The Enchanted Railroad at the Morton Arboretum is a holiday favorite among families and the volunteers who run the trains. For the last several years, members of the LGB Train Club of Chicago have made the event part of their own tradition. This year Naperville resident Hans Weckerle joined them for the first time.
Weckerle says his experience working as a mechanical engineerer has helped him to develop the skills needed to build and run the model trains. “You have to know a little bit of electronics,” said Weckerle. “Also if you have some mechanical skills, it helps because some of this stuff can be a little bit tricky.”
Weckerle’s been collecting trains for the last 20 years, investing more than $20,000 in his hobby. And now that he’s retired, he has more time to relax and enjoy it.
“There’s no deadline, there’s no time pressure, nobody telling me what to do,” said Weckerle.
And for families, it’s a nice way to spend time together at the Arboretum during the dead of winter.
“The train is kind of like a magnet to get people here to see that the arboretum has a lot to offer all year-round,” said Dianna Fischer-Woods, the arboretum’s Special Events Coordinator. “What it also does is for us and for other people is to build a tradition, something to do as family on Christmas.”
This is Morton Arboretum’s 3rd year hosting the event. Organizers say it attracts more than 15,000 guests each year. If you’d like to make the railroad a part of your holiday tradition, the exhibit is open daily until January 2nd from 9am to 4pm.
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