Christmas and miniature trains just go together.
The annual Mudhens’ Railroad Display was held this weekend at the Community Presbyterian Church on Main Street.
“We’ve done this for at least five years, maybe longer,” said Community Presbyterian Church pastor and Mudhens member Chuck Proudfoot. “It’s an excuse to run trains. And people tend to think about trains more at Christmas. So, by adding Santa Claus (to the caboose on one of the trains), we get something good for everybody and we get to have some fun.”
Proudfoot and his son, Scot, and Steve Hollenbach are members of the Mudhens, a club that has 22 members in about nine states, according to Chuck Proudfoot. Hollenbach is the Mudhens’ president. They set up and run trains on track 1/87th scale. The 40-foot-long track set up at the church translates into more than a half-mile scale. The trains ran on track through rocky landscapes such as Vance Junction, Colo. and a fictional place called Triple Mine, based on a Colorado mining town.
Chuck Proudfoot set up the display this year, with help from his son.
“It’s much easier to take it down than it is to set it up,” he said. “It took Scot and I about nine hours to set it up this time. Usually we can set it up in about four, four and a half hours if all of us are here. And taking it down will take about an hour. And it’ll go in the trailer.”
Hollenbach and Chuck Proudfoot have been running trains for decades.
“I met Chuck in 1989 when Scot was a kid,” Hollenbach said. “So, we’ve been doing this a long time. This is our holiday setup. We usually set it up the first weekend of December. Chuck is more in charge of that. I’m the president of the club, but it’s like being the king of a very small hill,” he joked.
They requested the donation of a can of non-perishable food for the Payson Area Food Drive to view the display, but didn’t require it.
“We are collecting can goods to come and see the train if they want to,” Chuck Proudfoot said. “We won’t keep them out if they don’t (bring a can), of course.”
The chili dinner to benefit the Payson Area Food Drive in conjunction with the train display on Friday night sold out. The musical duo Cinnamon Twist, featuring Jennifer Baltz and Annie James, performed train and Christmas songs.