By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Jim Bennett has been working on the railroad in order to help bring Christmas cheer to his fellow United Presbyterian Home residents with his vintage Lionel train set that inhabits the Stewart Hall of the main building.
A model train fan since he was young, Bennett said the models displayed on the two tables in the lobby at from the 1940s and 1950s. He said that he collects and repairs model trains. He also said he has fan of his Christmas train displays at the UP Home from 2 years old to 102 years old. He began setting up the displays many years ago and said he was surprised the display had gone over as well as it has.
?I always did like toy trains,? he said. ?Each year at Christmas when I was a little boy I was told maybe next year. It never happened. As I grew up I still had my love for them and I began collecting them myself. Then it became the thing to do. It was quite popular.?
Each year he tries to put something different on the display. This year he has included such things as a vintage gas station, with the price of gas complete at $. 25.
Bennett?s love of trains at one point caused him to have 125 train sets. At one point he as going to buy and sell the train sets.
When Bennett came to the UP Home, he said his longtime friend, administrator Mike Moore, had encouraged him to set up a display in the lower lobby. The first display graced the lobby in 2011. Bennett later decided to only display the train set at Christmas, saying he didn?t want the spectacle of having the train get stale.
People observing the model will notice the working railroad crossing lights, as well as several buildings with people who move as the train passes by. A 1955 trolley also rounds the rails circling the town.
?People ask me if I have a lot of work in this,? he said. ?I say I have a lot of time in it, but it isn?t work. I enjoy it. It is fun to share that with other people. It doesn?t do any good to keep it in a box.?