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The Miniature Railroad Club of York opened its doors for the first time this season Saturday, and within two hours about 50 people had stopped by to see what was on display.

The sounds of miniature trains filled the building as people watched, and sometimes controlled, the trains on an enormous layout. Generations, both young and old, were enjoying the experience.

The familial ties to trains, along with a small dosage of nostalgia, are what bring people back to the open houses each year, some of the fans said. The open houses will take place every weekend until mid-January.

Trains:  Club president Norm Lawrence said the younger crowd seems to be drawn to more popular trains, such as Thomas the Tank Engine, but for adults, it's more of a nostalgia thing. They will come in and see trains they might have had when they were younger.

For others, trains are a family tradition.

John Frantz, of York Township, grew up with his father, Ivan Frantz, of Jackson Township, in the club.

"I got to see it as a kid," John Frantz said.

His father shared similar experiences as a child himself.

"My dad would bring me out here when I was a kid," Ivan Frantz said.

The club has been operating since 1943, and it has been in its York City location since 1955. Lawrence said the club is one of the oldest of its kind.

"This club has been a tradition for many families," Ivan Frantz said. His son called the trains a "fun family" hobby.

Ken Walter, of Dover, shared a similar bond. He was there watching trains with his son-in-law and grandson, who were visiting from Pittsburgh for the holiday. Walter and his son-in-law, both train enthusiasts, were showing the trains to Walter's nearly 2-year-old grandson, Owen Spring.

"He just loves it," Walter said.

The three had gone to the building last year to check out the trains, and Walter noted his grandson's increased interest this year over last year.

"This is going to be a tradition for us," he said.

Walter also commended the amount of detail that went into the display, calling it "incredible."

"We like it; it's just fun," he said.

Lawrence said it took the club about six weeks to prepare the display for the public. This year, additional scenery was placed in a newer section of the display. The building, located at 381 Wheatfield St., will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday until Jan. 15. Admission is free.

More information on the club and the open houses may be found here.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

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