It goes through walls, catches fire, and lifts boxcars at the command of a remote controller. And it lives in the basement of a home on Barshinger Avenue in York Township.
For the past seven years, York Township resident Jack Gettys and his wife, Linda, have opened their home for the month of January to show off their model train display that has come from more than a decade of collecting.
Jack Gettys said people from as far away as Ohio and Colorado have come to see the layout that has become a permanent fixture in his basement.
"It was a hobby. The first layout we had we built for the grandkids. And then when they got older ... my wife and I talked it over and decided we'd open it up for the public," he said. "It was maybe 30 or 40 (visitors) the first year, and it's expanded every year since then."
Gettys said he had about 400 people visit his home to see the train display last year.
"Our hours start at 8 in the morning and end at 10 at night, and we do it seven days a week all the month of January," he said. "As long as I have my health, we're going to be doing it."
The display: The main set, which runs through his basement, features moving sawmills and cranes, a log loader, a car that catches fire and a working turntable. Miniature LCD screens scattered among homemade trees and model homes flash advertisements as 12 trains glide across metal tracks or sit in display cases.
The basement walls are covered in posters of trains and thank you notes from children who visited in the past few years. Next to the letters are drawings the kids sent in and pictures of them excitedly interacting with the set.
The living room houses three smaller train sets for younger children to play with, but Gettys said that even 4-year-olds have been able to figure out the larger one.
Visitors call his home to reserve time slots, and Gettys allows 21/2 hours per family, giving them time to interact with all of the different equipment and allowing himself room to clean up or rush a meal between groups.
He said that he actually had to turn people away last January because of overbooking. This year, people started calling in November to get the best time slots.
"Each year it gets a little larger, and they come from a little further away," he said. "I probably have 35 or 40 reservations so far, and I'd say 80 percent are repeats."
"I had one little guy ... I think he was 6, and this was already his third year coming," he added.
Food bank benefits: Last year, he began using the open house to collect products and money for the York County Food Bank. He said he will be bringing back the donation box this year.
"Last year ... we collected 640 pounds of groceries and $400 in cash, so we're hoping to beat that this year," he said. "I had one family that brought six cases of food."
More than anything, though, he said he enjoys people's reactions to the set.
"I try to get it that they (the parents) go down first so (they) can get a picture of the kid's face when they first see it ... it gives you that warm feeling," he said. "It's really a good family time for bonding; I get an awful lot of retirees that come, too."
Those interested in making reservations to see the Gettys' train set should make reservations by contacting Jack Gettys at 717-848-2931.