The Fessenden School Train Club


The 1970s saw the end of the Train Club. Apparently, declining interest in model trains lead to the decision that the train layout should be demolished so that the room could be used for other purposes.

When I heard that the train room was no longer wanted by the school, I volunteered to demolish it myself. Bob Coffin (Headmaster) graciously allowed me to keep the train room equipment as a souvenir of many years of effort that I had put into the Train Club and its layout.

The Control Panel suffers a fatal Ax-ident


The Train Club may be gone, but the trains live on.

Nine of the original engines, approximately fifty freight cars and passenger cars, and the drawbridge are carefully preserved at my home in Tempe, Arizona. Each year during the Christmas season, one of the engines and several freight cars operate on a loop of track that encircles the family Christmas tree. The remainder of the equipment is either stored or on display.

Most of the control panel switches, transformers, and other components were salvaged for reuse in other projects. One relay from the train control circuitry ended up in my son's 1983 Chevrolet as part of the anti-theft device.

Much of the plywood from the train table was used to build shelving for my basement in Acton, Massachusetts. When I moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1979, the shelving went with me. It remained in my Phoenix house when I sold it and moved to Tempe, Arizona, in 1993.

The track and track switches (much of it damaged), houses, other scenic items, and many of the salvaged components were given to a Honeywell computer systems engineer who was building a Lionel layout in his home. He also wanted the trains, of course, but I was not about to give them away. I did let him borrow a Virginian FM diesel locomotive for about six months, so that he could design his track curves and tunnels. The FM units are the longest engines produced by Lionel, so they have the most difficulty negotiating curves and passing through tunnels.

One freight car was given to one of the Train Club's most enthusiastic members (John Shewmaker '52) in honor of his 60th birthday. John claims that I was misinformed about his age and actually gave it to him on his 59th birthday.