experience, and they are absolutely wonderful to work with.”

After months of sketching with graphite, transferring, applying in permanent marker and topping with acrylic paints, Loretta’s mural has taken more than 485 hours to complete. “One of my life challenges was to paint a mural,” Loretta said. “And working in the train room made me think of my father — Wilbert Gable — and the time I spent with him painting his train display.”

“This mural is a result of collaboration. New friendships between two groups coming together to support each other,” shared Loretta, who has taught watercolor classes at Tel Hai even prior to moving to the community in 2016. Bob echoed, “Her work enhances our train room, and our clubs are now friends!”

Visit the Train Room

The Train Room is open for residents from 1-3 PM every Thursday, except the third Thursday of the month. Train Room is located in StoneCroft, 4000 Tree Line Drive, Honey Brook.