Isaac Buser walked through the Red Lion Train Station, paper and pencil in hand.
The 10-year-old held a scavenger hunt-type checklist, which challenged him to find several things, from American flags to squirrels. The station had several model trains on display as part of its 11th annual Model Railroad Holiday Open House, which made the hunt interesting, said Isaac, who lives in Lower Windsor Township.
"Just seeing all the details that they use," he said.
Isaac's ancestors worked on the line for the Ma & Pa Railroad, said his mother, Rebecca. She said she lets her kids explore history, and they enjoy it.
"It's neat, and they need to see that, too," she said.
Always expanding: The primary train layout, a three-level O Gauge model, features details as big as a coal mine and as small as the print on a tiny replica of Mazie Gable Elementary School.
Parts of the model train are custom-made to add a touch of Red Lion to the layout, said Red Lion Model Railroaders President Ed Austin.
Members of the group hold the open house at the station each year, operating and expanding the train layout continuously, he said.
"You never finish working on a train layout," he said.
The front of the building houses two smaller model railroads, which are on display only during the holiday season, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. More than 1,000 people have come through the station for open houses in that time, Austin said.
Old and new: New this year, open house attendees can send their phones and cameras along for a ride.
Three of the model train's cars have special holders that comfortably fit devices that can record the layout from up-close. The finished product becomes a short movie of the inner workings of the tiny town.
And the Model Railroaders will also raffle off four complete train sets featuring Thomas the Tank Engine, the Polar Express and two premier models that cost between $400 and $500, Austin said.
Tickets are $1 apiece.
"For $1, that's pretty good," he said.
And Tuesday's open house will also coincide with Red Lion's 17th annual New Year's Eve celebration. The event will feature musical venues and food locations up and down the borough's streets, said Ann Heisler, member of the Red Lion Area New Year's Eve Committee.
"It's a very big deal," she said.
-- Reach Mollie Durkin at email@example.com.