Photos: The Miniature World of Model Railways in Swift Current

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The Speedy Creek Model Railroad Club of Swift Current came to the station for Family Fun Week.

Located at the Dickson Community Center, the model railroad group is open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday this week.

The band has a 20 year history in Swift Current. Over these years they have had members who come and go, but a constant cornerstone of the group has been their president, Pat Newburgh, who has been an avid modeler for over 60 years.

“When I was a kid, I don’t know how old I was, 9 or 10, my dad brought me a train,” Newburgh recalled. “And that’s how we started.”

Newburgh and his brother built their first model railroad in their attic as boys, and that simple beginning led them to a lifelong passion for an art form that mimics life.

Over the years, the Speedy Creek Model Railroad moved from that first attic to garages, and even to local strip malls during the busiest parts of their history. These days, they’re located at the Dickson Community Center on the lower level, where they occupy a room they’ve filled with their extensive models and tracks.

One of the biggest pieces they have is their model mountain, which houses a helix railway inside, which takes trains from the lower tracks to the elevated parts that pass above the base level at height of the hip.

The model also features two smaller but equally detailed mountains. We are sitting next to a basin and a railway bridge on one side, with a full-fledged city on the other side. You can even spy on a man fishing in the pool.

The other mountain is a tourist destination, with a ski slope offering a variety of miniature skiing, snowboarding and even a rake truck maintaining the slopes for winter enthusiasts. On the lower side, you can find a railroad crossing the mountain that passes through model coal mines. The mines have a loading facility and tracks that allow a bypass for trains running without coal.

Other interesting pieces along the way include train stations, residences, various rest areas and pop-up shops, and even a model of the three historic station buildings in downtown Swift Current.

In total they have 4 trains of different lengths and models running on the track, and nine that are set aside and ready to run at any time.

The whole setup is well over 200 feet in track length and took years to build. Although it is far from over. A comment made several times was that there is always more to add with these models. Buildings, trees, power lines, roads, vehicles, stores and stops. Wherever your creativity springs, you can incorporate that inspiration into the hobby.

These days, the club has had to deal with a slowdown in the number of new members. The last two years have ended the key introductory method for these hobbies: get-togethers and shows.

“Normally we would have gone to a rail show with the weekend next weekend but they were canceled [due to the pandemic]”, explained Newburgh. “We received a phone call from Val [Choo Foo] and she asked if we would like to participate [in Family Fun Week]. So I asked the club members and they said yes.”

The hope of this week’s open showroom is to help gain new members who are interested.

They also don’t expect established amateurs, but are happy to have enthusiastic beginners, intermediates and young participants interested in the railroads running through the club room.

“We’re hoping to grow. We don’t have a big venue here, but we’d like to have a few more members if anyone is interested,” Newburgh offered. “We’ll take kids. We’ve had some in the past and when they go off to college they seem to drop out, but we’ll take from 10. Around that age it’s fine because they keep l interest. and they are able to do things without breaking too much.”

The Speedy Creek Model Railroad Club is a fantastic example of creativity, passion and lifelong love for something that can help enrich a spirit for many years beyond childhood.


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