Rocky Hill Model Railroad Show to Benefit First Responders
By Lea Florentine l October 5, 2021
The Pacific Southern Model Railroad (PSR) will hold its 42nd annual exhibit on the weekend of October 23 and 24 — featuring almost a mile of hand-laid HO-model train track in the Rocky Hill basement of Carl Pate. Admission is $10, with all proceeds going to the Rocky Hill Fire Department and First Aid and Rescue Squad.
Last year, the show was canceled on account of the pandemic. PSR club members kept busy with a hybrid operation — working both on-site and remotely from their homes. Members added a central display “along with 16 wired video cameras to monitor the flow of trains and a freight yard modeled after the 28th Street yard of New York City’s Erie Railroad in the 1950s,” Pate said.
The PSR includes nearly 30 trains pulled by both steam and diesel locomotives running through model towns and mountains and over bridges. “This museum-quality train show is unlike any other,” Pate said. “Historic trains will be running. Visitors will have excellent views of the trains and scenery, including a three-ring circus and the famous Pate Brothers Circus train.
Visitors also will hear the history of the club and how things work.” The Pate home was part of his aunt and uncle’s dairy farm. In 1952, a man named Bob Latham bought two acres from them, built a house, and created a model railroad in the basement.
In 1964, as the Christmas season approached, Latham got some local model railroaders to help him put on a train show for the public. The first show was a success, and a club was formed.” Through the years, club members have improved the PSR. The basement and layout were expanded twice, and the railroad’s operation was converted to a digital command control system.
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Pate, now a retired banker, had joined the PSR years ago, when he graduated from college. He and his wife Anne purchased the house from Latham five years ago, and have been living in the home ever since. Pate recalls an insurance representative who came to their home and asked, “Does this home have a model railroad in the basement?” When Pate said it did, the representative replied, “When I was about ten years old, my father brought me to this train show and I never forgot it.”
The October PSR show will include a hands-on layout for children. Pate, who also collects antique cars, says his 1903, 1905, and 1915 Ford cars will be on display, along with his antique license plates. “All aboard and enjoy the ride,” Pate says.
42nd Annual Pacific Southern Model Railroad Show
October 23 and 24
10 am to 4 pm.
26 Washington Street (Route 518), Rocky Hill
Park on Washington Street.
Bring a small stool for toddlers to see the display. Masks required.