Did you know that November is National Model Railroad Month? The Piedmont Division of the National Model Railroad Association celebrates with 17th Piedmont Pilgrimage, a model railroad open house tour. For seven weekends beginning Saturday, Oct. 12 through Saturday, Nov. 24, along with Friday, Nov. 29, different layouts will be open for touring at area homes and businesses.

Seventy-seven layouts will be on tour, mainly in the metro Atlanta region but the tour will also extend to other cities and towns like LaGrange, Newnan and Washington, Georgia.

The tour will feature model railroad layouts of all sizes, scales and geographic locations. “This is an opportunity for people to see home layouts for free and to see what each individual has created in terms of their railroad, their concept, their idea and what kind of model they’ve done. You’ll be blown away by all the scenery and everything you’ll encounter,” said Gary Jarabek, chair of the Piedmont Pilgrimage.

“We will have many scales of trains to see. From full size at the Southeast Railway Museum to N scale. The scale is the size of the model compared to a full sized railroad,” Jarabek said.

The hobby keeps up with the times. “Model railroads keep pace with current times using computer controlled trains, 3D printing and new modeling supplies and materials,” Jarabek said.

The tour promotes the hobby. “We’re trying to promote the hobby to get people interested in model railroading. We have layouts in all stages of completeness. You can see the basic benchwork and electrical wiring. The criteria is that everybody has to have an operating train on their layout,” Jarabek said.

The tour is free and ticket is required. “This tour is one of our outreach programs. Another one is the Boy Scout Merit Badge Program. Money we raise, on one hand, we try to give back to the community,” Jarabek said.

The Piedmont Division started the tour in 2003 to promote National Model Railroad Month in November. During the first year, 12 layouts were on tour and expanded over the years to as many as 90 layouts.

The tour is an educational opportunity. “People who go around and see the tour can ask questions and see what it takes to build a model railroad. For those who are interested in becoming a model railroader, you get a first hand view and ask questions to people who are actually building it and doing it and ask questions to people how they have done it,” Jarabek said.

The tour attracts people from everywhere. “We also had visitors from other countries like Germany, UK, Chile, Canada, Netherlands and Denmark,” Jarabek said.

Layouts in Cobb and Cherokee Counties will include: Chris Hoan (Marietta), Russ Bundy (Woodstock), Dave Bennett (Woodstock), James & Sally Bando (Woodstock), Chris Hoan (Marietta), Bill Dischinger (Marietta), Thomas Briskey (Marietta), Nydia Hanna (Marietta), Gary Fish (Marietta), Carl Levitt (Marietta), Jerry Michnewicz (Marietta), Dan Berman (Marietta), Eric Siegel (Woodstock), Timothy Munnell (Marietta), Howard Goodwin MMR (Acworth), Rob Dodds (Acworth), Al Churella MMR (Acworth), Phil Stead (Ball Ground), Kevin Stemple (Holly Springs), Dan Mason (Canton), Charlie Crawford MMR (Marietta), Brian Campbell (Marietta), Rick Bigliardi (Kennesaw), John Kannawarf (Canton), Perry Lamb (Kennesaw), and Dave Rever (Marietta).

Tour booklets are available at most hobby shops and the Southern Museum of Locomotive History. The Booklets list layouts addresses and more information on the model trains. You can also visit piedmontpilgrimage.com for a complete listing of addresses, trains and tour times.

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