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Trains still chugging along at model railroad museum in Bethlehem

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 12 2013 05:16:32 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 13 2013 07:13:38 AM CST

Trains still chugging along at model railroad museum

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

The track spans two states, over bridges and around twists and turns. But you can't take a ride on this train, it's a miniature at the 'Lehigh & Keystone Valley Model Railroad Museum' in Bethlehem.

"It's always been one of my dreams to be able to make this in miniature," said Bob Gombosi.

You could call Gombosi the conductor, he's president of the club that builds the model railroad.

"No one man or two men can do this, we're fortunate to have a great group of fellas that all contribute to it," Gombosi shared.

The museum has been on Linden Street in Bethlehem since 1997. During those 16 years, members have been working to recreate the paths of the Lehigh Valley and Reading Railroads as they were back in the 1960s and 70s.

"The railroad actually goes from West Portal, New Jersey where it comes out of the mountains, and it continues onto Sayre on the Lehigh Valley side," explained Gombosi.

There are 7,800 feet of track, and chances are some of the scenes will look familiar. The entire museum is modeled after the local landscape. Just one section can take 18 months to finish. Gombosi calls it a labor of love, that he and the other members are still working to complete by hand.

"You can't buy any kits for these things," he added. "You have to take pictures of them and compress them and build them to scale, and it takes an awful lot of time."

The museum is one of two miniature railroad museums in the state. Usually it's open to the public on the third Sunday of every month, but right now is Christmas Open House, so you can check it out each weekend through January 5th, and the week between Christmas Day and News Years Day.

"We want the people to be able to remember the way the railroad was," Gombosi said.