Even if a person has already visited the Waxahachie Central scale model railroad in years past, he or she will certainly still experience plenty of newnesses this year.
Among the 900 feet of railroad tracks, a metal scrap yard was added, more industrial buildings and new scenarios were introduced to the train town. Bill Watkins is the "conductor," but his best friend, Jean Dickerson, is the mastermind behind the intricate creations. Dickerson explained the new design was constructed in two-foot increments.
The site is also the self-proclaimed second-best privately owned train display in Texas.
“We are on the tour for the Classic Train Collection Association," Watkins explained. "Most of their models are built by a company out in Dallas called TrainWorx, they don’t offer the details that we do. They offer a detailed layout but not like we do.”
“With us changing something every year, we are able to stay on the tour,” Watkins added.
The lowest level used to be a Christmas village two years ago and was taken over by Watkins’ 13-year-old grandson. It also features a tractor store in Ennis.
As soon as a patron walks in, they will see the campsite to the left. This is Dickerson’s pride and joy. She said the site all started with the small yellow camper and grew from there with RVs and a pool.
“Some people might say we have sick humor, but it’s life,” said Dickerson as she pointed out a man who hung himself from an electrical tower. A sea of fire trucks and ambulances surround the scene.
One consistent theme in the train town is crime. Watkins joked that the city did not resemble Waxahachie, but instead, Chicago. Several police figurines are seen arresting burglars, investigating dead bodies and questioning the strange man in the woods.
There are a few items and figurines to look out for such as the old woman "giving the bird," and a real-life dead frog. A visitor will find something new with each visit.
After Christmas, the duo is going to take out one of the villages and create a mountain range. Watkins mentioned his house is on the market and will relocate the train town once he gets settled.
Watkins has had the Waxahachie Central railroad display open to the public for about nine years. Each year, he adds something new or remodels the landscape to give it a different look. The exhibit is free to the public, and the room can comfortably accommodate up to 12 people at once. Watkins said people of all ages come to visit the train station from 7 to 70 years old.
For more information on reserving a time to see the Waxahachie Central railroad, call Watkins at 469-337-9059. His building is located at 4125 FM 813 in Waxahachie.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450