By ROBIN CAUDELL
---- — AUSABLE FORKS — Louis Scavo was enamored of Lionel model trains, like every child in the 1940s.
“That was like the children with computers games now,” said Scavo, who lives in AuSable Acres.
“That was the big gift at Christmas time, to get a train. It continued into high school. Then, it stopped.”
His interest in trains waned.
“Once we got married, I never went back to the model railroading until our children came. At Christmas time, I put the trains up for the children.”
For Christmas 2012, Scavo and fellow train collector Carl Kokes of Peru worked railroading wonders with a G-Model trains inside the Tahawus Lodge Center Windows Gallery in AuSable Forks.
“Here Come the Trains!” opens from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and runs through Jan. 5.
“G scale is built to run inside or outside,” Scavo said. “To run inside in a home requires a lot more space than most people have. They are perfect for outdoors. They are pretty rugged and can take the weather.
“The Tahawus Lodge has the space. We were able to put together a pretty good-size layout, 30 feet by 60 feet. It’s not an elaborate layout that some of the model railroaders can put together. We built it with some interest to both adults and children.”
Scavo’s sister is part of the group that runs the lodge.
“We talked about Christmas and putting on a display of a model railroad to attract attention. I called Carl, and he was interested. Most of the equipment and trains come from Carl.”
It took several weeks to complete the exhibit.
“I enjoyed working on it a lot,” said Kokes, who is a member of the Vermont Garden Railroad Society. “It was a very different set-up than what we have done before. I’ve done tabletop set-ups before but nothing quite this large. Working with Lou has been a great pleasure.”
Scavo and his avid-gardening wife, Susan, visited Kokes’s outdoor garden railroad in Peru before they created their own.
“We established a friendship from that standpoint,” Kokes said. “From there, he asked me about doing this for the Ausable Forks community center. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to do something with someone in the area.”
Many people have smaller-gauge trains in their basement.
“No one has anything like this outdoors,” Kokes said.
“To be able to work with someone is a lot of fun,” he added. “It gives him a chance to see and learn from my experience, and I learned from him. It’s like one hand washes the other, in a way.
“Things happen. A train goes off the tracks; you try to figure out what happened and how to fix it.”
Email Robin Caudell: firstname.lastname@example.org
IF YOU GO
WHAT: "Here Come the Trains!"
WHEN: Opens 5-7 p.m. Dec. 15. Runs through Jan. 5
WHERE: Tahawus Lodge Center, Windows Gallery, 14234 Rt. 9N, Main Street, Ausable Forks
HOURS: The Windows Gallery is open Thursdays and Friday 4-7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.