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WWII veteran puts out annual train display

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 29 2013 05:11:49 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2013 06:36:21 PM CST

When does it feel like Christmas to you?

When does it feel like Christmas to you?

For some it's the Black Friday shopping or maybe hearing Christmas carols or decorating the tree.

For one Bethlehem man Christmas gets on track in September.

For Bob Mininger, It wouldn't be Christmas without trains.

"Years ago, when I was younger, everybody had a train," said Mininger.

Mininger has been collecting trains for 72 years.

"I used to make two levels," said Mininger. "Last year I had it different. I had a tree in the middle."

Mininger starts assembling his Christmas city in September and doesn't take it down until spring.

Over the years he's collected a lot of items.

But his favorites, like classic cars, make the cut each year.

"They are all made out of lead and have little rubber tires on it and stuff. Today the stuff is all made of plastic," said Mininger.

But you will find plastic structures in plasticville, right next to the balsa wood houses built by a friend in 1960.

Mininger says he doesn't know why Christmas and trains go together.

But he says his passion has been a constant through life's ups and downs.

From witnessing the atrocities of the Nazi Germany first hand while serving during World War II, to playing drums in a band called The Jolly Dutchman.

No matter what's going on in his life.

He says his thoughts always wander to next year's display.

"I'm just like a little kid. I love trains. Anything with trains I always liked a lot," said Mininger.

You can bet in the next few months.

Mininger will be dreaming of his next White Christmas.