DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — There’s a new train on the tracks in Piscataquis County, and locomotive engineers are needed.
Brian Inch, 42, of Dover-Foxcroft, who has formed the first hobby railroad club in central Maine, is offering railroad buffs a chance to enjoy the model train hobby.
Inch soon will open a shop in downtown Dover-Foxcroft equipped with a large train set that has about 30 action pieces. He also plans to set up a smaller-scale train in the future.
An open house for Model Rail Scenes and Central Maine Railroad Club will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, in the building that previously housed the Moosehead Furniture outlet store.
Train clubs have been around for years, especially in southern Maine, where there is a huge following, according to Inch.
“It’s nice because it involves the whole community. Anybody can come in here and talk, and they can build trains,” he said during a recent interview. Adults and children who are accompanied by an adult can join the club for $20 a month and play with the trains.
While playing with trains is Inch’s hobby, his Internet business is assembling train layouts and kits for customers throughout the world. He offers everything for train sets — including the base, the action figures and buildings — in the kits and plans later to offer classes on how to build layouts. To help provide for his family, Inch also runs Image Impact, a painting business, during the summer months.
“When I was a kid, we didn’t watch a lot of television. We were outside in the Christmas trees playing with trains, and that interest is coming back now,” Inch said.
Children, as well as adults, are looking for hands-on toys, and hobby trains fit the bill, he said.
“This is interacting, entertaining and fun,” he said. “You learn a skill, you can build models, you learn about history, learn about the different railroads and the time periods.”
Piscataquis County has a rich railroad history that has included such companies as Canadian Pacific, the Bangor & Aroostook, and Maine Central, he noted.
Many people have toy trains in their attics or basements, Inch said, adding that they are more than welcome to bring them in to his shop once it opens.
“There’s plenty of things to do here,” Inch said as he pressed buttons and activated whistles on one of the train sets in the shop. “It’s a lot of fun, there’s lot of action. I think kids and adults will have a lot of fun with it.”
For more information, call Inch at 564-7292.